With recent changes in the HIPPA laws, doctors have to be very careful about the way they conduct business today and in the future. For example, the physician is responsible for many things the staff does. You also must have HIPPA compliant medical answering services. Here are some important things to know about HIPPA, to make sure you stay within the law.
Individual Patient Rights
If a patient is being treated for something confidential, this information cannot be submitted to his or her medical insurance provider. However, the patient must pay in cash and request the insurance not be billed. In other words, patients have the right to keep specific information from their insurance companies if they follow certain rules.
When sending medical records to patients, you must provide more options. Patients can now request their health records to be sent via electronic mail. The doctor’s office must comply with this request.
Medical professionals must take great care when choosing who they do business with. Some of these privacy law changes have come about because major breaches of security originated from businesses which process healthcare claims. This includes workers and contractors who may be in your building. Reasonable care must be taken to ensure all private information is protected.
Here is an example of how business associates can cause trouble for doctors. Perhaps you hire a service to dispose of medical records. Instead of disposing of the records in a way they can never be recovered, this business simply tosses them into a trash dumpster. If someone comes across the dumpster and makes use of the personal information, the doctor may be held liable. Penalties for breaking these rules can be substantial. In fact, they can be as high as one million dollars, for serious cases.
Naturally there are some cases where doctors will not be liable, but with the changes, physicians must be very careful and check all the contracts they currently have. It’s best to have a legal professional check them out and see if changes need to be made to lower the risk of legal liability.
HIPPA Compliant Medical Answering Services
When you choose an answering service, it is vital to ensure it is HIPPA compliant. Don’t just assume compliancy. Go the extra mile and ask if they have someone trained in HIPPA compliancy, and ask to see qualifications. It’s always better to be safe and sorry.