Behavioral Health

Effective Tips to Ensure Your Medical Billing Remains HIPAA Compliant

By Dr. Leo P. Langlois on May, 14 2021

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Dr. Leo P. Langlois

Dr. Leo P. Langlois is an extensively experienced board-certified physician and surgeon, graduated from Brown University medical school, completing his residency training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and fellowship training at University of California Davis with over 27 years of experience treating chronic disabling conditions and chronic intractable pain who has run a successful private practice in Bakersfield, California since 2003.

In the present times, security is one of the major concerns for every industry.
However, if you’re someone working in the healthcare sector, security becomes more important given that data breaches are at an all time high. There’s no dearth of stories about hefty penalties being thrust upon even well-established industry leaders—often due to completely avoidable violations.
To that end, adhering to the rules and regulations laid down in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is extremely vital for carrying out all operations in a healthcare facility. 
As a healthcare provider, you should regard HIPAA as your data security bible, as HIPAA governs every single facet of healthcare delivery. 
That said, view the insight below to help keep your healthcare practice’s HIPAA-approved. 

Educate Your Staff Proactively on Compliance Protocols

Since medical billing usually revolves around handling patients’ personal information (including their insurance details, electronic health records, and credit card numbers), those responsible for carrying out the billing process are legally required to safeguard this information.
Thus, it’s of critical importance for healthcare providers to educate staff on how to always maintain compliance. It doesn’t matter how big or small your practice is, every employee should be well-versed in the basics of compliance, as well as the details related to their role. 
Now, for that to happen, your staff requires some form of formal HIPAA compliance training. What’s important to note here, is that furnishing such training is not a matter of choice for providers; it is rather a legal obligation that must be fulfilled and formally documented.
You can start by establishing what type of information needs to be protected and then segregate it based on priority.
Each member on your staff needs to know what information cannot be disclosed or shared with any other individual, or on any other platform (such as third-party websites or social media channels). 
Furthermore, authorized individuals who have access to sensitive patient information need to understand it is their liability to protect said data. If not, these individuals put the entire organization at risk Lastly, it is equally important to trust your staff. Most employees do not want to disclose patient information in an illicit manner; disclosure occurs unwantedly in most cases. This is where regular training can keep employee HIPAA awareness sharp and help mitigate risks.

Employ Adequate Measures to Keep All Sensitive Data in Your Healthcare Facility Secure

In the past decade alone, there have been approximately 3,054 breaches in the healthcare space that involved 500 or more records. These breaches have resulted in losses, thefts, impermissible disclosures, and unwanted exposures of nearly 230,954,151 health records, which roughly equates to 70% of the total population of the United States. 
Now, imagine the magnitude of this problem!
Once the confidentiality of patient data gets compromised, the negative ripple effect generated can be felt across the entire facility. Clients end up losing trust in you and profitability goes for a complete toss.
Many providers house their data on dedicated, HIPAA-compliant cloud servers; this type of data storage ensures maximum security while preserving the ability for authorized individuals to access necessary data virtually anytime, anywhere. And even if a breach occurs, you’ll easily be able to restore all your data back to another system.
All in all, compliance is a multi-faceted aspect of healthcare delivery. 

The Residential Behavioral Health Facility’s Guide to Billing

Managing a residential behavioral health facility is complicated enough. Add in the pressure of navigating authorizations, pursuing payment collections, and more, and it’s definitely too much for one person to handle.For more on what partnering with a team of revenue cycle experts might look like, check out this ultimate guide to behavioral healthcare billing.

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