HIPAA and your Healthcare Practice’s accounting, are you compliant?

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HIPAA and your Healthcare Practice’s accounting, are you compliant?

HIPAA and your Healthcare Practice’s accounting, are you compliant?

HIPAA and your Healthcare Practice’s accounting, are you compliant?

As our Healthcare clients will know, HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. An act which all Medical Professionals are required by law to practice to ensure the privacy of their patients and their information.

But this procedure takes commitment and good books to stay on top of all the requirements and certifications that HIPAA will require of your businesses. Here at Interactive Accountants, we are dedicated to helping our clients keep track of their HIPAA requirements, when it comes to accounting and taxes. From keeping track of your businesses privacy standards and bookkeeping, to helping organize some very detailed forms, we have helped many clients.

KEEP YOUR BOOKS COMPLIANT

While medical professionals are well aware of HIPAA and its requirements, it's easy to make a mistake without knowing it. Many online tax services do not take the time to double check that not only are your books in order numerically, but if they are compliant with HIPAA standards. Back in 2019 the US Department of Health and Human Services changed the rules regarding violations and the amount of violations a profession is allowed to make.

The categories being 1, lack of knowledge 2, reasonable cause 3, willful neglect that has been corrected and 4, willful neglect that has not been corrected. The amount of money allowed to be violated has also changed, as it used to be around 1.5 million dollars for all four categories, but now each category has their own limit and set amount of fines attached. These penalties can range from 100 to 50,000 US dollars. A fine that many businesses cannot take when it is placed upon the individual and not through the business as a whole. Keeping your books compliant and accurate can make or break your business, and even more so when dealing with insurance companies and the level of standards that medical practices are held to. Remember to keep detailed event records and consult with your Interactive Accountants team for further assistance in keeping all of your accounting and tax records up to code.

STAY AHEAD

Some of the most important decisions that you will make involve keeping up with the demands of the bookkeeping and accounting behind your HIPAA compliance. These decisions will impact the amount of time, frustration, and possible mistakes made. In the world of COVID it is easy to forget that healthcare providers are not only evolving to keep up with the changes the virus brings, but also the changes in technology and online record keeping we have seen as a result.

Most medical professions have become more reliant on digital solutions to their problems, and while it is great to see the advancement of digital record keeping and services like Telehealth, it is important to stay up to date with what those services are doing and what information they know. The founding principle of HIPAA is patient security, and in the digital world, it is unfortunately easier to put information in the wrong place. As mistakes go, putting confidential information in a server that does not require credentials to get into is one of the biggest mistakes we are currently seeing out there.

IMPLEMENT A PLAN

The best way to stay on top of your HIPAA concerns is to implement a plan and mode of operation. Here at Interactive Accountants, we can help you do just that:

  1. The first of many steps to create a cohesive plan is to know where all your data currently is. HIPAA compliance starts with data mapping, whether your data is stored on a private server, a premade information system designed for your field, or even paper records, knowing where all the sensitive information is located, is the only first step you should be making.
  2. The second step that Interactive Accountants can help you with is organizing your data and encrypting it, from patient information to employee benefits and payroll. Making sure that all of your data is secure and only accessible to those who need it is essential to avoiding violations.
  3. A third trick that we can help you with is creating back loops to make identification of patients more difficult. This step may sound counterintuitive, but it helps make information all the more secure, from outside threats and internal ones. Creating a system that still has all of a patient's information, but stored in different areas and servers is helpful to stay compliant. The goal for this step is to make any one person's data completely accessible by a single attempt.

Making sure your patients' protected health information (“PHI”) and their personal identifiable information (“PII”), is safe and secure is the key goal of creating such plans and systems of your practice’s operation. Just like you want to keep your financial books in order, your company's medical books are just as important.

THE NEXT STEP

Each medical office is different and the needs of each will differ as well. From the many branches of medical, dental, and mental services, the requirements of HIPAA are still there. We have many more ideas and services that can help you and your business thrive under HIPAA guidelines. Do not waste your effort and money using an automated system that will more than likely miss something important. Here at Interactive Accountants, helping businesses grow and continue to succeed financially and compliently is our number one goal. We are here to help! If you're still not convinced yet to give us a call, feel free to look at our other blogs regarding the help we offer medical services and businesses.

If you are a professional in any of the fields that HIPAA applies to, you will need a CPA firm that understands what your business does, and what it needs. So give us a call or schedule a free consultation with our owner Matthew Shiebler, CPA. He’s been practicing accounting for over 25 years now and is a business owner, just like you!