HIPAA Audit Support
As any healthcare provider knows, HIPAA is an incredibly important set of guidelines that are meant to protect a lot of patient information. If you are not HIPAA compliant, that can become a very large problem in very little time. In order to make sure your office or location is totally HIPAA compliant, turn to the services of the experienced professionals here at Be Structured Technology Group. We are a Managed Service Provider in Los Angeles who can support you through all of the IT portions of a HIPAA Audit. Moreover, we are the premier Los Angeles cybersecurity firm that can help get all of your IT infrastructure HIPAA compliant in the first place.
Be Structured is not a HIPAA auditing firm, but our clients often need IT support and changes to their IT infrastructure when going through a HIPAA audit. We have a number of HIPAA regulated clients and are familiar with the requirements and can help you get through yours quickly and easily.
What is HIPAA?
Most commonly known as HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was set into motion in 1996. Since then, it has created a very long list of what type of information must be kept in a secure location and who has access to it. Medical facilities must all make sure they are completely HIPAA compliant in order to avoid the problems that stem from noncompliance. There is no alternative to being HIPAA compliant. These rules must be followed, and all data must be stored and used properly. This is why every medical business will face a HIPPA Audit at some point.
HIPAA Security Rules
When HIPAA rules are followed, the secure information that healthcare providers have on patients is kept secure. The rules are meant to cover the entire healthcare industry to make sure that all billing and patient information is kept confidential on all patients. It also has the sideline benefit of making sure that rates of healthcare abuse and healthcare fraud continue to decline.
It is essential that any type of data that could point to the identity of a patient be kept under strict safety measures that provide confidentiality. This is an important aspect of the HIPAA rules. This type of compliance must be maintained on many different levels and requires specific procedures to ensure the security and privacy of every piece of data your business holds.
Basic Guidelines of HIPAA
During his presidency, former-President Bill Clinton worked to ensure that patients’ rights were an important topic. That is part of the dedication behind signing HIPAA into law. There are several goals that HIPAA was designed to meet. They include:
- Reducing health care fraud
- Reducing health care abuse by patients and professionals alike
- Setting specific security standards that cover health care billing
- Setting storage standards to cover how medical data is stored
- Making sure all bits of medical data and personally identifiable information (PII) are kept and transmitted securely
HIPPA Audit Compliance Changes With Technology
It is your job, as a facility that contains any medical data is to make sure any type of medical information is confidential and not exposed to anyone who could use the information improperly. Over time, HIPAA rules have changed, making sure they stay up to date with the advances in technology. If you were once compliant, but are not sure if you are now, it is vital you contact us here at Be Structured. We are a top HIPAA Audit Support IT Company in the city of Los Angeles for a reason!
Why is HIPAA Compliance So Important?
Achieving and maintaining HIPAA compliance is essential for the protection of your patient’s health information. Any type of breach could result in an impact to your company, your patients, and even your bottom line. There are many types of disciplinary action that could be taken if you are not fully compliant with HIPAA standards. Your business could face penalties and fines, not to mention the hit to your reputation.
HIPPA Audit Support Is Necessary
There have been several instances where hackers have gone through to exploit vulnerabilities that come from having outdated servers, operating systems, medical devices, or security practices. This, unfortunately, is far more common than it should be. There can be problems with the actual server the information is being stored in, or even in the devices that are used to perform medical tests. It would be incredibly difficult to stop a hacker from getting information out of an unsecured MRI or CAT scan machine. This is why HIPAA has and enforces the rules it does.
Any medical institution that does not comply with the security standards set forth by HIPAA could face significant damage. When a breach occurs, the law sets forth what needs to happen next. Typically, this means gathering and submitting documents that disclose what happened. It also typically requires proof that each potential victim was notified of the problem. Some situations also require that you cover a full year of protection after the breach to protect against identity theft. On top of the fines, this could be a significant cost, plus, this may need to happen before you can even take the time to confirm the breach.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule
When talking about the HIPAA Privacy Rule, otherwise known as The Rule, you are talking about a group who set up and create the standards those who must be HIPAA compliant must follow. The goal is to provide protection to any type of health information that could identify a patient, especially medical records. These rules and standards apply to three specific types of companies. This includes:
- Contractors and vendors that make up the supply chain.
- All medical or healthcare providers.
- Service providers that have access to the information, such as a data center or a cloud provider.
The Rule has a requirement that any provider keeps safeguards in place that helps protect the privacy of their patients. This must keep their personally identifying information safe. Plus, there must be specific guidelines on when and how electronic information is used, accessed, or shared.
Under HIPAA, patients have three rights that are fundamental to their protection:
1. Patients get to decide if they want their health records or information disclosed to others or not.
2. Patients can ask for and look over a copy of all health records a facility has at any point in time.
3. If patients find inaccurate information, they have the right to ask for the information to be updated with the correct information.
What is the HIPAA Security Rule?
