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Answering Services and HIPAA Certifications: Buyer Beware

Have you seen answering services proudly proclaiming that they are a HIPAA certified service? If you have, you need to take a second look at the other claims made by that organization. Why’s that? Simply put, because HIPAA certification doesn’t actually exist. Any company that is making this type of claim is trying to convince customers that they are the owners of a non-existent certification, and in almost every scenario, that should be a huge red flat that they might not be a company that you want to do business with.

That said, HIPAA and knowledge of all the laws and regulations associated with it is hugely important in the answering service industry, despite there being no official credential in the area. A much better indication of the quality of an answering service would be that they have required their employees to take courses that familiarize them with HIPAA compliance. These courses do exist in many varieties, and allow for individual workers, not organizations, to get certificates stating that they have been trained in HIPAA regulations. The distinction here is critical however: individuals may take courses and earn a variety of certifications saying that they have been educated in this area, but no official corporate designation or certification exists. Any company that tries to convince you otherwise is steering you astray.

Be Certain Your Answering Service is Familiar With HIPAA Requirements

If you’re in a field where you deal with patient’s private health-related data, you know how important it is that HIPAA is adhered to in every aspect of your business. That’s why it is so important that you make sure that you only do business with an answering service that accurately and honestly represents their corporate familiarity with HIPAA, along with the training that their individual employees undergo.

One of the surest ways to reliably do business with answering services who maintain HIPAA compliance at all times is to speak to their references in the health care field. If a medical answering service is reputable, they should have no problem providing references from across the medical industry. You should also find out what specific company policies they have in place to ensure that staff members are following the requirements laid out by these regulations at all times.

The most important thing to remember here is that an answering service works as an extension of your own organization. That is a vital role to play, so don’t be afraid to dig deep and ask a lot of hard questions to ensure that your HIPAA requirements are always met. Of course, if they say they have a corporate HIPAA certification, you can probably save yourself the time and just walk in the other direction.

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