The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a comprehensive Act that encompasses a lot of aspects related to healthcare such as ensuring that patient's personal information stays safe and private even though many entities handle it. In order to safeguard such information, the Act lays down several HIPAA compliance regulations that should be followed. It also has a strict compliance policy, which ensures that the covered entities follow the regulations.
Since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is extremely comprehensive, HIPAA compliance is a great concern for health insurance companies, medical providers, collection agencies and some private employers. Organizations that provide healthcare services usually come up with specific procedures and policies that are designed to enforce HIPAA rules in order to prevent violations. Hospitals and healthcare workers must demonstrate that they comply with HIPAA compliance regulations by ensuring that they keep patient information private.
They may do this by limiting the way staff members access medical files, limiting information about patients and respecting the requests of patients about how they should be contacted by phone or email. Medical professionals and organizations should also offer patients their medical records when they request them. They must also make sure that any third party collection or billing services are only provided with minimal medical information about the condition of a patient.
Businesses that provide health insurance coverage and have more than fifty employees are also required to comply with HIPAA regulations. They should designate an employee to act as a privacy official who will oversee the development and enforcement of HIPAA compliance regulations. Only HIPAA compliant employees should be allowed to access health insurance files.
One significant protection that HIPAA offers to healthcare consumers is that insurance coverage should be portable. Insurers face restrictions when it comes to enforcing exclusions for pre-existing conditions. For instance, many insurance policies have a clause written in them stating that new policy holders cannot receive coverage for medical conditions if they had received treatment for them within the 6-month period before they purchased the new policy. However, HIPAA compliance regulations stipulate that if the gap between group policies of the previous and new employers of a person is less than 63 days, the new policy should provide coverage for pre-exiting conditions.
The Act also offers protection against exclusions for pre-existing conditions for infants and adopted children as long as they obtain health insurance coverage within thirty days of their adoption or birth. In order to comply with HIPAA regulations, organizations need to provide their staff with hands on training that will help them understand various HIPAA compliance requirements. The training will also allow them to be aware of the actions that constitute HIPAA violation. In addition, the employees will be better equipped to notice any deviation to HIPAA regulations and know how to rectify a situation that may cause violations of HIPAA compliance.
Another thing that healthcare service providers can do to ensure that they comply with HIPAA regulations is to use HIPAA compliance specific software. They can customize this software for use and provide tools to ensure that their employees comply with all the regulations. They should also update the software regularly to ensure that the employees always have access to the latest information. Healthcare service providers should also have proof of compliance to HIPAA compliance regulations. This includes documents from their vendors, associates and sub-contractors.
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