HIPAA California: How to Comply with California HIPAA Laws

California HIPAA Laws

While healthcare organizations across the country need to comply with the federal HIPAA law, those that operate in California must also comply with the CCPA. California HIPAA laws – or CCPA and HIPAA – intersect in certain ways, but CCPA also imposes some stricter provisions that are important to be aware of.

California HIPAA Laws

California HIPAA laws consist of both the federal HIPAA law and California state privacy law CCPA. Healthcare entities that create, receive, maintain, or transmit the information of California residents must comply with HIPAA as well as the California state privacy law.

Complying with HIPAA

To meet the requirements of the HIPAA regulations, healthcare organizations (healthcare providers, healthcare vendors, and MSPs) must implement a HIPAA compliance program.

Security Risk Assessments, Gap Identification, and Remediation

To be HIPAA compliant, it is crucial to identify where your deficiencies lie. To do so, healthcare organizations must conduct six self-audits annually. These self-audits uncover weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your security practices. To ensure that your organization meets HIPAA safeguard requirements, you must create remediation plans. Remediation plans list your identified deficiencies and how you plan to address them, including actions and a timeline.

HIPAA Policies and Procedures

To ensure that you meet HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification requirements, you must implement written policies and procedures. These policies and procedures must be customized for your practice’s specific needs, applying directly to how your business operates. To account for any changes in your business practices, you must review your policies and procedures annually and make amendments where appropriate.

Employee HIPAA Training

To make sure that your employees are aware of their responsibilities regarding the HIPAA rules, they must be trained annually. This training must cover HIPAA basics, an overview of your organization’s policies and procedures, and cybersecurity best practices.

Business Associate Agreements

Business associate agreements must be signed with each of your business associate vendors. HIPAA defines a business associate as any entity that performs a service for your practice that gives them the potential to access PHI. Common examples of business associates include electronic health records platforms, email service providers, online appointment scheduling software, and cloud storage providers. 

You cannot use any vendor and be HIPAA compliant. They need to be willing and able to sign a business associate agreement (BAA). A BAA is a legal contract that requires each signing party to be HIPAA compliant and be responsible for maintaining their compliance. When a vendor doesn’t sign a BAA, they cannot be used for business associate services.

Incident Management

To comply with the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, you must have a system to detect, respond to, and report breaches. Employees must also have the means to report incidents anonymously and be aware of what to do if they suspect a breach has occurred.

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CCPA and HIPAA

HIPAA and CCPA directly interact. The CCPA “carves out,” or excludes, “HIPAA covered entities” and “business associates” from its requirements; the CCPA does not apply to protected health information (PHI), as that term is defined under HIPAA. 

Despite these carve outs, personal information (as that term is defined u