In the US healthcare industry, breaches have increased in frequency along with the penalties. Due to the lack of compliance and security on part of healthcare providers, hackers are finding it easy to attack the systems.
So as a provider, you need to think hard about HIPAA compliance in 2019 because HIPAA is one of the most influential policies that affect patient experiences. It is being expected that 2019 will see various changes to the HIPAA compliance regulations and your practice should be prepared for the same.
Changes to expect in 2019
Reportedly, the Department of HHS (Health and Human Services) plans on releasing a Notice of Proposed Rule-making in March 2019. HIPAA regulations will be modified for implementing changes behavioral health and integrated health providers need to communicate information for addiction and upload patients.
Following a HIPAA violation, the HHS is considering adjustments to policies so that affected patients can get a certain amount of the damages paid following the violation.
Improving HIPAA Compliance in 2019
It is very important for medical billing service providers to focus on policies and procedures because if your organisation receives a complaint or has a breach, then the HHS and OCR will ask you to present the complete procedures and policies. If there are no procedures in place, you will have to face more investigations. So go through the policies and procedures, look for gaps, find the right solutions, get your staff trained in the policies and get everything in place to be ready for 2019.
It is very important to have an incident response plan because even if you haven’t been breached yet, it is likely that you will at some point. So be prepared for the aftermath with a plan. You can also set up a breach response team and get them trained well.
Conduct risk analysis because it will help you identify the risks, threats, vulnerabilities to your practice. These risks or threats can either be digital or physical, internal or external. With a risk analysis, you will be taking into account your systems along with the environmental and human elements that impact your healthcare organisation. Review and update the risk analysis at least annually.
Lastly, having well trained staff will help you overcome HIPAA issues. Staff need to be trained on the security, privacy and breach notification rules and be told about the processes and tools that can be implemented to safeguard patient data.