The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a law that has been designed to protect patients against the misuse of their medical information. It is a federal law, which means all states must adhere to the guidelines and rules that have been established. To ensure all employees are aware of the requirements and its guidelines, employers must provide HIPAA training to all employees who have access to patient data.
Also, according to HIPAA, security awareness and protection measures must be in place in all medical facilities. Therefore, the training is one of the main components and duties of the employer. Some of the major areas that HIPAA addresses are who must provide HIPAA training, how employment training should be provided, continuous training requirements and security of computer systems.
Who Is Responsible For Providing HIPAA Training?
Under the guidelines and regulations of HIPAA, a covered entity is responsible for providing HIPAA training to its employees, agents, trainees, contractors and volunteers. Covered entities are defined as organizations that stores, transmits, exchanges and handles private medical information. Therefore, covered entities will include a variety of different types of medical organizations including hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, insurance companies and pharmacies. In addition to all medical facilities, this federal law addresses any organization that has direct or indirect contact and handling of private medical information. This means all associated organizations and agencies must provide the training.
Even though all of these covered entities are required to provide HIPAA training, how the employer provides the training is within their discretion. As a general practice, some companies are providing their employees with hands on training exercises or they may sponsor educational courses for the employees that they hire. These classes will normally concentrate on how each employer uses the health information that they have access to, how to reduce the risk of misuse or the unintended sharing of protected patient information as well as any other unique HIPAA issues that the employer could incur.
Additionally, every employer should provide education on HIPAA policies and procedures to ensure all of their employers adhere to HIPAA's mandates. Each course and program must also include a review of the consequences that comes with any and all HIPAA violations.
Due to changes and updates in guidelines and procedures, HIPAA requires ongoing training for these employees. Which means, the employer must comply with additional HIPAA amendments as well as any other associated developments. To keep employees up-to-date with the most recent changes in HIPPA, employers can comply by providing newsletters and memos. For example, these newsletters may include specific updates on procedures and they may be circulated to the employees and others who are covered by this mandate.
Another area of HIPAA training is related to the usage of electronic storage. This part of the legislation requires all employers to ensure the medical information in their computer systems are adhering to guidelines that protect sensitive data. For instance, employees must have a password to access protected patient information.