Hurricane Harvey HIPAA Reminder

Disasters, which can ultimately lead to a data breach, come in various forms – natural, man-made and technical. HIPAA, the HITECH Act, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are just a handful of entities requiring that the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the sensitive information (e.g., protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII)) remain intact. Although federal HIPAA has distinct categories (e.g., covered entity, business associate, and subcontractor), other state or federal government entities use “covered entity” to mean any person that creates, receives, maintains or transmits PHI or PII.

HIPAA sets forth three main categories of safeguards: administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. Often times, these categories overlap. For example, the administrative requirement of a sanction policy compliments the physical requirement of two-factor identification for building access.

Below are a couple of select sections from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which organizations should be particularly vigilant about in relation to disasters.

•45 CFR §164.310 (Physical) – requires that policies and procedures for facility access in order to restore lost data under the disaster recovery and emergency access plan.

•45 CFR §164.308 (Administrative Safeguards) – multiple requirements are set forth under this particular section of the CFR. For example:

•Security management process

•Annual risk analysis

•Information activity review

•Workforce clearance procedure

•Security awareness training

•Contingency plan

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/duepz#http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/blog/hurricane-harvey-hipaa-reminder

Beyond the HIPAA Privacy Rule: Enhancing Privacy, Improving Health Through Research.

The Value and Importance of Health Information Privacy

Ethical health research and privacy protections both provide valuable benefits to society. Health research is vital to improving human health and health care. Protecting patients involved in research from harm and preserving their rights is essential to ethical research. The primary justification for protecting personal privacy is to protect the interests of individuals. In contrast, the primary justification for collecting personally identifiable health information for health research is to benefit society. But it is important to stress that privacy also has value at the societal level, because it permits complex activities, including research and public health activities to be carried out in ways that protect individuals’ dignity. At the same time, health research can benefit individuals, for example, when it facilitates access to new therapies, improved diagnostics, and more effective ways to prevent illness and deliver care.

The intent of this chapter1 is to define privacy and to delineate its importance to individuals and society as a whole. The value and importance of health research will be addressed in Chapter 3.

CONCEPTS AND VALUE OF PRIVACY

Definitions

Privacy has deep historical roots (reviewed by Pritts, 2008Westin, 1967), but because of its complexity, privacy has proven difficult to define and has been the subject of extensive, and often heated, debate by philosophers, sociologists, and legal scholars. The term “privacy” is used frequently, yet there is no universally accepted definition of the term, and confusion persists over the meaning, value, and scope of the concept of privacy. At its core, privacy is experienced on a personal level and often means different things to different people (reviewed by Lowrance, 1997Pritts, 2008). In modern society, the term is used to denote different, but overlapping, concepts such as the right to bodily integrity or to be free from intrusive searches or surveillance. The concept of privacy is also context specific, and acquires a different meaning depending on the stated reasons for the information being gathered, the intentions of the parties involved, as well as the politics, convention and cultural expectations (Nissenbaum, 2004NRC, 2007b).

Our report, and the Privacy Rule itself, are concerned with health informational privacy. In the context of personal information, concepts of privacy are closely intertwined with those of confidentiality and security. However, although privacy is often used interchangeably with the terms “confidentiality” and “security,” they have distinct meanings.Privacy addresses the question of who has access to personal information and under what conditions. Privacy is concerned with the collection, storage, and use of personal information, and examines whether data can be collected in the first place, as well as the justifications, if any, under which data collected for one purpose can be used for another (secondary)2 purpose. An important issue in privacy analysis is whether the individual has authorized particular uses of his or her personal information (Westin, 1967).

Confidentiality safeguards information that is gathered in the context of an intimate relationship. It addresses the issue of how to keep information exchanged in that relationship from being disclosed to third parties (Westin, 1976). Confidentiality, for example, prevents physicians from disclosing information shared with them by a patient in the course of a physician–patient relationship. Unauthorized or inadvertent disclosures of data gained as part of an intimate relationship are breaches of confidentiality (Gostin and Hodge, 2002NBAC, 2001).

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/tlhw0#https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9579/

 

HIPAA survival is not difficult. It just requires good comprehension.

how-to-improve-patient-education-denteractive

You can take this bet: Try finding out from any healthcare industry professional what she considers the biggest professional challenge of hers, and HIPAA survival would surely not miss out from any healthcare professional’s list. Why? Simply because HIPAA audits are complex.  Period.

