As a HIPAA covered entity (CE), a home healthcare agency is responsible for providing assurances related to the Privacy Rule. This includes transmittal of electronic protected health information (ePHI). As a CE, your home healthcare agency needs to assure that agreements with business associate (BA) cover specific terms.

Use a Checklist to Assure Quality and Consistency

Your role in healthcare demands thorough and timely documentation. This helps to assure accuracy, safety, quality, and consistent compliance with regulations. Consider how use of a HIPAA checklist aids with all of these as it:

  • Highlights areas of potential risk.
  • Is used for HIPAA associated regulatory updates.
  • Promotes guided communication with your agency’s BAs.
  • Aids with assuring that a material information breach is reported according to guidelines.

Risk Assessment for Business Associates

The size and scope of work for some BAs may mean their best first option is to conduct a risk assessment. An example is a call or answering service with secure means of communicating ePHI. Secure texting solutions and HIPAA compliant hosting options offer the means for maintaining compliance as they expedite information transmittal, benefitting client care.

The astute BA will follow the analysis of risk with completion of a checklist, providing your agency with necessary assurances.

Select a Thorough Checklist to Protect Your Agency and its Associates

One sure benefit of using a checklist is doing so focuses attention on the multi-faceted aspects of secure use of confidential patient data. A comprehensive tool does just that. It is best if it:

  • Is periodically updated to include changes in regulations.
  • Addresses a series of safeguards, including:
    • Technical
    • Physical
    • Administrative
  • Includes elements of the Privacy Rule with regard to staff training, written patient permission, and security related to patient data and ePHI.
  • Also includes information about the:
    • Breach notification requirements
    • BA agreement particulars included in the HIPAA Omnibus Rule

Centratel is an elite national telephone answering service located in Bend, Oregon.
Centratel’s Home Health and Hospice Answering Service assists hundreds of businesses during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.

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