HIPAA compliance requires protecting sensitive healthcare information for providers and patients. Co-managed IT is an effective way to accomplish this important task. It covers both administrative standards and cybersecurity requirements outlined in HIPAA.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which Congress passed in 1996. It provides the following protections and guidelines:
- Continuation of insurance coverage for American workers who change or lose their jobs. Each state department of insurance oversees this provision within HIPAA.
- Reduction of healthcare fraud and abuse through the intentional misrepresentation of fact that results in an unauthorized payment or benefit to healthcare providers. It also helps curb medically unnecessary treatments and any actions that fall outside the acceptable standards of professional conduct.
- Mandates how healthcare information is used industry-wide. Electronic billing and other administrative processes are included in HIPAA. Healthcare facilities must adhere to strict guidelines for how — and when — this information is shared.
- Requires the protection of sensitive health information and records. Healthcare providers and other organizations must develop and observe procedures that protect and secure confidential health information during its receipt, transfer, or handling. These guidelines apply to records shared orally, electronically, or on paper.
5 facts about HIPAA that can help protect your business
HIPAA protects both individuals and businesses when applied correctly. Figures from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reveal a significant increase in data breaches in 2019. Here are five frightening statistics businesses need to know to help protect themselves against breaches and HIPAA violations.
1. Everyone is at risk
From small clinics to large hospital networks, everyone in the healthcare sector is at risk for a data breach. Ransomware attacks are on the rise, with entire hospital systems breached and held hostage by cybercriminals. The largest breach in 2019 affected 11.5 million individuals when the Optum360, LLC network server was attacked. Breaches of this magnitude can cost thousands or even millions. In a worst-case scenario, they can shut down a business.
2. Employees pose a high risk
Second only to hacking and cyberattacks for HIPAA violations is employee error. Mistakes range from failure to follow HIPAA protocols and procedures to instances of inappropriate access to files.
3. Maximum penalty for a single breach is $1.5 million
Performing a risk assessment of all systems is crucial to ensuring HIPAA compliance and avoiding costly data breaches. It is not sufficient to do this once. Organizations must conduct assessments periodically, revising documentation as needed. Co-managed IT solutions give businesses the tools needed to secure their data.
4. Willful HIPAA violations can cost an individual $50,000 to $250,000
Implementing HIPAA procedures is the first step toward compliance. Training every employee to follow them is necessary to prevent costly fines and breaches. Individuals are liable up to $250,000 for HIPAA violations.
5. 25 million individuals are affected by just one breach
No business likes to think about it, but they should be prepared for a worst-case scenario. Working with a co-managed IT partner like KME can help prevent costly breaches and establish protocol should one occur.
How can a co-managed IT partner help?
Co-managed IT is a solution to every one of those five scary facts about HIPAA that businesses should need. It is a cost-efficient way to ensure you are protected if your internal team doesn’t have the bandwidth. Co-managed IT can help satisfy all aspects of HIPAA regulation. This includes conducting security risk assessments, implementing security requirements, and monitoring systems to protect precious data. Call us at 949-462-7001 or contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.