A look at the nature and numbers of HIPAA breaches over just the couple of years makes stark reading: On the one hand, in terms of numbers; 2016, with about 16 million records breached was a pretty good year compared to the previous year, in which about seven times that number, more than 113 million, were breached. But the bad news is that 2016 saw more Covered Entities reporting breaches than in any other year since the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) started publishing its data on healthcare record breaches.
These huge numbers show that not only is there a big demand for these records in the black market -they are in greater demand than even social security and credit cards -Covered Entities and Business Associates need to all that it takes to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties.
The federal government has not been lax on this aspect. It is being extremely vigilant about protecting healthcare records. It has been consistently urging the HHS to take a serious view of the increased incidence of cyberattacks that has resulted in medical records theft and has suggested many measures towards ensuring this. The fact that there has been a steady increase in the global spending on cybersecurity-related hardware, software, and services and could reach $100 billion in 2020, according to estimates by the International Data Corporation (IDC), suggests the seriousness with which this issue is being viewed not just in the US, but all over the world.
One of the primary requirements that Business Associates need to comply with is adherence to HIPAA mandates regarding the handling and use of health information. This is spelt out in the HITECH Act, a recent update made to overall HIPAA regulations. It is mandatory for a Business Associate to comply with a wide range of regulatory obligations, which include certain privacy obligations, security standards, and breach notification requirements.
However, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding among Business Associates about their roles and requirements. They must be completely knowledgeable about all the aspects of their roles, functions and requirements before they enter into agreements of contracts with subcontractors and vendors for their services
Learning about ways of avoiding HIPAA fines and penalties
Jay Hodes, who is President and Founder, Colington Security Consulting, LLC, will be providing thorough understanding of the roles and requirements of a Business Associate and Covered Entities in HIPAA enforcement at a webinar that is being organized by MentorHealth, a leading provider of professional trainings for the healthcare industry. Please visit What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties? to get complete clarity of the ways of avoiding HIPAA fines and penalties.
Clarity on how to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties
The aim of this learning session is to help businesses understand what it means to be a Business Associate and know what required safeguards, policies and procedures must be in place or make sure that their current compliance program is adequate and can withstand government scrutiny.
Jay will highlight the importance of being compliant with the HIPAA requirements for an organization if it has to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties. The ways by which a Business Associate or Covered Entity can provide the appropriate patient rights and controls on its uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information (PHI) and what all it has to have in place for doing so, will all be explained.
He will cover the following areas at this session: