Compliance Blog - R.J. Hedges & Associates

HIPAA BAA - Why the Business Associate Agreement May be Your Pharmacy's Most Important Piece of Paper

[fa icon="calendar'] Tue, Feb 12, 2019 / by Becky Templeton posted in HIPAA, Business Associate Agreement

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A colleague recently shared a news release about a physicians’ group that was hit with a $500,000 fine. The fine wasn’t a result of fraud, a misfiled prescription, or malpractice, as one might expect.  Instead, the physicians’ group simply failed to have business associate agreements in place. 

This led me to wonder two things.  First, how common is it for people to go through eight or more years of school to become a doctor without fully understanding HIPAA? And second, if practitioners realize the importance of protecting patients, do they understand what they can put in place to protect themselves as the practitioner?

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Keeping in Compliance when Terminating Employees

[fa icon="calendar'] Tue, Dec 4, 2018 / by Becky Templeton posted in HIPAA

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We know that no employer likes to terminate an employee; from the business standpoint- there’s an open position that we must re-hire and re-train, it can be taxing on the rest of the staff and difficult for managers to try to work in interviews and screening processes into their already jam packed schedules.  And then there’s the additional emotional tie as well- these folks maybe leaving unexpectedly or under strained situations, and there’s personal friendships have been forged and they’re now kind of dicey, so it can be very difficult.
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HIPAA Compliance for Pharmacies

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Oct 8, 2018 / by Becky Templeton posted in HIPAA

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1 How can pharmacies know if their basic HIPAA program needs to be replaced


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Podcast Session 11 HIPAA Off-Shore Attestations

[fa icon="calendar'] Thu, Sep 6, 2018 / by Jenny Schell posted in HIPAA

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 In order to stay competitive, many businesses are turning to offshore companies as a way to cut costs while still providing tech support, customer service, billing processes, and more. Consider your contracted companies with which you have signed a business associate agreement (BAA); could any of them be utilizing offshore workforces?

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Communication & Control: the Two C's That Will Save Your Pharmacy

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Sep 18, 2017 / by Jeff Hedges posted in HIPAA

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 blog image.jpg

“Focus is needed in many walks of life, but for patient safety

it is needed every day. Every pharmacy across the country is always one day

closer to dispensing a fatal dose of medication.” - Jeff Hedges


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Seven Wonders of the HIPAA Inspection

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Sep 4, 2017 / by Jenny Schell posted in HIPAA

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blog.jpgDID YOU KNOW there are Seven Wonders of the World because the Greeks believed the number seven represented perfection? Thus, it's time for independent pharmacies and other small healthcare practices to view the Seven Wonders of the HIPAA Inspection. This blog lists the seven most remarkable items that will help you achieve perfection during your inspection!

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Could you have a HIPAA breach and not know?

[fa icon="calendar'] Tue, Apr 4, 2017 / by Jeff Hedges posted in HIPAA

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blog_image_5steps_hipaa_breach.pngHas someone asked you if you’ve ever had a HIPAA breach? Most pharmacy owners will adamantly say, “Of course I’ve never had a breach!”  … My response, “Really, never?”  Have you ever had a clerk give the wrong medication to a patient? Typically, I'll hear the pharmacy owner answer, “Well, yeah.”  

This is the same conversation an investigator or an inspector will have with one of your pharmacy staff members. And as soon as your staff says, “Yes,” they have just defunct your entire argument that you’ve never had a breach, risking your pharmacy for further investigation and possible fines. Breaches are more common than you know. One of the best ways to protect your pharmacy is knowing what is considered a HIPAA breach, how susceptible your pharmacy is to them, and what to do if you discover your pharmacy has had a breach.  

Here are five steps to take if you discover you've had a HIPAA breach. 

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What you really need to know about HIPAA breaches ...

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Mar 27, 2017 / by Jenny Schell posted in HIPAA

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image_blog_HIPAA_podcast_3.pngWhat is a HIPAA breach? How common are breaches within pharmacies? How can I have a breach and not know about it? What are OCR Desk Audits? These are just some of the questions our Compliance Strategists get asked each week. It can be difficult for an independent pharmacy to keep up with all the specific requirements and protocols. Listen to our latest podcast as Jeff Hedges, our resident HIPAA expert, answers all the top HIPAA questions, shortcuts the hard work for you and tells what you really need to know about HIPAA breaches and HIPAA compliance.

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The most requested HIPAA items during an OCR Desk audit

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Nov 21, 2016 / by Jenny Schell posted in HIPAA

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image_blog_ocr_audit.jpgIn recent months, we have seen a sharp rise with HIPAA investigations, breach reports and data security. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced in March of 2016 they are conducting on-site inspections and desk audits as part of Phase II of HIPAA enforcement. These inspections and audits will make up the first two rounds of audits. According to an OCR announcement, the first round of desk audits will focus on covered entities,  while the second round of audits will focus on business associates.  

The initial test of OCR desk audits will be completed by December 2016.  Full scale desk audits begin in January 2017 focusing on small health care practices! 

As a part of the new OCR desk audits, inspectors are focusing on the Security rule and will review individual facility's HIPAA  compliance policies and procedures, computer/network security and breach risk assessments. Desk audits will request Risk Analysis, Risk Management Plan, Disaster Recovery Plan, Annual Privacy & Security Assessments and random policies and procedures. To help get your pharmacy prepared, we've broken down what each of these items are and why you need them.

Here are the top HIPAA items you need to pass a OCR and Desk Audit and start protecting your independent pharmacy:

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HIPAA in 2013 - What Independent Pharmacy Owners Need to Know

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Sep 30, 2013 / by Jenny Schell posted in HIPAA

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HIPAA enforcement isn’t just a scare tactic anymore. The “HIPAA police” are here and they mean business, potentially your business! This year, the Office of Civil Rights has hired hundreds of investigators to ensure that you are following the new rules. Not doing so, could mean up to a $1.5 million fine! Can your business afford not to be in compliance this year?

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