If you belong to the healthcare industry in any capacity be it as a physician, nurse, surgeon, pharmacist, or health IT specialist, you would know the importance of privacy protection and confidentiality obligations.
HIPAA medical billing needs no introduction. The practice of HIPAA medical billing and coding has proved only to be fruitful for a progressive healthcare system in the USA.
Therefore, taking casual measures to ensure data protection and using ordinary software to store data is now just not enough.
Private Data is at Risk!
We say that healthcare services have progressed and we have gone automated, but so have data hackers.
Medical Billing and Coding Companies need to upgrade their systems and take standardized measures.
Lots of sensitive data is transferred from physicians to insurance companies to patients.
As billing companies are directly responsible for data handling, they are held accountable for any mishap.
Why HIPAA Compliance Is Important?
Because the expense for data breaches go far beyond fines and penalties.
No matter what the reason may be for healthcare organizations to outsource HIPAA medical compliance. We should keep in mind the following perspectives.
HIPAA Medical Billing Is Compulsory for Healthcare Organizations
According to the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule, medical billing companies would be penalized for risking Protected Health Information (PHI). Any violations will not be entertained at any cost, and the company responsible for even minor negligence will have to bear heavy fines. Of course, it would also dent a company’s reputation leading to low revenue.
Data Security Threat Has Not Remained To Just Data Manipulation/Stealing
Not long ago, accidental exposure of sensitive data was considered a HIPAA violation. It means a situation in which you have to bear the financial loss.
However, the modern definition states that even unauthorized access to data is a threat to HIPAA compliance.
The following factors build the base for the damage of HIPAA violation.
- The scope and type of healthcare data compromised
- Characteristics of the party or person that accessed the data or violated the HIPAA rules
- The measures, taken to avoid vulnerable areas to protect PHI
A medical billing company can only be successful by following the HIPAA rules and regulations. The best approach is to include clauses in the BAA – Business Associate Agreement.
Moreover, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) also allows a bit of relaxation in HIPAA regulations to promote the trend of HIPAA compliance.
Things to Remember
To safeguard the interests of HIPAA compliant medical billing, it is important to not over-commit responsibilities to clients. The things, which, medical billing services are unable to commit can be strictly stated to the physicians.
Here’s a List of Things Medical Billing Should Perform
- Perform thorough risk assessment
- Design and implement a full-proof security plan
- Dedicate trained resources for operations
The accuracy of billing procedure is the second priority; the first remains the infrastructure that supports the cause of HIPAA compliance. Thus, meeting security parameters and confidentiality clause is the only way forward for medical billing companies.