Yes in the writing business it is easy to switch an acronym or two along the way to writing a great blog. Still as I pen this blog article it occurs to me that just maybe the error of mixing the HIPAA with HIPPA, is more a Freudian slip than a mistake. Thus for many medical practices struggling with HIPAA Compliancy, maybe it is time to make a case for HIPPA rather than HIPAA.
According to Medicinenet.com, “HIPAA is the acronym that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; a US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers”. Yet, since this acronym launched onto the healthcare scene it has caused as many headaches for healthcare providers, as the writers who subconsciously fight the uncontrollable urge to spell it like it sounds. So I am taking a stand for calling it (or spelling it) as I see it and saying…maybe it should be HIPPA, and here is why.
H – Big Mean Hippo! While many of my astute colleagues have reminded me that the H in HIPAA stands for Healthcare, as my research has sometimes concluded, I bow to a different mindset. What if the H actually stands for Hippo? Stay with me here. Anyone in the medical care industry will attest loudly to the large, intimidating animal that HIPPA has become to many healthcare providers.
Racked with detailed compliancy guidelines that seem to always be changing, staff training needs, patient frustrations and hefty fines for failing compliancy or incurring a security breach, HIPAA does resemble at times, more of an ill-tempered beast. Case in point did you know more people (2,900 deaths per year) in Africa die from hippos (averaging up to 8,000 lbs.) than lions? Now, on the other hand if you are found guilty of Willful Neglect in a HIPAA audit, your practice could incur up to $50,000 in fines PER RECORD!
Running into either of these beasts unprepared could mean danger…or in HIPAA’s case the possible loss of your medical practice.
I P– Incomprehensible Paperwork. There, I said it. At times the Insurance Portability reporting procedures and qualification requirements that are incorporated into HIPAA are complicated at best. Medical practices are held accountable for adhering to these guidelines often without the proper training, medical technology software and clear processes to stay compliant. Inundated with antiquated hard copy systems for patient billing and records, office administrators can just get buried in paper.
P – Patient Confusion. While most healthcare providers will agree that patients have reaped some positive benefits in terms of privacy rights and the restriction for insurance denials due to pre-existing conditions, there is still a great deal of confusion for patients about the processes. Many patients have simply come to expect that it means filling out the HIPAA statement forms given to them at each doctor’s visit. But understanding the expectations of HIPAA in terms of patient engagement and satisfaction has been hard to communicate. In addition, many medical practices are still at a loss when it comes to adequately providing patient records security through technology that meets the Meaningful Use requirements.
A – Accountability (or lack of). As medical practices race to keep up with changing HIPAA mandates, many are often forced into a reactionary process instead of a proactive pursuit. Without comprehensible staff training, accurate assessment tools, quarterly auditing and understandable procedures, many medical practices are left wondering who is accountable for HIPAA Compliancy; that is until practice owners incur fines for failure.
Striving for HIPAA Compliancy
So you see, in many circumstances for medical practices, HIPPA would be the more appropriate acronym. However, as the government continues to invest in HIPAA, it is more strategic for healthcare providers to strive for HIPAA Compliancy.
If your medical practice seems to be operating along the lines of HIPPA rather than HIPAA, let Southern Medical Consultants Group provide you with a Free Assessment. We have the tools, technology and training to help your team and medical practice not only meet HIPAA Compliancy but to also increase practice revenue while doing it.
“As a partner with HIPAA Secure Now!, we can sign you up for a Special Training Offer providing Free Training for 30 Days. Let us help you break the HIPPA acronym to become HIPAA Compliant! OFFER EXPIRES September 30,2016!