The ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) recently announced an additional $12 million in funding for 48 RECs (Regional Extension Centers) to help rural hospitals transition to EHRs (electronic health records). The technical support offered to implement and deploy EHR systems in these facilities does not fully address the compromised privacy of PHI (protected health information). The facilitation of fully functional EHRs can have dire consequences for healthcare providers, payers and related Business Associates (BAs) who do not have a solid grasp of the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Privacy Rule.The passage of HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) in February 2010, a crucial addendum to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), introduced more than a dozen new Privacy Rules. In addition, Business Associates previously considered a mere adjunct of the Covered Entity (CE), are now statutorily obligated to meet all HIPAA Privacy requirements. Seasoned compliance professionals agree most privacy breaches result from within the organization. These breaches may very well be unintentional by untrained employees.Prevention of breaches and subsequent fines is most effectively achieved through HIPAA training that results in certification (pending passing an exam) as a Certified HIPAA Privacy Expert. It has benefited individuals in the following job roles (this list is not exclusive):
HIPAA Privacy Compliance Officers of Covered Entities & Business Associates
Privacy Compliance Team members of Covered Entities & Business Associates
Lawyers involved in healthcare
Office managers for clinics
Pharmaceutical company executives
if you are seeking employment in the healthcare field, the course’s resulting certification (pending passing an exam), validates your knowledge of HIPAA Privacy and the HITECH Act. Healthcare entities seek individuals with HIPAA knowledge and though the certification alone will not secure a job, it is an invaluable marketing tool that will capture a prospective employer’s attention and may open an otherwise closed door.It enables you to implement appropriate policies and procedures that comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule and gives you the tools to educate all staff handling protected health information (PHI). In addition, this course provides a comprehensive overview of the HIPAA Security Rule, a necessity as EHRs are more prevalent in healthcare organizations.For example, the course addresses how HIPAA relates to HIEs (Health Information Exchanges) and the steps necessary for HIPAA Privacy and Security compliance. If you are a Business Associate, provide training to your staff to become Certified Experts to prove to a Covered Entity that HIPAA compliance is a priority for you.HIPAA training places you in the driver’s seat on the road to healthcare compliance and provides valuable resources to use well after course completion.