What is HIPAA for EMS?

What is HIPAA for EMS?

HIPAA for EMS, or HIPAA for Emergency Medical Services, applies in the same ways in which HIPAA applies to covered entities. This is because EMS providers are involved in the treatment of patients, making EMS a covered entity. More details regarding HIPAA for EMS is discussed below.

HIPAA for EMS: Implementing an Effective Compliance Program

To ensure compliance with HIPAA, it is important to implement an effective HIPAA compliance program. There are six major components of a HIPAA compliance program as follows.

Self-audits.

As a HIPAA covered entity, an essential component of HIPAA for EMS requires you to conduct annual self-audits. The purpose of conducting self-audits is to assess your administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. These safeguards are required by HIPAA to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of patient protected health information.

Gap Identification and Remediation.

Completing self-audits identifies gaps in your organization’s safeguards. To be HIPAA compliant, you must address your gaps with remediation plans. To create remediation plans, consult your self-audits to determine where your safeguards are lacking, and create a plan, with a timeline, for how you will address your gaps.

Policies and Procedures.

Policies and procedures create a framework for how your organization will comply with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules. Having clear written policies and procedures allows employees to understand the proper uses and disclosures of PHI, how to protect PHI, and what to do if they discover a breach.

Employee Training.

To ensure that employees understand their obligations to HIPAA, it is essential to conduct annual training. Employees must be trained on HIPAA basics, your organization’s policies and procedures, the proper use of social media, and cybersecurity best practices.

Do You Need Help With Employee Training?

Employee training can mean all the difference in your HIPAA compliance. Employees who are not properly trained are more likely to cause an insider breach. This is why Compliancy Group has created engaging employee training through the use of short animated videos, and quizzes that test employee knowledge. Throughout the training employees legally attest that they have read and understood the training material, instilling a culture of compliance within your organization.

Find out more about our HIPAA employee training!

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Business Associate Management.

Business associates are organizations that create, receive, transmit, store, or maintain PHI on your behalf. To ensure that your business associates adequately protect the PHI you share with them, you must vet them by sending them a vendor questionnaire. Vendor questionnaires are essentially self-audits that you send to your business associates to assess their safeguards. Business associate management also requires you to have signed business associate agreements with your business associates before you share PHI with them. Business associate agreements are legal documents that dictate the safeguards your business associates must have in place, and require them to be HIPAA compliant.

Incident Reporting and Response.

Part of HIPAA for EMS is reporting breaches, should you experience one. All breaches that affect PHI must be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and affected patients. Breaches affecting 500 or more patients must also be reported to the media.

HIPAA for EMS: Other Considerations

Other best practices to ensure HIPAA for EMS compliance include:

Don’t share login credentials or passwords

Don’t leave devices or documents containing PHI unattended

Don’t text PHI

Don’t dispose of PHI with regular trash

Don’t access patient records without a specific purpose

Don’t take medical records with you when you leave your job

Don’t access your own medical records

Don’t share PHI on social media

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Compliancy Group’s compliance guides walk clients through every step of compliance. We provide live support through virtual meetings, and verification and validation of your efforts. Upon completion of our implementation process, your Compliance Coach™ will review your compliance program to verify and validate that you have everything you need, issuing you our Seal of Compliance™. Working with Compliancy Group gives you confidence and peace of mind in your compliance!

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