In 2012, the federal government has begun the process of auditing health care providers, including dental practices. In May 2016, they began the second phase of the auditing process.
These HIPAA audits have the purpose of ensuring the fact that the providers are complying with healthcare information and patient privacy laws.
The penalties for not complying with the law can be as high as tens of thousands of dollars for dentists.
That being said, it’s crucial for you to be HIPAA complaint in order to protect your business. In this article, we will talk about 5 facts you should know about HIPAA audits and what they mean for your dental practice.
1. HIPAA Compliance Requires Professional Help
Becoming HIPAA compliance is not something which can be achieved overnight.
In fact, you should ask for a professional’s help. Hiring an IT firm to help with the job is the ideal thing to do in this situation, especially if it’s one which has experience with compliance regulations in dental practices.
A professional team will be able to identify the required steps, so that your patients’ security will be protected. At the same time, they will help your practice avoid any external or internal threats.
2. Data Breaches Have to Be Taken Seriously
In case a data breach is going to affect your business, it’s mandatory for you to notify your patients, via the US Mail or email.
The data breach notification rule states that health care providers need to notify the individuals in case their personal information has been compromised.
Doing otherwise can result in hurting your business’s reputation and decreasing your credibility as a dental provider.
3. Any Dental Practice Is Vulnerable to Security Threats
Data breaches can potentially affect any dental provider, at any given point, so HIPAA audits are a must to ensure your business is protected.
Being HIPAA compliant is the first step towards making sure your practice will not be exposed to security threats.
Whether you’re running a small practice or a larger one, you need to take data security very seriously and do everything you can to protect personal information.
4. Noncompliance Leads to Severe Consequences for Dental Practices
If your business fails to pass the HIPAA audit, then you will face some serious consequences.
The penalties are categorized based on the level of negligence and can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation. The maximum penalty can get up to $1.5 million per year.
All these penalties will impact your business’s profitability and can even result in bankruptcy.
Moreover, some violations can carry criminal charges and the person found guilty can do jail time for willful neglect.
5. Dental Practices Should Have Compliance Documentation Ready by the Time They’re Audited
If you receive communication from the Office for Civil Rights that your practice will be audited, then you’ll have only a few days or, in best case scenario, a few weeks, during which you will have to prepare your documentation which proves you’re HIPAA compliant.
IT firms can help you prepare your HIPAA documentation, so we advise you to start looking for one right away. That way, you will not be caught by surprise when you will actually need to present your documents.
Keep Your Dental Practice Safe
Being HIPAA compliant is a must nowadays for healthcare providers.
If you haven’t made this step yet, then we advise you to do something about it. After all, you don’t want to pay penalties when this can be fixed with the help of the LEAP Managed IT professional team.
Are you in need of our assistance? Then don’t hesitate to contact us or call our team directly at 1-800-649-9446.