Health Information Management

Tip: Consider outsourcing your PHI disposal

HIM-HIPAA Insider, August 10, 2010

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Healthcare organizations need to worry about more than just the disposal of paper records. Covered entities (CE) should ensure the proper disposal of any media that contain PHI, says John C. Parmigiani, MS, BES, president of John C. Parmigiani & Associates, LLC, in Ellicott City, MD.

One way to do so? Hire someone to do it for you.
 
Organizations may want to think about hiring a third party to take care of the job, Parmigiani says. This takes the burden off you by having an outside company manage your waste disposal—picking up and disposing of records or other media containing PHI in accordance with the necessary standards. You will need a business associate agreement since the company you hire will handle PHI. The agreement should specify what the company will do to ensure the proper disposal of any PHI, Parmigiani says. If you employ an outside vendor, the company needs to ensure the security of the materials from pickup at your facility to the point of destruction. 
 
Editor’s note: This tip was adapted from an article in the August issue of Briefings on HIPAA. Subscribers have access to the full article in the August issue of the newsletter.
 



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