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HIPAA breach evaluation and reporting

Protected Health Information (PHI) is a very valuable piece of information. It is valuable for the patient, for the healthcare provider, and for the insurer. Unfortunately, there is one source to which it is more valuable than to all these: Hackers. Protected Health Information is meant to be protected, but this information is coveted in the black market more than credit cards and social security.

The reason is simple: The PHI contains very vital, but confidential information about a patient’s condition, as well as the medication she is under. When this information is hacked, it gives the most direct access to prescription habits, leading medical companies to target their marketing efforts at the most focused, pinpointed source at which their medicines are consumed. They can save loads of money on market research, advertising and many other activities with information obtained stealthily.

The core aim of HIPAA is to prevent breaches

It is to prevent this from happening that the HIPAA was enacted. The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, which was enacted in 2010, set out rules for defining a breach and the steps for reporting it to the US department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Significantly amended in 2013; HIPAA has rules on how to encrypt information according to federal standards set out by the government.

HIPAA has a clear definition of what constitutes a breach of information. It also defines what kind of act is considered a violation and what a reportable breach is. Although a variety of circumstances can result in a breach of privacy information; not all privacy violations need to be reported.

Guidelines from the HHS explain how to encrypt so as to obviate the need for notification in case data is lost. If entities fail at this, they can conduct a Risk Analysis to determine the probability of compromise of data using four factors:

  • What data was breached is and the ease with which it can be identified and located
  • The sourced to which this data was released, and if these sources are legally bound to protect the information
  • Whether or not there was actual exposure of the information
  • Whether or not proper steps have been taken to mitigate the incident.

Heavy penalties for noncompliance

Healthcare providers and those who have access to PHI for medical reasons need to get a grasp of exactly what constitutes a breach of information, and what and how to report. Although the HHS describes steps on how entities need to determine if a breach has happened and the ways to report it, if it needs to be reported; noncompliance is taken very seriously. A wrong move in this regard can hit them hard: $50,000 a day if the HHS determines that the noncompliance was a result of willful negligence.

All these aspects of HIPAA breach evaluation and reporting will be dealt with in detail at a webinar that MentorHealth, a leading provider of professional trainings for the healthcare industry, will be offering. Jim Sheldon-Dean, who is the founder and director of compliance services at Lewis Creek Systems, LLC, a Vermont-based consulting firm founded in 1982, providing information privacy and security regulatory compliance services to a wide variety of health care entities; will be the speaker at this webinar.

To enroll for this course and to get a complete understanding of all aspects of HIPAA breach evaluation and reporting, please visit .This course is approved for 1.5 general credits from the Nevada Board of Continuing Legal Education.

A complete understanding of what a breach is and how to report it

At this webinar, Jim will traverse the important areas of HIPAA, such as how to create the right breach notification policy for the organization and how to follow up when an incident occurs. He will also help participants understand what the HHS doesn’t consider a breach and in what circumstances entities don’t need to consider notifying it about a breach.

The means of reporting the smaller breaches –meaning those involving less than 500 individuals –and the ways of avoiding a breach involving more than 500 individuals will be explained. Jim will also present a policy framework to help establish good security practices.

Jim will cover the following areas at this highly useful session on HIPAA breach evaluation and reporting:

  • The definition of a Breach under HIPAA
  • Evaluating the Privacy violation
  • Reviewing the exceptions to the definition of a breach
  • What is good enough encryption according to the rules
  • Performing the Risk Analysis to determine the necessity to report
  • Ransomware and Breaches - When to Report
  • Avoiding Breaches
  • The most common causes of breaches
  • Reporting breaches to HHS and the individuals
  • Reporting breaches to the press and other agencies
  • Documenting your analysis and decisions.

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