Cintas Issues 10 Tips to Help Comply with the HIPAA Omnibus Rule
Compliance deadline for new rule occurred on September 23
CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- With a past-due compliance deadline of September 23, many organizations are finding themselves scrambling to ensure compliance and avoid penalties. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Omnibus Rule makes business associates accountable for any misuse or failure to safeguard protected health information (PHI) and increases liability for noncompliance. Cintas Corporation (NAS: CTAS) today released 10 tips to ensure healthcare practices remain compliant under the new rule.
"With penalties under the Omnibus Rule reaching up to $1.5 million per violation, it is crucial for organizations to put in place proper internal controls to ensure they remain HIPAA compliant," said Karen Carnahan, President and COO, Cintas Document Management. "Protecting confidential patient information is critical to a healthcare institution's success. In addition to HIPAA fines, healthcare providers risk long-term damage to their reputation and brand."
To help achieve compliance under the Omnibus Rule, Cintas offers the following 10 tips:
1. Retrain employees. It is important to retrain employees on the updated policies and procedures addressing privacy, security and PHI breaches as soon as possible.
2. Inventory vendors. The revised definition of "business associate" now includes a business associate's subcontractors that create, receive, maintain, or transmit PHI.Review all relevant vendor relationships to determine if they are considered business associates under the Omnibus Rule.
3. Update agreements. The Omnibus Rule modifies the content requirements of business associate agreements. As a result, covered entities and business associates will need to revise existing business associate agreements. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has posted a sample version of a revised business associate agreement on its website.
4. Update general privacy policies and procedures. Review and revise internal policies and procedures, including HIPAA forms, to ensure that they reflect the changes made to the HIPAA Privacy Rules. The revisions should reflect changes to the definition of PHI and to the rules governing patient access to records, disclosures to third parties, research, marketing, fundraising and the sale of PHI, notifications to persons involved in a patient's care and other rules governing decedents and immunizations.
5. Update breach policies and procedures. Ensure policies and procedures are in place that allow you to determine if a breach occurred and if notice is required.
6. Determine if notice is required for a breach. Under the Omnibus Rule, if there is a breach, it is presumed that the covered entity or business associate must give notice unless they can demonstrate that there is a low probability PHI has been compromised, or unless a regulatory exception applies. Consider the following factors when determining the probability that PHI has been compromised:
a. The nature and extent of the PHI involved, including the types of identifying information involved and whether the PHI is sensitive in nature
b. The characteristics of the unauthorized recipient of the PHI
c. Whether the PHI was actually acquired or viewed
d. The extent to which the risk to the PHI has been mitigated after the unauthorized disclosure
e. Any other relevant factors
7. Review breach-notification procedures. Make sure that required breach notifications are provided to the appropriate parties by the covered entity (or the covered entity's business associate, if applicable) in a timely manner.
8. Encrypt or destroy PHI. The Omnibus Rule provides only two methods for securing PHI: encryption and destruction. The breach notification requirements only apply to breaches of "unsecured" PHI or information that is not secured by technology or methodology that renders the PHI unreadable, unusable or indecipherable to unauthorized individuals.
9. Review your Security Rule gap analysis. Now is the ideal time to review your HIPAA Security Rule gap analysis to ensure that it considers the changes made by the Omnibus Rule.
10. Revise and redistribute privacy practices. Be sure to update your HIPAA privacy notices to reflect the changes made by the Omnibus Rule.
To read the Final Rule in its entirety, visit www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-01-25/pdf/2013-01073.pdf.
For more information about Cintas Document Management services, please visit www.cintas.com/documentmanagement.
About Cintas Corporation:
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than 1 million businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
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