By | Daria Lamital
HIPPA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal law, enacted in 1996, that guarantees the safeguard of patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI). The law obliges even a small physician’s office to provide HIPAA training to members of their workforce.
If anything, HIPAA training requirements boils down to ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of patients’ healthcare data, improving data security. The law requires every Covered Entity (CE) and its Business Associates (BA) to provide HIPAA training to all its employees that have access to PHI, including doctors, nurses, hospital record keepers, and so on.
What Topics Are Covered in HIPAA Training
The HIPAA training sessions are essential “security awareness and training” programs that should be designed around what an employee should know to perform their job efficiently. Below are the most important topics to which a covered entity should direct its training programs:
- What exactly is HIPAA and who it applies to?
- The HIPAA Privacy Rule and Security Rule
- Outline the entity’s policies and procedures about ensuring HIPAA compliance
- Why confidentiality of a patient’s information is important?
- How to Prevent anticipated or impermissible disclosure of patients’ medical records?
- How to identify PHI, report its breach, and ensure the integrity of the e-PHI they create or maintain?
- What are the rules on PHI disclosure?
- What is the patient’s right to access?
- Legal consequences of a patient’s healthcare data breach for the firm and employees
- Civil and criminal penalties for violating HIPAA rules
- And more depending on the nature and scope of your entity.
When and How Often HIPAA Training is Required
HIPAA rules don’t specify in clear terms when or how often HIPAA compliance training is required. However, the Privacy rule states that a covered entity should provide necessary HIPAA training to each member of the workforce “within a reasonable period” of time after they join the Entity. That is, the training session should occur within the first few days, not weeks or months later.
Similarly, the HIPAA security rule obliges entities to hold “periodic” training sessions for the employees. Most organizations arrange annual training sessions to help refresh and reinforce the workers’ HIPAA compliance knowledge and commitment. The entity is better off providing frequent shorter training sessions throughout the year to minimize the chances of accidental HIPAA violations.
Failure to comply with any aspect of HIPAA standards and provisions results in heavy fines ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 and a jail term is likely as well for a criminal violation.
How Long are HIPAA Training Sessions
The duration of HIPAA training sessions is less important compared to its efficiency. It’s another area where the guidelines are somewhat “flexible.” The training should be “strong enough” to make sure the employees understand all the crucial aspects of HIPAA.
The companies should hold training sessions that are neither too short to miss important points nor too long that they deviate the attention of the audience. Usually, covered entities prefer to hold two separate 30-40 minute sessions, one on privacy rules and the other on security rules.