Understanding your need for a HIPAA risk assessment is one of the best ways that behavioral health practices can defend against HIPAA fines.
In order to be HIPAA compliant you must address all elements of the law, but one of the most essential places to start is by fulfilling your mandatory assessments. But how do you know what your risk assessment requirements are under the law?
What’s a HIPAA Risk Assessment?
Let’s start with a simple explanation of the risk assessments required for HIPAA compliance.
A HIPAA risk assessment is an audit of your practice to assess the status of your compliance. Risk assessments give you a better understanding of the gaps that you currently have in your compliance program, so that you can build remediation plans to fix them.
HIPAA regulation outlines that you must conduct Physical, Administrative, and Technical assessments within your practice in order to be HIPAA compliant. These assessments will measure your practice against HIPAA regulatory standards.
Once you’ve completed your assessments, you’ll have a clear understanding of which HIPAA standards you need to address.
Remediation plans help organize your compliance program so that you can understand where to focus your efforts to become HIPAA compliant. By completing your remediation plans with HIPAA policies and procedures, you help protect your behavioral health practice from liability in the event of a HIPAA violation in the future.
HIPAA risk assessments are only the first step among many that you need to take to become compliant with the law. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has an online assessment tool that health care providers across the industry can access.
However, HHS does not have a tool for following up on these assessments with remediation plans, policies and procedures, employee training, documentation, business associate management, and breach management. Finding a HIPAA compliance solution to address the remainder of the federally mandated HIPAA standards should be your next step for protecting your practice from breaches and fines.