The HIPPA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is very important for healthcare business. Healthcare providers, insurance companies, and hospitals should ensure that they are following HIPAA compliance. This will help you in safeguarding sensitive and private patient data. In this article, we are going to share a complete HIPAA compliance checklist for 2022.
You don’t need to worry about HIPAA compliance. This guide will help you in increasing your network security. Thus, you don’t need to worry about violating HIPAA compliance.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA compliance is the process that hospitals need to follow for protecting their PHI records. It is described by the government. PHI or protected health information is everyone’s healthcare data. The main aim of HIPAA is to ensure that this data is private.
Every healthcare organization needs to follow this compliance. If you have access to PHI, then you need to follow PHI. Business associates of healthcare organizations also need to maintain HIPAA compliance. IT personnel, admins, accountants, and lawyers that work in the healthcare industry also need to maintain HIPAA compliance as they have access to PHI records.
HIPAA Compliance Checklist
Understand HIPAA Privacy rules
The HIPAA privacy rule is very important for every healthcare organization. You need to first understand these rules. The privacy rule will explain who can have access to PHI. This will include lawyers, admins, and healthcare professionals that are working in the healthcare industry.
Thus, this is the most important step. You should start by understanding the HIPAA privacy rules. This rule will help you in safeguarding the privacy of PHI. It will help you in setting access controls. The privacy rules also give a lot of rights to patients over their PHI. This will include the right to request corrections and obtain copies of records.
You should start with a solid foundation. Thus, after understanding the rules you should start with a risk assessment. You need to assess the risk of your Electronic health record environment. It is a good idea to ask a third party for performing this assessment. This will ensure that you will get the correct report. If you are working with a third party, then you don’t need to worry about understanding every aspect of HIPAA compliance. HIPAA compliance can be cumbersome. Third-party will have enough expertise to deal with this. They will help you in saving a lot of time. Thus, you should go for a third-party risk assessment.
Your consultant will generally ask you to evaluate your entire security program. This will help you in checking if you are following the HIPAA regulations properly. It will also help you in assessing your readiness. In case of a data breach, you should be ready to recover your data and systems. Third-party organizations will also provide you with HIPAA compliance certifications. You can show this to your partners. Your consultant will provide you with a report. This report will include the following things:
- It will include your current compliance and security posture compared to the requirements.
- It will contain recommendations for dealing with risk.
- It will have a road map that will outline the initiatives and steps to achieve certification and compliance.
If you are following NIST Framework, then you can easily find gaps in your compliance. It is important to address these gaps. This will help you in increasing your IT security.
You will identify various risks during the risk assessment. Make sure that you are taking immediate steps for addressing the gaps that are present in your security program. A good MSP can help you in this process. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire have years of experience in dealing with HIPAA compliance. They can help you increase your security parameter. You can ask them for advice on risk mitigation. Your consultant will also provide you with advice on risk mitigation.
Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in developing specific procedures, standards, and policies for protecting your network. They will provide you with support in implementing key security controls and practices. You don’t need to worry about hiring a large IT security team. Bleuwire will give you access to a large team of IT professionals. Thus, you don’t need to worry about the hiring costs.
Make sure that you are using security technology available in the market for addressing the gaps. Various security solutions can help you in improving your IT security. You should also look for security solutions that can help you in addressing both multi-cloud and premise environments.
For example, you can automate your asset discovery. This will help you in categorizing your assets into different HIPAA groups. Thus, you can easily manage your groups. There are various vulnerability scanners available in the market. They will help you in scanning your network for vulnerability. You can integrate these solutions with ticketing solutions. This will ensure that you are dealing with critical issues first.
Protect the right data
You should also understand what data you need to protect. This will ensure that you are putting in the right privacy and security measures. According to the HIPAA privacy rule, PHI can be classified as individually identifiable health information. This can be stored in any form.
You need to find all the PHI records that you are storing. Make sure that you are moving them to a secure server. This is the most important step as it will help you in finding the data that you need to protect. After this, you can focus on protecting other data. If you are storing medical record numbers and social security numbers, then you should be extra careful. Attackers are generally looking for this data. Thus, you will be a prime target. You should implement the best data security solutions for protecting this data.
In case of a breach, you need to provide notifications to all the parties that were involved in the breach. This will include all the third parties and patients. You can use security management platforms for simplifying this problem. It will help you in automating monitoring for breaches. This will ensure that you can quickly detect and stop a breach.
