HIPAA and The Right of Access Initiative
With so many different regulations governing healthcare providers, it’s an arduous task to do proper healthcare policy management while ensuring that patients get the level of care they deserve.
However, with recent developments like the Right of Access Initiative, it’s essential to pay special attention to healthcare regulations, such as HIPAA. Many patients understand that they have a right to access their personal medical information (PMI), but your organization must know what procedures they need to follow if they don’t want to fall afoul of the HIPAA regulations.
Here’s what you should keep in mind when it comes to HIPPA and the Right of Access Initiative.
What Is HIPPA?
If you’re new to the healthcare industry or have been at it so long that regulations have become more or less a second language for you, then you might want to refresh your memory on what HIPPA involves.
HIPAA is one of those regulations that are at the core of the healthcare industry. Compliance with HIPAA is one of those things that are necessary and largely intuitive but can sometimes get overlooked because of how fundamental it is.
Broadly speaking, HIPAA is a set of regulations that establish that a patient is entitled to access their PMI and lays out the rules for how institutions are supposed to provide that information to their patients.
What Does HIPPA Say About Patient Access?
HIPPA regulations do a few things that influence the way patients are allowed to access their information:
- It limits the cost to the patient.
- It establishes a timeframe in which requests must be fulfilled.
- It allows institutions to set procedures for how those requests are submitted.
While the law does a lot more than these three basic things, this list is some of the most common areas where institutions can fall short because it’s easy for the wrong amount to be billed or too much time to pass.
One area in particular where healthcare institutions need to be particularly aware is the process they establish to process patient requests for PMI. While it may be acceptable to require requests to be submitted in writing, it’s unacceptable for an institution to mandate a request process that creates barriers to accessing the information.
What Role Does the Right of Access Initiative Play?
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is often responsible for ensuring that law enforcement provides equal protection for everyone under current regulations. Recently, they have started to pay closer attention to institutions’ adherence to HIPAA regulations, which has resulted in more settlements against organizations that violate HIPPA.
With this new initiative, healthcare organizations must pay close attention to how they process requests for PMI access since falling afoul of HIPAA can result in hefty penalties.
To find out more about HIPPA and the Right of Access Initiative, or get a quote for medical practice software solutions, call the MedTrainer team today!