Violations are subject to enforcement that can include fines up to $50,000 per day and more, and years-long corrective action plans that can cost many times the financial settlement with HHS. Enforcement is no longer in the slap-on-the-wrist days; violations do bring significant penalties today.

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Description

Patient rights under HIPAA have been expanded to include several new rights of access, and guidance has recently been issued on access of records, and been expanded more than once since its publication. The changes to rules having to do with patient access of records will need to be reflected in every health care-related organization’s policies and procedures. The guidance provides clear and detailed information on how to provide access, what can be charged for in fees, and what the individual’s rights are when it comes to access of information.

HIPAA now provides for individual rights to receive electronic copies of records held electronically. Patients also now have new rights under HIPAA and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) to directly access test results from the laboratories creating the data. Many labs that did not deal directly with patients before will now have to create patient-facing operations, and how they communicate sensitive results to patients will need to be considered. These changes must be respected by entities subject to the HIPAA rules through modifications to policies and notices, and training of staff to reflect the new requirements.

In addition, there are new explanations from HHS about how to treat access to mental health information and information pertaining to minors, including giving due consideration to patient requests and safety issues of the patient and others.

Perhaps most importantly, the HIPAA Audits of 2016 focused on the proper patient access to information as a significant compliance problem, and the upcoming HIPAA Audit program by HHS is expected to include reviews of patient access polices and practices. It is expected that HHS will be focusing on current access issues, having to do with the costs to individuals for access of records and the proper handling of denials of access.

All HIPAA-covered providers need to review their HIPAA compliance, policies, and procedures to see if they are prepared to be in full compliance and meet the requirements of the changes in the rules. Compliance is required and violations for willful neglect of the rules begin at $10,000.

Description of the topic

Covered entities, and particularly those that use electronic health records (EHRs), will need to meet the new access and disclosure rules and guidance. And if you are required to have a HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices, you need to update that to show all the new rights that patients have.

The 2016 guidance from the HHS Office of Civil Rights will be explained, including the additional updates to the guidance, so that access can be provided according to the rules. Issues on provision and denial of access, as well as fees and other topics, will be discussed.

Medical laboratories are now required to provide individual access to test records, and will need to have processes to authenticate those who request information and the means to ensure that the correct results are provided to authenticated individuals.

HHS has issued guidance on issues relating to access of mental health records and the records of minors, clarifying what information may be provided or not, depending on the information and other circumstances. The guidance also includes information on dealing with law enforcement requests for information on alleged violators of the law. This guidance will be reviewed.

The new regulations will be reviewed and their effects on usual practices will be discussed, as will what policies need to be changed and how. We will show what policies and evidence you may need to produce if you are audited by the HHS Office of Civil Rights, which has already indicated that compliance with the rules on patient access of records is a significant problem that has been a focus of the 2016 HIPAA Audits and is likely to continue as a compliance focus, since HHS has stated that patient access of information is essential to improving the health of the nation. We will discuss what is necessary to avoid penalties and make sound compliance decisions.

This Webinar will help health information professionals understand what they have to do, and when, and what to keep in mind as they move forward, in order to be in compliance with the new regulations and guidance. It will provide a comprehensive look at the changes in the rules and guidance on access and prepare attendees for the process of incorporating the changes and guidance into how they do business in their facilities.

Areas Covered in the Session

• Learn about the new access rights under HIPAA and CLIA regulations.
• Learn about the extensive new guidance from the HHS Office of Civil Rights on access of PHI.
• Learn about the guidance from HHS regarding access of mental health information and minors’ information.
• Find out what the regulations call for and what processes you must have in place for the proper approval and denial of access as appropriate.
• Learn about the required process for the review of certain denials of access.
• Learn how e-mail and texting should be handled, what can go wrong, and what can result when it does.
• Find out about HIPAA requirements for access and patient preferences, as well as the requirements to protect PHI.
• Learn about the training and education that must take place to ensure your staff handles access requests properly.
• Learn about how the HIPAA audit and enforcement activities are now being increased and what you need to do to survive a HIPAA audit.

Who Should Attend

• Compliance Director
• CEO
• CFO
• Privacy Officer
• Security Officer
• Information Systems Manager
• HIPAA Officer
• Chief Information Officer
• Health Information Manager
• Healthcare Counsel/lawyer
• Office Manager
• Contracts Manager

MEET THE PRESENTER

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 eight 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.