Health Information Management

Prepare for the HIPAA final rule by focusing on BA relationships

HIM-HIPAA Insider, September 14, 2010

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Focus on working relationships with business associates (BA). Sometimes covered entities sign contracts with their BAs and their interaction ends there.

“You have agreements with people who have never even met each other,” says Phyllis A. Patrick, MBA, FACHE, CHC, cofounder and managing director of AP Health Care Compliance Group, which has offices in Pittsburgh and Purchase, NY.
 
CEs need to know they can count on their BAs if a security breach occurs, she says. That’s when you want to pick up the phone to communicate with your BA and know you can rely on people there. There must be a good working relationship between the BA, the department head who works most closely with that BA, and the HIPAA privacy and security officer.
 
This is especially true for BAs who work with a large quantity of PHI. This can include vendors involved in IT, electronic data interchange, third-party billing, health plans, and pharmacy benefits.
 
Editor’s note: This tip was adapted from an article in the September issue of Briefings on HIPAA. Subscribers have access to the full article in their newsletter.



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