In addition to contracted obligations, HIPAA Business Associates are now covered directly under the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s use and disclosure limitations, the Security Rule’s safeguard provisions, and the Breach Notification Rule’s notification requirements. HIPAA Business Associates are responsible for their own compliance with the regulations, and may be held directly liable for any violations of the regulations.
HIPAA Business Associates include any business that creates, receives, maintains, or transmits any Protected Health Information on behalf of a HIPAA Covered Entity or Business Associate. Even sub-contractors of Business Associates are also treated as business associates, and they may not even be aware they have become HIPAA Business Associates.
In addition, new guidance has outlined the compliance liabilities for HIPAA Business Associates, while massive security breaches by HIPAA Business Associates grab headlines every day.Business Associate Agreements are not to be entered into lightly.The requirements have a direct impact on what needs to be put into the business associate agreements you establish. In addition, Business Associates may need to provide for their covered entity clients rights of individuals to receive electronic copies of information held electronically, ask for certain restrictions on disclosures, and other capabilities that covered entities must have in place, depending on what is called for in the agreement.
All kinds of covered entities, and now, business associates of covered entities as well, need to review their HIPAA compliance, policies, and procedures to see if they are prepared to meet the challenges of compliance today. In addition, Business Associates have emerged as a leading source of health information breaches, and we will discuss what covered entities should do to ensure good practices by their Business Associates in order to avoid the considerable expense of breaches.
In this practical webinar, you will learn about the requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to properly manage relationships with those entities hired to work on behalf of a HIPAA Covered Entity: HIPAA Business Associates. Business Associates take on certain liabilities and compliance obligations, but some remain with the hiring entity. The hiring entity needs to evaluate the risks involved with using a Business Associate, and establish the appropriate rules of operation for managing HIPAA Protected Health Information.The US Department of Health and Human Services and state attorneys general are now vigorously enforcing the rules involving HIPAA Business Associates, and entities that do not manage the relationship properly can pay multi-million-dollar penalties in enforcement actions.
Jim Sheldon-Dean is the founder and director of compliance services at Lewis Creek Systems, LLC, a Vermont-based consulting firm founded in 1982, providing information privacy and security regulatory compliance services to a wide variety of health care entities. He is a frequent speaker regarding HIPAA, including speaking engagements at numerous regional and national healthcare association conferences and conventions and the annual NIST/OCR HIPAA Security Conference. Sheldon-Dean has more than 16 years of experience specializing in HIPAA compliance, more than 34 years of experience in policy analysis and implementation, business process analysis, information systems and software development, and 8 years of experience doing hands-on medical work as a Vermont certified volunteer emergency medical technician. Sheldon-Dean received his B.S. degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Vermont and his master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.