The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act comprehensively defines how patient data should be taken care of by medical practitioners, pharmaceutical companies and other members of the healthcare world.
Since it was first enacted in 1996, HIPAA has constantly gone through many permutations as new rules are added and expanding the scope of rules. This won’t end anytime soon. Compliance requirements are sure to change again over the next 12 months. How can organizations keep up with recent and soon-to-come updates in order to stay compliant in 2018 and beyond?
The Cost of Violating HIPAA Rules
Being HIPAA compliant is not something that healthcare institutions can take lightly. Violating HIPAA rules can be extremely costly. The cost can range from $100 for minor events involving first-time offenders to $1.5 million for immensely egregious cases. The final amount of the fine comes down to the level of negligence, the severity of the incident or data loss and the length of time it took the organization to respond. Being proactive and hiring management pays off if a data loss incident occurs. Companies are less likely to be given massive penalties if they demonstrate diligence and address a data breach and notify all affected parties.
What to Expect in 2019
Recently, President Trump’s administration has made numerous budget cuts to various federal agencies. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights – the department that oversees HIPAA compliance – will not be immune to this in 2019. It is posted that the OCR plans to remove more than $6 million from its financial year 2018 budget.
This budget cut could be seen as the federal government potentially having fewer resources to enforce HIPAA compliance. However, it’s important to recognize that the OCR may look to offset that budget reduction by actively policing the healthcare industry and aggressively fining offenders, meaning aggressive compliance is necessary possibly now more than ever.
It doesn’t stop there. Another expected a step-up in enforcement this year is a potential government response to the not-so-stellar Phase 2 HIPAA Audit Program results. Covered entities that participated did not fare well: 94 percent of participants’ information security risk management strategies earned a rating of “inadequate” or lower.
It’s crucial to enlist in aid to ensure that no violations are present. Nevada IT Solutions is a team of HIPAA experts that vigilantly review changes to the rules and regulations, keeping the team aware and ready to prevent violations.
Third Party Vendor to Ensure HIPAA compliance
The most important step a healthcare organization can take to comply with HIPAA guidelines is to stay proactive and continue to diligently check to make sure that their policies meet every requirement. This is something that should be considered a full-time job, that is how important it is. Waiting until an incident occurs to address an issue will only cause more financial and reputational damage.
When making preparations for HIPAA compliance, it is in medical practitioners best interest to hire managed services such as Nevada IT Solutions to ensure that they strictly adhere to HIPAA regulations. Don’t let anything slip through the cracks. Negligence is never a valid excuse when it comes to HIPAA.
NVIT offers HIPAA compliance assessments and crafts a roadmap to compliance. We are one of the pioneers in cultivating the culture of compliance in the Reno Tahoe Region.
For limited time, claim your free HIPAA assessment by contacting us here. Remember, HIPAA Compliance is a Law!