HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) imposes strict requirements on patient privacy and related matters. Another consequence of this legislation, however, is to open up significant legal liability for healthcare professionals. Take heart - the HIPAA lawyers in Colorado have the experience to guide you through the HIPAA compliance maze.Schedule FREE Consultation
Healthcare is one of the most strictly regulated industries in the United States. As a healthcare professional, you must navigate multiple levels of regulatory restrictions relating to employment law, advertising and trade secret protection, among others. In addition, you must harmonize all of these restrictions, and you must balance compliance concerns with your organization’s business and patient care needs.
HIPAA regulations constitute what is perhaps the most complex regulatory system of all. The HIPAA law compliance attorneys at Sequoia Legal can explain the regulatory requirements in simple, easy-to-understand terms. We can also help you create policies and procedures that will keep you compliant with HIPAA. We can periodically train your staff to effectively administer your HIPAA compliance system.
HIPAA is a federal statute that imposes uniform national standards of patient privacy on the otherwise decentralized US healthcare system. Its primary purpose is to prevent the disclosure of sensitive healthcare information about a patient unless the patient grants informed consent to the disclosure. The law includes several important aspects, as described below.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule is a national rule that grants a patient the right to control their own medical records. The rule places restrictions on who can receive or even view a patient’s health information. The Privacy Rule applies to patient healthcare information in any medium - written, oral or electronic.
The HIPAA Security Rule applies specifically to healthcare information stored in electronic form (on a computer, for example). It requires organizations that keep electronic copies of patient healthcare information (almost any hospital, for example) to designate someone to take responsibility for regulatory compliance as well as compliance policies and procedures. The Security Rule also requires organizations to perform a periodic security risk analysis.
The HITECH Act is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It is designed to enforce HIPAA, and it includes the following requirements:
The Breach Notification Rule requires healthcare providers to notify patients when their unsecured health information is improperly used or disclosed in a manner that compromises the patient’s privacy or security. The healthcare provider does not have to notify the patient of improper use or disclosure if it can prove that such use or disclosure is unlikely to have caused any damage to the patient’s privacy or security interests.
Translating 115 pages of legislation into a functioning system of HIPAA compliance is no easy task - either to understand or to implement. Our medical compliance lawyers understand these requirements thoroughly, and we enjoy many years of experience in helping clients effectively implement them. Following is a very abbreviated list of how we can help you.
At Sequoia Legal, we are committed to resolving your compliance challenges in the most cost-effective manner possible and with a minimum of business disruption.
We do not represent hospitals, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Academic Medical Centers, or Allied Health Providers. We do work with the following entities and individuals, among others:
HIPAA covers the following entities (known as “covered entities” under HIPAA):
HIPAA also applies to “business associates” of any of the foregoing individuals or entities--administration or claims processing entities, for example. Even data transmission services such as regional Health Information Organizations (HIOs) qualify as business associates if they require routine access to patient medical records.
HIPAA classifies violations into four categories, based on the intentions of the entity involved (unintentional, negligent, willfully negligent, and intentional) and whether the entity tried to correct the problem. Fines range from $100 to $50,000 per violation.
Your organization can become HIPAA compliant if you study the HIPAA legislation (45 CFR Parts 160, 162, and 164) and then apply the rules to your organization. It will not be easy. HIPAA legislation is a dense material, and applying the rules is more difficult than simply reading and understanding them.
Under HIPAA, patients have the right to access healthcare information about themselves that is maintained by HIPAA-covered entities or maintained by a third party on behalf of a HIPAA-covered entity. This includes not only medical records but billing records, insurance information, and other types of records. Patients are only entitled to records that are already in existence--they cannot demand the creation of new records in response to a request.
If you would like a Colorado HIPAA law form to help you with regulatory compliance, contact Sequoia Legal by calling (303) 476-2851 or contacting us online to schedule a consultation.
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