Health Information Management

HIPAA Q&A: You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers!

HIM-HIPAA Insider, November 18, 2013

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Submit your HIPAA questions to Associate Editor Jaclyn Fitzgerald at and we will work with our experts to provide you with the information you need.

Q. I work in a long-term care facility and I would like to know if I am required to have business associate HIPAA agreements with our outside consultants? For example, physicians, ophthalmologists, podiatrists, psychologists, etc.

A. No, this is not a requirement. A business associate is an outside individual or company who needs access to PHI to provide a service on your organization's behalf. Physicians, podiatrists, psychologists, and other healthcare providers are not providing a service on your behalf. They are using PHI to provide patient care, and that does not make them your business associate. A true business associate would perform work on your behalf. This could include a vendor who makes follow-up calls to collect past due patient accounts.

Editor’s note: Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, vice president of health information, Baylor Scott & White Health in Temple, Texas, answered this question for HCPro’s  Briefings on HIPAA newsletter.


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