The large scope of recent healthcare data breaches means it's not just providers and care centers that have to protect themselves. HR departments and other sections of companies that handle health insurance data need to know the proper way to protect their employees' important information.
An article for Workforce recently looked at the role HR departments play to prevent sensitive personal data from being leaked and posing a threat. While there has been no official date given for the next HIPAA compliance audit rounds, the penalties of possible HIPAA violations are high, as can be seen in recent cases involving hospital and insurance companies.
One major development that could affect health insurance processes in all workplaces, recently chronicled by the New York Times, comes after a newly signed law that will remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. General concern about the overexposure of Social Security numbers has existed for years, and President Obama specifically asked for $50 million in his budget for next year to be dedicated to this purpose.
The Times quoted former Social Security claims representative Ann Rossie, who emphasized the importance of keeping identities protected through a more guarded approach to these numbers.
"Changing to another number will be a humongous job," she said. "But Medicare needs to recognize the terrible impact on anybody whose identity is stolen. It destroys your self-esteem, and it can take years to re-establish your identity and credit."
All entities that handle health-related data need to be mindful of HIPAA violations and look out for professionals who might be able to help create a plan for better and safer processes. In addition to strategy and planning, consultants can perform auditing services to ensure that an entity meets compliance requirements under the HIPAA privacy rule.