Has HIPAA Kept You In Line?
Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 to help protect the health information of individuals. The law requires health care organizations, professionals, and covered entities to ensure that the confidentiality of protected health information is confidential and secure. The law applies to health information that is oral, electronic, and on paper. After health records reach their retention date, health organizations should retain a company that offers a HIPAA compliant shredding service to dispose of the records that patients do not want.
HIPAA Compliant Shredding
Some businesses do not comply with HIPAA laws because they do not know the law. A risk assessment manager and a team can ensure that a business is HIPAA compliant. One of the major concerns of being HIPAA compliant is disposing of old records no longer needed.
Most office shredders do not meet HIPAA requirements for paper records disposal. Shred America meets the standards for HIPAA compliant shredding – you cannot use most regular office shredders as they do not cut the paper documents into small enough pieces. Furthermore, shredded documents cannot be thrown into the regular trash. Shred America bundles shredded documents from many businesses into bales and brings them to a recycling plant that is also HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA Shredding Guidelines
Even when a business uses a HIPAA compliant shredding service, businesses must take action to ensure the way they handle records in-house is also compliant. Just because you have a shred box does not mean that you are compliant. HIPAA guidelines include:
- Use shred bins for confidential documents only. Use other methods to dispose of junk mail, phone books, cardboard, magazines, etc.
- Keep shred bins in locked file rooms.
- If a shred bin in your area or department is full, contact a supervisor. Do not leave documents to be shredded near the shredder.
- Do not allow any employees to unlock shred bins unless it is the compliance officer or an office manager.
- Do not remove documents once placed in the shred bin.
- If you do have to unlock a shred bin for any reason, always have a manager present.
- Keep records of opening shred bins, who opened the shred bin, who was present, and the reasons the shred bins were opened.
HIPAA Requirements for Paper Records
Businesses that use Shred America find that the employees are trained in HIPAA shredding guidelines and that the company advises them when it is on the way to their appointment. You'll find that the drivers are professional and speedy.
Others have used other companies and found that Shred America is the best for value and service. Scheduling is easy, and Shred America comes right to the office.
Contacting Shred America for Shredding Services
Always ensure that your business is HIPAA compliant from the time you obtain private medical information until you dispose of it. The law does not only apply to paper documents but electronic and oral records. When you upgrade computers or need to dispose of hard drives and portable storage media, such as SD cards and USB drives, they should also be placed in locked shred boxes and shredded.
Shred America is a HIPAA compliant shredding service for businesses. Contact Shred America for HIPAA compliant shredding companies near me and for solutions to protect personal data in your business.
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