If you work anywhere in the realm of healthcare, you’re likely very familiar with HIPAA and the compliance required within the industry. In this blog post, we wanted to cover what HIPAA is, why it is so important within the behavioral health space, and what steps are needed to ensure compliance.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996. The HIPAA Privacy Regulations require healthcare providers and organizations, as well as their business associates to follow procedures that protect health information and ensure the confidentiality of patients. This applies to all transferring, receiving, handling, or sharing of protected health information (PHI).
What is PHI?
Protected Health Information is considered to be any personally identifiable information as it pertains to the past, present, or future health status of an individual. This covers any health information that is created, collected, transmitted, or maintained by a healthcare organization. Examples of protected health information can include diagnosis, prescriptions, treatment information, and medical test results. This also includes personal information of the patient including their name, social security number, date of birth, emergency contact, phone numbers, and email addresses. All of this information needs to be protected and kept secure to ensure that a healthcare organization can be HIPAA compliant.
Why is HIPAA So Important for Behavioral Health?
Keeping privacy protected in healthcare is always important however with behavioral health-related issues it becomes even more important. Unfortunately, there are still so many stigmas associated with mental health. Many people still believe addiction to be a moral failing and so many still don’t see the validity of mental health conditions. There are ramifications that can come with someone’s treatment being discovered including loss of job, reputation, and relationship issues. Because of these reasons, behavioral health patient information must be protected.
Precautions To Ensure HIPAA Compliance
During the billing process, patient information including diagnosis codes, medications, clinical notes, and other information must be shared from facility to biller, and then to the insurance provider in order for claims to be processed and paid. This means it is essential that the billing company is HIPAA Compliant. All emails, communications, and transfers of information need to be done securely and with compliance in mind.
HIPAA and Telehealth
In the age of COVID-19, more than ever, people still need treatment for mental health and substance abuse-related issues. This has driven many providers to make the switch from in-person treatment to telehealth. This comes with concerns as providers must take extra precautions in order to ensure that HIPAA guidelines are still being met. Luckily there are many HIPAA Compliant platforms and services available including video conference and messaging applications.
CA Billing takes HIPAA compliance very seriously. Each employee, no matter what their department is certified in HIPAA compliance. We take great care to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of each patient’s claim that comes through our office.
Choose a Behavioral Health Billing Agency You Can Trust
Healthcare providers must ensure they are in compliance with HIPAA laws and that means they must choose their business associates carefully. When you choose us for your behavioral health billing, you can rest assured that we will not take your trust for granted and will do everything possible to protect the privacy of each and every one of your patients.
Would you like to learn more about CA Billing and what we can do for you? Visit our website to learn about our services or check out our frequently asked questions page. You can also call or email us to request a free consultation.