The Importance of HIPAA Compliance in Medical Billing
Security breaches—in the sensitive industry of healthcare—are always bad news. When patients’ data privacy and confidentiality go berserk, ripples can be felt across the entire trillion-dollar healthcare industry. Clients will lose confidence and profitability can take a serious hit.
Security issues plague medical billing on a regular basis. There are countless stories making the rounds about how dearly medical billing companies had to pay, or what dangers they had to face, due to a simple failure to comply with the rules for data safety and security.
In the context of maintaining patients’ data security and privacy, compliance is the only bona fide component for determining the real forte of a medical biller. In this regard, adhering to the rules and regulations laid down in the comprehensive Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is of critical importance.
For medical billing companies serving in the US healthcare sector, the HIPAA set of rules is the veritable Bible for data security. What is important to remember is that adhering to its dictates is not a matter of choice, but a mandatory requirement for any reputed medical billing practice. All employees, including medical billers, within a medical billing organization, are bound by HIPAA and are accountable for maintaining compliance to the best of their abilities. And it’s worth the effort. This is because when it comes to medical billing, HIPAA can effectively prevent fraudulent activity before, during, and after the claims process.
Here are some key points to remember about HIPAA:
♦ HIPPA establishes guidelines for electronic record keeping and electronic transactions between parties in the healthcare system. It requires medical billing specialists to use Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems by the end of 2015 for enhanced security.
♦ Under the Privacy Rule of HIPAA, medical billing specialists must be careful not to share a patient’s Protected Health Information (PHI)
♦ Monitoring compliance within the medical billing practice makes information more secure. For example, technology specialists need to ensure constantly that operations are protected from attacks by hackers, software viruses or other malicious agents.