All medical professionals are familiar with HIPAA laws and how they affect the way personal information is transmitted, stored, and taken in. However, some doctors may not be aware of the importance of HIPAA compliant medical answering services. In fact, what you don’t know can get your practice fined and it could be very costly. Here are some important reasons to make certain your answering service is HIPAA compliant and why you need to know about OMNIBUS.
Are you completely aware of the OMNIBUS Final Rule and how it affects your business, especially your answering service? The OMNIBUS Final Rule is a civil rights law intended to make it easier for patients to access their healthcare records and to increase the security of these records. It went into effect in September of 2013.
Noncompliance with OMNIBUS can result in significant fines. In fact, fines are imposed depending on the severity of the negligence, and can be as much as one and one half million dollars.
Who is Affected by OMNIBUS?
Medical professionals and their employees must comply with all HIPAA regulations including OMNIBUS. However, this also includes business associates who have access to private patient healthcare information, and this is a very important reason to choose only HIPAA compliant medical answering services. Your answering service is a business associate.
How Can an Answering Service Get You Into Trouble?
It only takes one simple breach of personal information to cause you problems with the law. For example, if someone takes calls at your office and tells anyone about personal health details, this is a breach of privacy, and ultimately, the medical professional is the one who is liable.
Of course you can’t control everything a person does and says. However, you can take steps to ensure maximum privacy. One of the best ways to ensure privacy is to go with fully automated HIPAA compliant medical answering services.
An automated medical answering service does not gossip or make errors in judgment. It simply follows the program and functions the same each and every time. A competent system can easily screen calls for your business and make sure urgent messages are received by the right people.
Checking HIPAA Compliancy
The answering service company you choose must understand all the privacy laws and updates. Make sure the company has someone specifically trained in HIPAA laws. Reputable HIPAA compliant medical answering services will have no problem answering any of your questions on privacy issues. They will discuss your needs and help you find a customized solution.