So, is the toughness and complexity of HIPAA audits such that one should run away from it? Healthcare professionals are not given this option. They have to mandatorily carry out HIPAA audits in such a way that it satisfies the regulatory authorities. This needs a thorough understanding of the exact meaning and import of words contained in HIPAA. In addition, carrying out successful HIPAA audits, which is what HIPAA survival essentially is all about, requires the healthcare professional in the organization in which HIPAA audits take place, to get a grasp of the purpose and intent conveyed in HIPAA’s language.

This thorough understanding of the meaning and intent of what is contained in HIPAA is absolutely essential for both the Covered Entity and the Business Associate to ensure HIPAA survival.

One challenge upon another

And, in addition to the already existing complexity in HIPAA, which many healthcare professionals consider as an obstacle to HIPAA survival; an additional step has been hemmed into HIPAA audits. It is this: For 2017, the federal government is set to increase the Office of Civil Rights (OCR)’s budget by a good 10 percent. This is being done with one simple intention: To increase the OCR’s resources for carrying out HIPAA audits and to also reinforce the OCR’s efforts towards HIPAA audits.

This is not all. HIPAA survival has been made even more difficult, as the OCR now requires Business Associates and Covered Entities to show compliance with around 180 areas as part of Phase 2 of HIPAA. The time given for response: A mere 10 days.

Any Business Associate or Covered Entity which thinks that these are all to the additional aspects of HIPAA survival are mistaken. Yet another issue compounds the misery of the whole task of HIPAA survival: The OCR’s audit protocol is no longer going to be satisfied with general and vague references to policy documents when they are required to furnish documents to corroborate their work. They have to furnish the specific and exact documents that the OCR asks for during a HIPAA audit. Isn’t HIPAA survival a really tough ask for Covered Entity or a Business Associate?

No room for relaxation

The OCR expects complete and total adherence to its requirements, no matter how tough they may seem. Just a little slackening of effort anywhere down the line can severely impede the preparation for Phase 2 HIPAA audits. This is bound to result in serious issues for the Covered Entity and Business Associate, who simply cannot drop guard even for a second.

If there was any feeling that anyone who is subject to a HIPAA audit can relax a trice, all that has been destroyed by the OCR’s decisions on HIPAA audits for 2017. Its additional measures mean that HIPAA survival is real and serious. To ensure HIPAA survival, Covered Entities and Business Associates need to put a process in place and make sure they control and implement it with the maximum assiduousness and thoroughness. This is to be ensured all the time, every time.

An opportunity to learn what it takes for HIPAA survival

Given the severity of HIPAA survival, it is necessary for those who are subject to HIPAA audits, especially Covered Entities and Business Associates, at whom the new regulations are primarily aimed, to understand the art of HIPAA survival.

This expert guidance is what a two-day seminar from GlobalCompliancePanel, a highly popular provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance, will be offering. Please visit HIPAA survival is not difficult. It just requires good comprehension to register for this seminar.

The Director of this two-day seminar is Brian L Tuttle, a senior Compliance Consultant & IT Manager at InGauge Healthcare Solutions. The aim of this seminar is to arm regulatory compliance professionals with total guidance to about how practice managers need to prepare for HIPAA audits. Since many changes have been suggested for 2017 for HIPAA; Brian will throw light on what changes can be expected under the Omnibus Rule and any other applicable updates for 2017.

The Director will explode the various misconceptions and myths about HIPAA, which are a major obstacle to ensuring HIPAA survival. He will explain real life audits conducted by the Federal government to explain HIPAA survival.  He will also illustrate which the highest risk factors for being sued for wrongful disclosures of PHI are, and the manner in which patients are now using state laws to sue for wrongful disclosures.

During the course of this seminar, Brian will cover the following areas:

  • History of HIPAA
  • HITECH
  • HIPAA Omnibus Rule
  • How to perform a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment
  • What is involved in a Federal audit and how is it conducted
  • Risk factors for a federal audit
  • EHR and HIPAA
  • Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Business Associates and HIPAA
  • In depth discussions on IT down to the nuts and bolts
  • BYOD
  • Risk factors that can cause an audit (low hanging fruit)
  • New rules which grant states ability to sue citing HIPAA on behalf of a patient
  • New funding measures

 

All about HIPAA compliance

all-in-one-HIPAA-Compliance

HIPAA compliance is a must for Covered Entities and their Business Associates. It is a sine qua non requirement from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a US federal department that is charged with the responsibility of enhancing and protecting the wellbeing and health of all Americans. It provides the means for bringing about effective health, as well as human services. Its mission is to engender improvements and developments in the fields of public health, medicine and social services.

