Third-Party Billing Helps Urology Practices Avoid HIPAA Violations
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards do not just apply to patient care; they must also be maintained during the billing process. A violation of a patient's privacy does not just jeopardize the patient, but it can also jeopardize the medical practice, such as a urology office, and staff when it comes to legal consequences. It is critical that your practice avoid billing practices that violate privacy oaths.
A medical practice can leave a patient a voicemail with a request for them to contact the practice for more details. However, someone from the practice cannot leave a message that serves as a reminder that the patient has not yet sent in payment for a specified procedure, for example. This level of detail is protected health information and can only be shared with the patient and their designated representatives, which does not include a voicemail service.
It is also the responsibility of the practice to keep all medical bills safeguarded. If another patient comes into the practice and is able to view the bill of another patient, this is a violation of their privacy. Even when it comes to break-ins, if the medical bills are not physically safeguarded, this can be considered a violation if an intruder is able to access and remove this information.
In addition to physical protection, a part of maintaining patient privacy involves ensuring that there are technical safeguards in place that help reduce the risk of cyberattacks. For example, if the billing information is stored on a cloud service, it must be password protected, encrypted, and shielded by a firewall. When these measures are not taken, the patient's information is at risk of being stolen, and the medical practice could be to blame.
Third-Party Billing Service
Undoubtedly, your staff is trained on patient privacy, but mistakes can and do happen. However, when you enlist the help of a third-party billing service, you do not have to worry about these mistakes. These services are not only trained on proper HIPAA standards, but they also have physical and technical systems in place that safeguard patient billing records. On top of these protective measures, a third-party billing service takes over the hassle of billing so that you can focus your attention on providing your patients with the best care possible.
You can protect your practice by enlisting the help of a third-party billing provider, be sure to reach out to learn more about their services. To learn more about how these services can be used in your urology practice, contact a local urology medical billing service.