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Our practice has been boning up on HIPPA. I am a certified graduate of the training course our practice bought for each employee to take. It included not only federal policies, rulings and details but then added the extra laws our state enacted to take HIPPA even further.

So, here are some scary things that, if you don’t know, you should find out and consider.

  1. The fines for non-compliance are pretty big. Huge, in fact. They can go as higher than 1 million and can be added per offense. And I don’t mean 1 million demerits.
  2. A lot of computer or internet applications are not HIPPA compliant. If you transfer or store data on your computers, you need to know about this and what you need to do.
  3. Here is the one that got to me, and I acted on it fast. If you are like we are, we take a patient’s file home in our bag to work on a report over the weekend. Sounds okay, right? But if you leave that file on a subway or it gets left on a bench, here comes that 1 million fine. There is a simple solution for that besides only using electronic transferring of files and records, (which really is great, but catching up to ALL files might take us a while). The solution is a HIPPA compliant document bag that locks. That’s right. I love this one but one of my partners wants one with handles. So, what if that bag gets left and maybe it catches on fire and the papers scatter? The intent was clear. You locked it up. You were compliant in that act. Whew.

  4. Many states have enacted added laws that are more stringent than the HIPPA laws. HIPPA laws state that you must follow the stricter version your state has adopted. You go to the top of the privacy quality in your decision making.
  5. Many of you may take private patients only and may think you are safe from HIPPA. If you take referrals from physicians and communicate medical information at all, that falls under HIPPA. You also may have strict state laws you need to know about.

Keep yourself and your patient’s information safe. Become knowledgeable about your state and your particular practice how they intersect in privacy requirements.

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