We here at J.C. Christensen and Associates were poking around the headlines at insidePatientFinance.com and came across this: 5 Ways the New HIPAA Regulations Change How Providers, Collection Partners Work Together.
Compliance and consumer privacy have always been on the minds of most collection agencies. Those who give such important issues little or no consideration in pursuit of profit are the same agencies you read about in the headlines being sued over any number of infractions.
What this article points out, though, is how important patient personal information is becoming — and the incredible premium paid by hospitals that don’t have rock-solid HIPAA policies in place.
Because of the ways in which collection agencies and hospitals work together, we are just as affected as hospitals are in these new HIPAA regulations. As Evan J. Albright pointed out, “‘Business associates,’ such as collection agencies, are now as much on the hook for violating patient privacy laws as providers.”
What also may be on the horizon for the relationship between hospitals and collection agencies: “The new regulations require potentially extensive changes to current business associate agreements.”
And, to illustrate the seriousness of these new HIPAA regulations: “The new regulations contain higher penalties for breaches and other violations. What is important to know is that any violation that occurred on or after February 18, 2009, will be subject to the new penalties.”
Is your agency proactively tightening its own internal HIPAA policies around patient data when it comes to healthcare collections? Or are you waiting to hear from your hospital partners to set the pace?
About Chuck Seviour
Chuck has over 40 years of healthcare industry experience ranging from Director of Business Office Operations for a large health system to consulting with over 150 hospitals as a healthcare consultant for a major accounting firm. Chuck has been Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Array Services Group since 2004.
Array Services Group and its three innovative business units – CareCall, ProSource and J.C. Christensen & Associates – offer professional services in call management disciplines, accounts receivable and revenue cycle management, empowering clients for immediate and future success.