While many of us take our privacy for granted, HIPAA laws don’t and can result in fines up to $1.5 million in a year. Even if you have a secure facility, you need to make sure that your patients and their information are protected.
Make sure you include training on HIPAA laws for employees that you on board.
No matter what kind of medical facility you run, the choice to have any procedure done is up to the individual who pays for it. Otherwise, no one else should have access to that information unless the individual gives it to them. This protects people from being harassed, judged, or discriminated against by employers, colleagues, or even strangers.
HIPAA laws are being updated constantly. Here are 6 reasons why you should keep your staff up to date.
1. Avoid Fines By Learning HIPAA Laws For Employees
One of the most troubling aspects of violating HIPAA requirements is the number of fines you could get. Failure to secure your trash, properly shred everything, and keep records secure could result in having to take money out of your office’s account.
When you get hit with a HIPAA fine, you could be in for a series of fines. If you improperly dump 100 employee records in a way that someone can access them, you won’t just get one fine. You could be subject to up to 100 fines, one for each record that was violated.
Most medical offices operate on a fairly tight budget. Rather than have to write a check to pay for HIPAA fees, invest that money in training and more secure record facilities.
2. Stay Out of Court
If you end up being accused of gross negligence or intentional violation of a HIPAA law, you could be brought into court. If one person was particularly upset by the violation, they could sue you for damages. They could have lost income because of job discrimination or they could have damage to their reputation by the release of personal information.
The time you spend in court is time that you won’t be at your office doing the important work you’re tasked with. You’ll also be paying a lawyer to take care of your case, which could be a serious drain on your office’s accounts.
You’re better off staying out of court by properly disposing of records, keeping employees from talking about patients, and securing your computers. Keep folders covered and employee lists out of public sight to limit your chance of violations.
3. Protect Your Reputation
Given that 84% of people now trust online reviews as much as referrals from friends, what gets said online has an impact. If you get one bad review for violating HIPAA or any other kind of law, you could get a negative review that could spread like wildfire.
When you violate HIPAA laws, people will find out.
This kind of damage to your reputation isn’t easy to recover from if you’ve got a small office. If you’re barely making ends meet or just keeping your head above water, the damage to your reputation could limit your ability to get new clients.
If you’re not able to get new clients, your office could end up dead in the water.
Make sure you protect your reputation by protecting the information you have on your clients. Rather than leave records and charts out for anyone to see, come up with a system that makes sure that staff is responsible for any record in their possession. With an accountability system in place, your reputation will be secured.
Try adding a dedicated IT staff to secure client records.
4. Protect Client Privacy
The privacy that your clients come to you for is important. If you’re doing work that involves intimate care or a typically sensitive area of the body, you need to protect their safety.
You never know what kind of discrimination they’ll face if it’s found out they got a certain procedure done. You also don’t want to be on the wrong end of a journalist’s video camera.
If you happen to serve a high end or celebrity clientele, you could be putting people’s careers at risk. An actor’s work depends on their body. If certain sensitive information gets out about their medical history, you could adversely impact their ability to make a living.
5. Set The Standard for Others
When you protect your patients’ HIPAA protections, you set the standard for others in your industry. Just as you look around at the other providers in your area, they look to you too. If you’re holding a high standard of patient privacy, they’ll likely do the same.
The result will be a high standard of patient protection for anyone who walks through your door. When they know that everything they say in your offices stays in your office, they’ll choose you over other providers. When other providers ask why you’re doing well, privacy and discretion is sure to come up.
When you set a high standard, others set that standard for themselves.
6. Keep Morale High
One of the most important things for employees to be aware of when complying with HIPAA laws is that they shouldn’t talk openly about patients. If one patient overhears gossip about another, they could tell more people.
Not only that, but it looks bad for your office as well. If employees are gossiping, it seems unprofessional and like an environment where patient privacy isn’t valued.
When you keep gossip to a minimum, you can actually improve morale in the office. If everyone is showing a common respect for one another, you won’t have to worry about anyone talking behind anyone’s back.
HIPAA Laws For Employees Are Important
When you’re training for HIPAA laws for employees, make sure that your employees understand the laws. They should understand both what the law states and why the law states what it does. Once they have a total understanding, compliance will be easy.
If you’re anticipating a HIPAA audit coming around the corner, check out our guide on how to prepare for it.