The HHS requires complete compliance with its laws by a Covered Entity and its Business Associate. The HHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) considers Covered Entity as one that is involved in generating, storing, receiving or transmitting electronic Protected Health Information (PHI). A Business Associate is one that does all these on behalf of its affiliated CE. HIPAA compliance is mandatory because the nature of information that Business Associates carry with them –Protected Health Information –is of a highly confidential and sensitive nature. Not only that; when there is a breach of data on the part of the Business Associate or the Covered Entity, it results in huge costs by way of damages. Data breaches also carry a bigger penalty: They dent the reputation of the business, something no money can compensate.

Locating the source of data breach

Most of the patient information breaches take place at the Business Associate’s end. This makes compliance with HIPAA compliance rules by BA’s all the more important. The basic reason for which most such breaches take place is the many misconceptions that abound among healthcare organizations about the nature of the HIPAA privacy and security regulations. What these regulations are, what they mean to healthcare organizations, and the steps that the healthcare organizations, Covered Entities and their Business Associates need to do –all these are areas of considerable confusion.

It is to equip professionals from the healthcare industry with the complete knowledge needed to understand and implement HIPAA compliance that GlobalCompliancePanel, a highly popular provider of professional trainings for all the areas of regulatory compliance, will be organizing a two-day seminar.

A complete roundup of HIPAA compliance

Senior healthcare professional Jim Wener, who brings four decades of experience in the industry and has been assisting providers and payers in identifying their automation requirements and helping them select and successfully implement the ideal automation for their needs, will the Director of this seminar. To gain the benefit of the vast experience that Jim brings and to ensure total HIPAA compliance for your organization; please register for this seminar by logging on to http://www.globalcompliancepanel.com/control/globalseminars/~product_id=900874?wordpress-SEO.

Questions, questions, questions

At this seminar, Jim will take the participants through HIPAA compliance from start to compliance. He will provide answers to all the questions that Business Associates and Covered Entities face during the process of ensuring HIPAA compliance. He will show what healthcare organizations need to do to secure their healthcare information.

Some of the questions that he will seek to answer include:

Do the HIPAA regulations apply to the organization? What risks does the organization face, and how does it mitigate these risks? What is it that the organization is required to do, and how is this done? Is there a role assigned for and expected of the organization’s computer resources in assessing and managing HIPAA compliance risks? What is the level of safety that the healthcare organization’s computer and paper patient information carry? Is there a way by which the organization determines if its computer resources provide the needed features and functions for the organization to become compliant?

Diligence can lessen the severity of penalties

These are just some of the questions for which Jim will seek to provide answers. Framing these questions and answering them is a watertight means to developing and executing a compliant plan. This in turn is critical to ensure that the organization takes the right path in ensuring HIPAA compliance. A breach is a very bad thing to happen for an organization, but diligence that the organization has showed in protecting patient information will go a long way in mitigating penalties. This is one of the prime reasons for which attendance at this seminar is necessary.

  • What is HIPAA, who is covered and what is HIPAA Compliance
  • Why the healthcare organization should be concerned about HIPAA compliance
  • How to perform a HIPAA Risk Assessment
  • How to prepare HIPAA Policies and Procedures
  • How to perform HIPAA Training
  • What is IT’s role in the healthcare organization’s HIPAA Compliance
  • How to prepare a Business Continuation/Disaster Recovery Plan
  • How to handle a potential HIPAA Breach.

https://www.hhs.gov/about/index.html

 

Breaking down the rules into steps makes HIPAA compliance less complicated

HIPAA compliance is a legal requirement for Business Associates and Covered Entities. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996 with two main intentions:

o  To enable employees to keep their insurance intact when they switched jobs or their insurance provider

o  To facilitate the payment and information process by putting in place a uniform code for these.

From its start, up to 2013, HIPAA has undergone a few changes, such as:

o  The privacy regulation additions of 2003;

o  The insertion of the HIPAA Security Rule in 2005;

o  The passage of the HITECH Act in 2009, and

o  The addition of the Omnibus Rule in 2013, with the intention of extending liability to Business Associates

With the insertion of these additions, HIPAA compliance has become more and more demanding and complex, or at least that is what most entities who are required to comply with it feel. Most Business Associates and Covered Entities have issues with the following areas of HIPAA compliance:

–       The 18 identifiers that Protected Health Information (PHI) consists of; with the name, full face photos, e-mail address, and date of birth of the patients being some of their constituents

–       The requirement of designation, by every organization or practice, of a privacy officer, who has to carry out a risk analysis

–       The requirement, as part of HIPAA compliance, of covered health care providers and health plans, of developing and distributing a notice, in which the privacy rights and practices relating to patients’ personal health information have to be clearly explained.

