Let’s be honest. To many healthcare providers, HIPAA is four-letter word. And the phrase “HIPAA compliance” — around since 1996 — has become a kind of irritating background noise they’ve gotten used to, but still wish would go away.
Here in 2015 HIPAA compliance can no longer be ignored. Advances in technology and consumer awareness, along with recent changes in the law, stiffer enforcement, and larger penalties have made the old excuses for not dealing with HIPAA compliance unworkable and untrue.
Let’s look at 8 of them.
“HIPAA compliance isn’t part of the Hippocratic oath and the real work of healthcare. It’s just bureaucracy.” The trust between patient and healthcare provider is at the foundation of a good practice. In the Hippocratic Oath, there’s a promise to “do no harm.” Not being HIPAA compliant is a betrayal of the trust patients implicitly place in you to keep their personal information private and secure
“I thought all I had to do was have my patients sign those forms.” There’s much more to HIPAA compliance than the Notice of Privacy Practices. Claiming you didn’t know isn’t going to fly with an auditor or with patients whose information gets compromised.
“HIPAA compliance costs too much.” Which is less costly: Paying under $1,000 for reputable, easy-to-use compliance services (like Touchstone’s) or upwards of $24,000 in fines? Paying less than $1,000 for compliance services or facing civil lawsuits that could damage your reputation and end your practice?
“I’ll keep flying under the radar. Nobody is going to check or audit me.” Random audits are, in fact, happening right now — with a lot more on the way. And HIPAA-aware consumers in increasing numbers are tipping off HHS to perceived breaches.
“There’s no price to pay if I don’t comply.” In the past year alone, the HHS has collected more than $10 million in fines! Hundreds of practices and organizations have had their names added to the “Wall of Shame” on the Health and Human Services website.
“Patients don’t care about HIPAA compliance.” More consumers are becoming aware of their rights due to the Notice of Privacy Practices and the Affordable Care Act. They’re also seeing more stories in the news about identity theft, fraudulent bills, and hacked health records.
“Who cares about medical records and whether I’m HIPAA compliant?” International cartels, syndicates, and common criminals stand ready to steal medical information and file fraudulent claims. If you’re not HIPAA compliant, you and your patients’ data are an easy mark.
“HIPAA’s a headache. Why bother?” Not only is HIPAA compliance an integral part of being an ethical, well-run practice, it’s also the law.
At Touchstone Compliance, our team of compliance experts maintains up-to-the-minute HIPAA information, coupled with robust, online, and easy-to-use compliance tools. And we offer it all at a price point that’s a genuine bargain, especially considering the alternatives. Click here to learn more.