Most healthcare organizations are moving their data to the cloud. This will ensure that they don’t need to invest in expensive IT equipment. If you are moving your applications and data to the cloud, then you should ensure that your cloud provider is offering advanced threat detection capabilities. This will ensure that your data is secure in a cloud environment.
Your cloud provider should provide asset discovery solutions to you. They should use vulnerability assessment for protecting their network. Make sure that your cloud provider is providing endpoint detection and response to you. Your cloud provider can provide all this information in a single dashboard. This will help you in quickly identifying and analyzing the threats. You can quickly respond to these threats.
Intelligence without context can cause a lot of problems for your team. You should understand all the information that your cloud provider is providing. Thus, you should consider working with an MSSP. You will get access to a large IT security team. Your MSSP will help you in analyzing this data.
Prepping for a breach
A meaningful data breach can affect more than 500 people. You need to report these data breaches to HHS OCR within 60 days of the data breach. Also, you need to notify the affected parties after discovering the breach.
You also need to report these breaches to local law enforcement agencies. Thus, you should ensure that you have some system for reporting to all these parties. These breaches are rare. However, you should be ready for every type of breach. This will ensure that you will be ready in case of an actual breach.
Be aware of the penalties and fines
If you are following this checklist, then you don’t need to worry much about HIPAA-related penalties and files. However, you should know that these penalties exist. You should understand how these penalties function. Penalties and fines can be imposed for unintentional or intentional PHI breaches. They are structures in this model currently:
- Tier 1 Violation: In this, the covered entity was not aware of the violation. If it is impossible to prevent the violation, then it will come inside this category. However, still reasonable care was taken to protect the PHI. The fine will vary from $100 to $50000 in this category.
- Tier 2 Violation: In this, the covered entity was aware of the violation. However, they couldn’t avoid it due to some reasons. Reasonable measures were taken to protect the patient records. The fine will vary from $1000 to $50000.
- Tier 3 Violation: This will contain all the violation which was a direct result of wilful neglect. The covered entity was not following HIPAA compliance. The fine will vary from $10000 to $50000 per violation.
- Tier 4 Violation: This is the most serious category. If you are wilfully neglecting all the rules, then you should be ready for this fine. The minimum fine is $50000 per violation and there is no upper bound.
If you want to avoid these fines, then you should follow the checklist. It will ensure that you are at least trying to protect your data. Thus, your fines will automatically come down in case of a breach. If you are following all the good practices, then you generally don’t need to worry about fines.
Meet Transaction Standards
Most hospitals will send PHI during their daily operations. Thus, HIPAA has set transaction standards for all the covered entities. This will ensure that you are protecting your PHI during data transmission.
The common standard transaction will include eligibility, claim status, payment advice, premium payment, referrals, enrolment, and claims. You should ensure that you are following the X12 Data Exchange Standard during the data transaction. This will help you in protecting your data exchanges from attackers.
Keep up with HIPAA changes
HIPAA compliance keeps on changing with time. The authorities are always updating it. This is to ensure that healthcare providers are keeping up with the attackers. You might be already using all the right cybersecurity measures. Also, you are ready to deal with a security breach. However, there are various HIPAA changes expected to take effect in 2022.
You should ensure that you are learning about the latest HIPAA rules. In 2021 HIPAA allowed patients to check their PHI in person. You should have fee schedules on your website. The maximum time to provide PHI has also decreased from one month to 15 days.
You might have already reached HIPAA compliance. However, this won’t stay true until you are improving your IT security plan with time. Thus, it is very important to keep up with the latest HIPAA changes. You should keep updating your IT security plan with time. This will ensure that you are keeping up with the attackers.
The main aim of HIPAA is to ensure that customer and patient PHI will stay private. Businesses can use the rules defined in HIPAA for protecting their patient’s data. Most healthcare organizations think that HIPAA compliance is a daunting task. However, you can easily do it if you are following a step-by-step approach.
You should consider working with an experienced HIPPA compliance partner for ensuring your compliance. Bleuwire can help you in achieving HIPAA compliance. They will help you in ensuring that you are HIPAA compliant. You don’t need to worry about understanding all the HIPAA rules. All you need to do is pay a fixed fee to your MSP provider. This is the most cost-effective method for hospitals. Hospitals don’t have access to a large IT team. Thus, it is difficult to protect your healthcare network. You can fix this problem by working with a good MSP as they will already have access to a large IT team. If you need more information regarding IT services, then you can contact Bleuwire.