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Easing the complexity of HIPAA enforcement

In the dozen years from the time of its enactment, change in thinking has been one of the palpable aspects of HIPAA. The advising and counseling outlook that characterized the initial years of its existence is now history. HIPAA is today noted for its very stringent and arm-twisting attitude. Its methods of enforcement are dreaded, to put it mildly. The coaxing and wheedling method used by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is now passé. The OCR is extremely unrelenting in its expectations from healthcare organizations which violate its rules. Expectedly, such organizations can expect a slew of harsh penalties.

To begin with, healthcare organizations are up against drastically raised fines, which come with mandatory minimum fines of $10,000 for willful neglect in their compliance aspects. This is a result of the OCR’s decision to use audits as the medium with which to enforce HIPAA. Since the turn for an audit or compliance review for an entity that comes under the scanner of the OCR can come up any time; there is simply no time or place for relaxation.

Given that all these changes have taken place into HIPAA; it is absolutely imperative for an entity that is subject to HIPAA compliance, such as a Covered Entity or its Business Associate and related entities to take the necessary steps to protect their patients' rights and health information in accordance with what is required under the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules. the alternative is clear: heavy penalties. This makes it mandatory for Covered Entities and Business Associates to implement the privacy requirements, provide good information security, and be in overall compliance.

Learning about all aspects of HIPAA compliance

Achieving compliance with HIPAA is a challenge for Covered Entities and Business Associates. This is easier said than done, because the text in HIPAA is abstruse to many professionals. It is vague at times, which makes it difficult to comprehend and interpret.

A webinar that helps professionals associated closely with HIPAA enforcement, such as Compliance Directors, CEO, CFO, Privacy Officers, Security Officers, HIPAA Officers, Chief Information Officers, Health Information Managers, Healthcare Counsel/lawyers and Office Managers, is being organized by MentorHealth, a highly regarded provider of professional trainings for the healthcare industry.

Jim Sheldon Dean, who is the founder and director of compliance services at Lewis Creek Systems, LLC, a Vermont-based consulting firm, which he founded in 1982, will be the speaker at this webinar. He will offer total understanding of HIPAA enforcement and explain how the provisions of HIPAA have to be complied with. This webinar will help participants overcome the difficulties and complexities associated with HIPAA compliance. To gain insights into how to enforce HIPAA regulations; please register for this webinar. This Course is approved for 1 general credit from the Nevada Board of Continuing Legal Education.

HIPAA enforcement explained

At this session, the explanation of the HIPAA enforcement actions that have taken place that Jim will offer, will help participants to understand why the enforcement took place. This understanding will also help them understand what they can do towards addressing and preventing the incident that leads to the enforcement. How to cover up the various lacunae and the ways of putting in place the proper policies, procedures, training, and documentation of their application to prevent problems and limit the organization's exposure in incidents, will be covered.

This kind of detailed learning is vital to offer an understanding of what kinds of violations have attracted the OCR’s attention. Returning copiers to the leasing company without removing the PHI on the hard drive, moving offices without accounting for hard drives stored in a closet, or improperly disposing of printed materials are actions that could invite penal actions from HIPAA -all these are considered actionable activities.

Jim will offer the guidance needed to avoid actions that invite penalties from the OCR at this webinar. He will cover the following areas at this session:

  • The HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification regulations (and the recent changes to them) and how their compliance will be evaluated in enforcement circumstances
  • Recent changes to the HIPAA enforcement regulations that increase fines and create new penalty levels, including new penalties for willful neglect of compliance that begin at $10,000
  • The information and documentation that needs to be prepared in advance so that you can be ready for an enforcement review or an audit without notice
  • The results of prior HHS enforcement actions and audits (and their penalties), including recent actions involving multi-million dollar fines and settlements
  • Questions asked in prior audits and enforcement reviews
  • Identification of weaknesses in organizational compliance
  • Future threats to the security of patient information
  • The importance of a good compliance process to help you stay compliant more easily.

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