Are you scheduled for a HIPAA compliance audit and feel at a loss about how to prepare? Fortunately, MEG Business is here to help. Keep reading to discover the best tips for preparing for the audit, as well as specific ways that we can help.
What Is a HIPAA Compliance Audit?
A HIPAA audit is an evaluation that establishes how well a practice follows the policies and procedures related to HIPAA requirements. While every medical practice must perform an internal audit at least once a year, you can make the process easier by avoiding the most common mistakes when it comes to HIPAA compliance.
The most common compliance mistakes include:
- Failing to encrypt digital records
- Not training your employees in HIPAA practices
- Improperly disposing of PHI or ePHI
- Avoiding regular organizational risk analysis
- Failing to promptly provide patients access to their health records
All these mistakes can slow down and complicate the process of generating the final audit report, so avoiding them saves you serious time and stress.
Best Training Practices for HIPAA
One of the most important things you can do for your practice is educate your staff about HIPAA and health insurance practices. For physical therapy staff, your training should include the following:
- A basic awareness of the privacy, security and breach notification rules
- The practice’s role in securing protected health information
- Understanding patient’s rights
- How to report violations internally and to the Health and Human Services Office
Because we understand the effort involved in compliance training, MEG has designed an educational program within MEG Academy to help you With MEG Academy’s Ethics & Compliance program, you can ensure that your staff are accurately trained and educated, taking the burden off you as the owner.
Preparing for a HIPAA Compliance Audit at Your Physical Therapy Clinic
For a smooth HIPAA compliance audit, follow these tips.
Assign an Officer
An audit runs more smoothly if you assign one individual to answer every compliance question, and the Inspector General requires assigning a compliance officer. You can designate a member of your staff or hire a professional compliance officer.
Regularly Audit Your Charts
We know documenting is one of the least enjoyable parts of your job, especially when you’d rather spend time helping your patients. To further complicate the issue, many DPT programs don’t focus on teaching documentation processes.
Hiring a professional auditor or using automated compliance checks can streamline the process and avoid any bias from using your staff to audit the charts.
Perform a Walkthrough
Look for the following issues that could jeopardize your compliance:
- Passwords stored on sticky notes
- Medical records, intake forms, prescription orders, and anything else that should be properly secured but isn’t
- Any devices that employees left on or haven’t physically secured
Crosscheck Your Vendor List
If you don’t have a list of all the vendors you work with, create one before the audit. The point is knowing who in your professional network has access to your practice’s PHI. Consider the following:
- Make sure the list is complete, including contact information for each vendor.
- Include the business associate addendum for any vendor that processes PHI for you.
- Remove any old vendors from the list.
Verify Your Software Access Levels
Access your management or EMR software to verify which users have access to your software. Remove any people who no longer work for you and that people only have access appropriate to their job duties.
Educate Yourself on Healthcare Compliance
For physical therapy clinic owners, having a comprehensive understanding of HIPAA is not just a regulatory requirement but a cornerstone of effective leadership and practice management. To stay informed about compliance and ensure your staff is equally informed, consider the Ethics & Compliance Training at MEG Academy. This comprehensive training covers all aspects of HIPAA compliance, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to navigate the challenges of healthcare regulations effectively.
Learn More About PT Practice Essentials with MEG Academy
HIPAA compliance doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. With MEG Academy, you can learn the ins and outs of everything from medical billing to hiring in order to become a progressive PT practice. Our comprehensive training modules cover topics such as effective patient communication, innovative treatment techniques, and efficient practice management strategies. We also offer personalized coaching to help you navigate the challenges of running a successful physical therapy clinic.
To learn more about how MEG Academy can transform your PT practice, and to explore our full range of services, call us at 727-268-8500 or fill out our online form here. Discover the key to a thriving practice and enhanced patient care with MEG Academy!”