Archive for the ‘BA’ Category

If it was Intentional it is *NOT* Incidental

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

In the past week I got the third question in a one month time-frame about the same topic. My unwritten, loosely followed rule is that if three different organizations ask me pretty much the same question in a month, then it is something worth writing about; why are so many (well, a handful) of the same questions occurring in such a short period of time? Is some vendor out there spreading horribly bad advice? Let’s consider the topic… (more…)

When is PHI Not PHI?

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The deadline for complying with the Omnibus Rule is quickly approaching. Psst…it’s September 23 for most covered entities (CEs) and business associates (BAs).  I’ve been tardy in getting blog posts made because I’ve been happy to have the opportunity to help my hundreds of Compliance Helper and Privacy Professor clients to get into compliance with all the HIPAA and HITECH rules, many just getting there for the first time, in addition to the Omnibus Rule changes and new requirements. I’ve been getting a lot of HIPAA questions from many of the CEs and BAs. I thought it would be helpful to provide some of them on my blog. I’ll start with an interesting question about (more…)

You Don’t Attain Your Clients’ Compliance

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Someone recently commented that I write a lot of blog posts based on my work and what my clients, students and others I meet at conferences and training classes have said or done. Well, that’s because such interactions often create some very good teaching moments that many others could benefit from!  And so, yes, now I have another such experience to share.  One of my new Compliance Helper clients recently told me, “I still don’t know what I need to do for HIPAA/HITECH compliance that is not covered under the compliance activities of my business clients.  How can I do anything more beyond what they are already doing?” (more…)

I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ BA Agreement…or Do I?

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Last week one of my Compliance Helper clients that is a health insurance company asked me the following question (slightly modified to protect their identity):

For the past two years, we have tried to get business associate (BA) Agreements from some of our BAs. They will not (more…)

I See Business Associates…Do You See Yours?

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

I’m getting a lot of déjà vu vibes lately with the old-ish Bruce Willis movie with the catch phrase “I see dead people.” (Remember that?) Only my twist on this phrase for the past few years is, “I see business associates.” A big problem is that (more…)

How Long is the Liability Tail?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Don’t tell me it depends! Well, sorry, but…
I’ve been involved in several interesting discussions (some with lawyers, some with security folks, some with privacy folks, and a few of the folks wearing all three hats) about the liability of organizations that outsource business processing. Since January 17 I’ve also been working on a wide range of documentation changes to reflect the recently released 563 page tome that is the Final HIPAA Omnibus Rule. A significant part of the documentation and writing involves discussion of the increased liability a covered entity (CE) now has for the bad practices and mistakes made by their business associates (BAs).

Organizations want a clear cut answer to “how liable” they are for the actions of their outsourced entities. One CISO at a conference demanded, “Just tell me; are we going to be held responsible for the actions of our business associates or not? Just (more…)

How Physical Harm Impacts Can Drive Huge HIPAA Penalties

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Are you a covered entity (CE) or business associate (BA) as defined by HIPAA? There are literally millions of organizations in the U.S. that fall under these definitions, and possibly additional millions of BAs outside of the U.S. providing services to U.S.-based CEs. The impact is significant, and truly world-wide. If you are a CE or BA, did you know that your information security and privacy activities, or lack thereof, could cause physical harm to patients and insureds, and that you can receive significant penalties under the new HIPAA rules based upon those impacts? (more…)

Are You Ready to Pay for the Sins of Your Contracted Entities?

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Over the years when working with a wide range of organizations, helping them to identify where all forms of their business information (including customer, client, patient and employee information) is located.  One of the key activities is identifying and documenting all business associates, service providers, business partners, and all other types of outsourced entities that possess or have other types of access to this information. (more…)

Should You Rush to Execute a BA Agreement Today? Probably Not

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The final HIPAA “mega rule” is going to be officially published on the Federal Register tomorrow, January 25, 2013.  Currently the version available (https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2013-01073.pdf) is “pre-publication” version.

Over the past week I’ve had numerous CEs and BAs contacting me, frantic to change their BA Agreements to “avoid complying with the Mega Rule for another year!” Wait, folks. You are misunderstanding; this is a very specific extension that only applies to the BA Agreements.  Let me explain… (more…)

You Need to Actually Do What Your Policies Say!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

This week I spoke with a small (~25 employees) organization (a business associate providing services to healthcare providers) that contacted me looking for help; they had purchased a whiz-bang “HIPAA compliance GRC” solution that included with everything else information security policies, but they couldn’t make any sense of the policies they were given or how they related to the rest of the expensive GRC tool.  Grrr!! There are (more…)