How to Become a HIPAA Compliance Officer

How to Become a HIPAA Compliance Officer

According to Shakespeare, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” In many healthcare practices, the “greatness thrust upon them” is the role of the HIPAA Compliance Officer.

The mountain of regulations and the legal and financial consequences of failing to follow the law entirely adds a significant responsibility to the person serving as a HIPAA compliance officer. 

But what if you’ve just been assigned that role? What are the responsibilities of the position, and how do you become a HIPAA Compliance Officer?

How to Become a HIPAA Compliance Officer: The Basics

The primary focus of HIPAA regulations centers around maintaining patients’ protected health information (PHI) privacy. It’s so important that the law requires each organization to appoint someone as its HIPAA Privacy Officer.

The responsibility of ensuring the organization meets the legal requirements of the law rests with this person. In some organizations, this person also fulfills the role of HIPAA Compliance Officer. In others, the HIPAA Privacy Officer is responsible for the technical details of privacy, such as data security, access controls, and physical security. At the same time, the HIPAA Compliance Officer ensures that the complete requirements of the law are satisfied.

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How to Become a HIPAA Compliance Officer: The Traditional Route

It takes time to become well-versed as a Compliance Officer. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has an example of a “HIPAA Privacy Officer” job description on its website. 

Here are some of the responsibilities and requirements listed for the position:

  • Develops and provides training on health information privacy requirements and procedures.
  • Evaluates the organization’s existing policies and procedures for HIPAA compliance by performing HIPAA risk assessments.
  • Develops and assists with the implementation of new and updated policies and procedures.
  • Maintains policies and procedures related to PHI access and use; ensures strict adherence by all staff with access to PHI.
  • Maintains required records and supporting documentation, including authorization forms, notices, and plan documents.
  • Communicates with individuals regarding their right to inspect, amend, and restrict access to their PHI.
  • Serves as the internal subject matter expert on HIPAA, maintaining current knowledge of HIPAA laws and regulations and any other applicable federal and state privacy laws or regulations.
  • Reports on changes in applicable laws and regulations and provide training as needed.

A HIPAA Compliance Officer must fulfill all of these responsibilities at a minimum. Developing this level of knowledge and understanding generally requires years of experience. What do you do if it suddenly becomes YOUR job?

How to Become a HIPAA Compliance Officer: The Express Route

Compliancy Group’s automated HIPAA Compliance Software “The Guard™” is the best solution. Within the web-based software are all the tools you need to fulfill all of the responsibilities and requirements of the HIPAA law. Compliance Officers and attorney