Understanding HIPAA and Protecting Your Business

In 1996, the U.S. government enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Since then, all entities covered by HIPAA—including the majority of healthcare services—must maintain HIPAA compliance in order to continue operating. If you run a HIPAA-covered business, you need to ensure you fully understand this law.

What Does HIPAA Cover?

The main goal of HIPAA is to maintain security and confidentiality of Protected Health Information (PHI). PHI is information that can be used to identify an individual, and includes things like the person’s name, date of birth, phone number and medical record number. Under HIPAA, covered business must protect this sensitive information, and can be held liable if it is leaked or falls into the wrong hands.

How Can I Protect Myself?

It is important to both strive to maintain HIPAA compliance and ensure that your business is protected in case of an error or data leak. Many professional liability policies can be designed to cover your business is the event of such an incident. These policies can help cover expenses related to court proceedings, fines, and other events resulting from a HIPAA violation.

HIPAA is designed to protect individuals from having their private health information used or distributed insecurely. While all businesses that work with PHI should strive to maintain HIPAA compliance, it is also important to have protection in case a mistake or breach occurs.