With the highly sensitive information that gets shared between patients and their healthcare providers, the healthcare industry is a goldmine for cybercriminals.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was designed to protect this data from being mishandled or stolen. If you are a Michigan-based business that deals with protected health information (PHI), then it is vital that you understand how to become HIPAA compliant.
Not only is it required by law, but your patients will appreciate knowing that their information is safe in your hands.
Who Needs to Follow HIPAA?
Any business that deals with PHI (protected health information) must follow HIPAA guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses, health insurers, and any company that provides support services to the healthcare industry.
Businesses that are impacted by HIPAA would be those considered “covered entities”. Covered entities are defined in the HIPAA rules as (1) health plans, (2) health care clearinghouses, and (3) health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with transactions for which HHS has adopted standards.
What are the Consequences of Not Being HIPAA Compliant?
If you are found to be in violation of HIPAA, you could be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties. These can range from a slap on the wrist to millions of dollars in fines.
Additionally, your business could suffer damage to its reputation if PHI is mishandled. This could lead to a loss of customers and revenue.
6 Tips for HIPAA Compliance in Michigan
Some states do have stricter HIPAA laws than federal regulations but in Michigan, that’s not the case. So good news: if you’re following federal regulations, you’re compliant in Michigan! If you still need help getting to federal compliance, here are six tips:
HIPAA Policies and Procedures
Work through the guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and create written policies and procedures. Since every business is a little different, your implementation will be unique. You should review your policies every year so you can make changes as necessary.
Cybercrime is a big threat to the healthcare industry. To comply with HIPAA, you must follow the Breach Notification Rule. This means that your organization should have a system to detect, respond to, and report breaches. Make sure that employees are aware of how to report incidents and what to do if they think a breach has occurred.
Security Risk Assessments, Gap Identification, and Remediation
It’s important to regularly assess your security risks and take steps to mitigate them. The first step is to identify any gaps in your security. Once you’ve done that, you can put together a plan to remediate those gaps. This might include things like implementing encryption or better access control measures.
To meet HIPAA safeguard requirements, you have to list your system deficiencies and how you plan to address them in a written remediation plan. Make sure to include action items and a timeline.
Business Associate Agreements
To comply with HIPAA, each of your vendors must sign a business associate agreement. A business associate is anyone who provides your organization with a service that might have access to PHI. The agreement requires that each business be HIPAA compliant and state that they take responsibility for their compliance.
Employee HIPAA Training
All employees that have potential access to PHI must complete annual training on compliance and how to treat personal information.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by HIPAA compliance or just want an expert’s opinion, you might want to consider hiring a HIPAA consultant. This is a person or company who specializes in helping businesses become and stay HIPAA compliant.
They can help you develop and implement policies and procedures, conduct security risk assessments, and train your employees. They can also help you stay up-to-date on the latest changes to HIPAA regulations.
Hiring a compliance consultant is a great way to make sure that your business is meeting all of the requirements of HIPAA.
Never Worry about HIPAA Compliance Again with Brightline IT
Security and compliance regulations can be overwhelming and add an extra layer of stress to your already busy life. But at Brightline, we take the guesswork out of compliance so that you can focus on what’s important: running your business.
Our comprehensive compliance program includes everything you need to meet and exceed HIPAA requirements. We are experts in the field of healthcare IT and can help you with all aspects of compliance. We can help you develop policies and procedures, conduct security risk assessments, and train your employees. We’ll also keep you up-to-date on the latest changes to HIPAA regulations.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with HIPAA compliance in Michigan.