A small subset of HIPAA is the Security Rule. This is specifically set up to protect electronic health information that could lead to identifying who the patient is. This rule covers the creation, maintenance, reception, and use of all electronic information. There are several safeguards for this rule that all entities must follow to be in full HIPAA compliance.
HIPPA Compliance and Technical Safeguards
- Limiting Controls: This is putting limits in place on who can access electronic information about patients or health records.
- Audit Controls: This is making sure that companies are constantly checking and monitoring who has access, what activity is taking place, and that there are no vulnerabilities that are obvious and not being corrected.
- Integrity Controls: This ensures there are procedures already in place to ensure electronic information is being altered or destroyed using improper procedures.
- Transmission Security Controls: This ensures that any entity that is HIPAA compliant securely protects all data via encryption whenever it is transmitted or received using electronic networks.
- Data at Rest Encryption: This ensures PII (personally identifiable information) is encrypted at its final storage/resting place.
HIPPA Compliance – Physical Safeguards
- Facility Security: This means that any facility where the data may be stored, plus any devices that access the information must be secure.
- Personnel Security: Anyone that does not possess the proper security clearance should not be allowed anywhere in the facility.
- Device and Workstation Security: Only authorized users should be allowed to access and use devices and workstations that hold these protected files.
- Electronic Disposal Safeguards: When an electronic device is being disposed of, there must also be steps in place to ensure the data on the device is transferred, or destroyed properly before the device is then wiped clean and properly disposed of.
HIPPA Compliance – Administrative Safeguards
- Security Management Processes: The entity must have all possible security risks identified, analyzed, and processes put in place to keep the information safe at the same level that the risk was discovered at, or higher.
- Security Personnel Processes: There has to be some type of security personnel that is designated to ensure all protocols are in place and being followed. If any vulnerabilities come to light, this individual must develop new policies to protect the information as well.
- System of Managed Information: There needs to be some type of system in place that manages all of the information. Access must be restricted to only the appropriate personnel and different levels of access must be granted depending on the type of access each user may need.
- Training Processes: There must be training provided on an ongoing basis for every employee who works with this type of information. There must also disciplinary action for any employee who does not follow the policies regarding secure information.
- Evaluation Processes: There must be regular, ongoing assessments and evaluations to ensure all current policies are still effectively protecting the information of the patients.
You need to make sure all people and all systems are fully compliant. This includes volunteers, students, interns, administrative employees, caregivers, orderlies, and more. It should also include any person that represents your business, all data, apps, all hardware and software, and all communications within and outside of your company.
HIPAA Compliant Businesses
Not all businesses require HIPAA compliance. However, if you do, it is essential that you have a Los Angeles MSSP to provide the protection and evaluations you need. Here are the businesses that need to maintain HIPAA compliance.
- Health Plans: This can include an employer’s health plan, HMOs, and health maintenance companies. This applies to schools who have health information as well as Medicaid and Medicare.
- Health Care Clearinghouses: This can include billing services for health care companies, community health care services, and any type of information system that covers health management. This will also include companies that gather information and create industry-standard health-related projects based on the information gathered.
- Health Care Providers: Any type of medical provider that treats patients. This can include a surgeon, optometrist, doctor, podiatrist, dentist, lab tech, pharmacy, clinic, hospitals, and more.
- Associates of These Businesses: Any type of contractor that works for any of these businesses or provides services these businesses use must also be HIPAA compliant. This means they are trained on how to process information, transmit the information safely, and shred any documentation that contains medical information. It also includes medical transcriptionists, auditors, medical equipment companies, and medical billing accountants.
How to Be Compliant to HIPAA Regulations
You need to systemically look at how your business runs when your goal is to become HIPAA compliant. Each area of your business needs to be explored and checked for possible vulnerabilities. Plus, you also need to make sure you recheck this often and update anything that could be a possible opening. Here are some considerations to make to ensure compliance.
- You must be able to distribute your policies so that anyone who wants a copy can see what you do to protect their patient information and privacy.
- All security risks must have been assessed, both private and public, and addressed.
- All processes need to be documented including regular assessments, evaluations, and updates.
- Each staff member must go through training and accept the policies and procedures associated with HIPAA.
- There must be proof that these steps have been taken. There must also be proof of each employee’s training and acceptance of the compliance rules.
Be Structured Technology Group Can Make HIPAA Compliance Easier
Do you have the time and know-how to ensure that you are fully HIPAA compliant? If not, then you need the help of an experienced Los Angeles security consulting firm that can handle all of the complexities that come along with getting HIPAA compliant. The steps are exacting and exhausting, but if you miss any of them, it can leave you facing large fines and other problems. Your patients depend on you to keep them safe, whether directly or indirectly. Make sure you are fully prepared to keep them as safe as possible. Reach out to the professionals here at Be Structured Technology Group. We can help you from getting your server ready, to installing authentication software, anti-virus and anti-malware programs, and HIPAA compliance, plus so much more. Contact us today to find out more.