HIPAA certification doesn’t actually exist. Be wary of any medical answering service that claims to be HIPAA certified.
Have you seen answering services proudly proclaiming that they are HIPAA certified? If so, 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. So if there is no certification, how can you know if an answering service is HIPAA compliant?
All you have to do is ask! You can get a much better indication of the quality of an answering service and their relationship with HIPAA if you ask your representative a few questions.
- Ask about their overall theory about HIPAA – this will give you a good idea of how seriously they take it.
- Ask about how they train their receptionists on HIPAA – you can even request to see their training materials.
- Ask what practices and procedures they have in place to ensure HIPAA compliance – they should have rules and regulations that guide their business operations.
- Ask about their technology safeguards – HIPAA is all about protecting patient information and they should have systems in place to guard against leaks or hacks.
- Ask for references – If they are a reputable service provider, they should have no problem providing references from across the medical industry.
Start your conversation about HIPAA with your answering service using these questions and you’ll get a good feel for how they conduct themselves.
Keep in mind that while HIPAA certification does not exist for organizations, courses do exist in many varieties, and they allow for individuals, not companies, 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 healthcare 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. There are serious consequences for infractions! That’s why it is so important that you make sure that you only do business with a medical answering service that accurately and honestly represents their corporate familiarity with HIPAA, along with the training that their individual employees undergo.
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 the tough questions to ensure that 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.
Here at Acena, we take HIPAA seriously. It’s ingrained in all aspects of our business as we build our healthcare call center solutions from the ground up with HIPAA at the forefront. We’re happy to talk HIPAA with you anytime! Contact us today to learn more!