Despite these requirements, HIPAA compliance is not as difficult as it seems

The reality, however, is different. HIPAA compliance is not as complicated and difficult as it is thought to be. At first glance, these requirements may appear to be intimidating. Yet, when it comes to practical application, HIPAA compliance is not really all that cumbersome or difficult. All that is needed is a clear-cut understanding and explanation of the major sections on compliance.

This clear-cut understanding of the major sections on which many Covered Entities and their Business Associates face difficulties is the intention of a seminar that is being organized by GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance.

At this detailed two-day seminar, Paul Hales, an attorney at law in St. Louis, Missouri who specializes in HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, will be the Director. All that is needed to gain a thorough understanding of the perspectives Paul will offer on HIPAA compliance is to register for this seminar by visiting http://www.globalcompliancepanel.com/control/globalseminars/~product_id=900798?linkedin-SEO .

What makes this seminar a valuable learning session is that Paul will explain, in simple and plain language, the contents of HIPAA compliance. He will demystify the tricky areas of HIPAA compliance and offer clarity of understanding of these, and will crystallize them into six easy steps.

Paul will drive home the point that HIPAA compliance becomes easier when its seemingly difficult requirements are broken down into steps. He will suggest six steps that organizations can take to make HIPAA compliance easier.

He will pack the seminar with visual presentations, interactive discussions and stimulating questions and answer sessions. He will also show how to find the right rule with the six step-by-step procedures he will lay down.

Takeaways at this important seminar on HIPAA compliance

Paul will offer these following key takeaways at this highly valuable seminar:

·        Thorough Understanding of HIPAA Rules

  • What they are
  • How they work together
  • Why and How they were made
  • How they are changing and what to expect next

·        HIPAA Risk Analysis – Risk Management for Your Organization

  • A Practical Guided Exercise done in class on your computer to take home

·        Privacy and Security Rules – Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures

  • What information must be protected
  • Administrative, Technical and Physical Safeguards
  • Social Media, Texting and Emailing Patients

·        The inter-connected, inter-dependent relationship of Covered Entities and Business Associates

·        What is, and what is not a Reportable Breach of Unsecured PHI

http://www.fertilitybridge.com/blog/hipaaandsocialmediawithpaulhales

HIPAA Security Rule Principles

Though short in length,HIPAA Security Rule principles are well defined in some areas, but vague in some others, making implementation of these areas difficult.

HIPAA Security Rules are an offshoot of the Privacy Rule. While Privacy Rule concerns itself with Protected Health Information (PHI) in general, the HIPAA Security Rule (SR) concerns itself specifically with electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). Since it particularly focuses on an element of the Privacy Rule; it is considered a subset of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

The HIPAA Security Rule seeks to fortify individually identifiable health information with reasonably high levels of technical, administrative and physical safeguards so that these attributes are protected and unauthorized or inappropriate access, use, or disclosure prevented:

  • Confidentiality
  • Integrity, and
  • Availability.

To enable this, the HIPAA Security Rule codifies a few standards and best practices in information technology. In a general sense, the HIPAA Security Rule requires computer systems containing patient health implementation to implement these three safeguards:

  • Administrative,
  • Physical, and
  • Technical.

It has clear definitions of each component relating to its specifications. Some of the terms on which the HIPAA Security Rule is unambiguously clear are:

Challenges associated with implementing HIPAA Security Rule

Despite the clarity of definitions of a few terms as stated above; the HIPAA security rule is considered complicated by practitioners and participants in the Rule. Although not a very painfully long document in that it runs into only eight pages; because of the high technical nature of its text, it is considered quite complex.

A major requirement that the HIPAA Security Rule imposes is a set of additional organizational requirements, apart from documenting processes that are in tune with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. This is easier said than done, especially for small time providers that have limited technical bandwidth and capabilities, for whom implementing the Privacy Rule itself can be challenging. The solution is to make Health information technology (HIT) resources available for this kind of providers.

Further, this Rule has some ambiguities. For instance, its fundamental requirement is implementation of “necessary safeguards”. There is no unanimity about what this means.

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