Small Businesses and HIPAA Compliance
Small businesses often struggle with HIPAA compliance. Audits conducted by the HHS’s OCR (Office for Civil Rights) revealed that smaller businesses are less likely to be HIPAA compliant and are falling behind in their compliance efforts. Small business owners feel that they do not need to worry about HIPAA compliance. In reality, that is not the case. Today every covered-entity as well as business associates regardless of their size is a potential audit candidate.
Non-Compliance is too costly for small businesses
From budget constraints to ensuring quality and growth, the struggle is real for small business owners. Any entity that handles the flow of patient information should take HIPAA compliance seriously, or they could run the risk of facing severe consequences. The cost of an audit itself can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size, and compliance requirements of the business, and the fines for non-compliance can range in the millions, including:
- Fines per violation up to $1.5 million per year,
- Lawyer fees: $2000+,
- Breach notification costs: $1000+,
- ID theft monitoring: $10 — $30 per record,
- Class action lawsuits: $1000+,
- Technology repairs: $2000+,
and many other costs associated with HIPAA violations. Looking at these numbers, that’s a lot of money for small businesses and can easily put a small company out of business.
HIPAA compliance starts with awareness
To establish an effective HIPAA compliance program, small businesses need to be more aware of the guidelines and how they need to follow them. You may be unaware of pending audits, not have proper policies and procedures in place, or not be providing sufficient training to your staff. Additionally, you may not have a proper record-keeping system in place.
To overcome these problems, HIPAA Ready is the best HIPAA compliance software for small businesses. Here are a few things you can do with HIPAA Ready without needing to worry too much about your budget:
- Develop, implement, and distribute policies and procedures,
- Streamline training programs,
- Conduct regular risk assessments,
- Manage Business Associate Agreements.
HIPAA training is necessary for everyone
You may have employees working in your company that has no idea about HIPAA. They may have access to patient data all the time but has no idea how to handle them. Even though you may not be a healthcare provider, the same rule still applies. It is imperative that you and your employees are aware of the information that should be protected under the Privacy Rule, and have knowledge of basic security protocols. Annual compliance training is mandatory, but conducting regular training can help employees sharpen their memory and lowers the risk of inadvertently violating the law.
Proper management of Business Associate Agreements (BAAs)
As a small business, you probably work for a covered-entity to perform certain tasks, work with other companies that handle protected health information (PHI), or you are a small clinic. Regardless of what your business does, if you either create, maintain, receive, or transmit PHI on behalf of those organizations, you must enter into a business associate agreement with those organizations. These agreements should also be annually reviewed to ensure that appropriate changes are made in case your relationship or the nature of your business changes.
Keeping up with record-keeping requirements for HIPAA compliance
Documentation proves that you took the action to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Security Rule. In the event of an audit, you have to supply all the required documentation to the OCR to demonstrate your compliance efforts. The OCR may ask for various types of documents, so you must have everything on hand. Perhaps you have been maintaining a paper-based documentation system or outsourcing several, including the above-mentioned steps. However, paper-based documentation systems can be time-consuming and inefficient.
With HIPAA Ready, you can fulfill the record-keeping and other compliance requirements effortlessly from a single cloud platform.
Do you need help with HIPAA compliance?
HIPAA Ready is the best HIPAA compliance software tool for small businesses as it does not require a large financial investment to ensure compliance — only $10/month. The HIPAA Ready software is 100% customizable and offers more features, more reliability, and more opportunities to allow small businesses to streamline processes effortlessly. Everything will be easier once you start using HIPAA Ready!
To learn more about HIPAA Ready’s software features, please get in touch with us today!
Originally published at https://www.cloudapper.com on November 20, 2020.