In the United States the privacy of patient health records is enforced through guidelines outlined in a piece of federal legislation called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (also known as HIPAA). Involving businesses that handle sensitive medical documents, HIPAA outlines strict rules for handling documents with sensitive patient information, as well as the penalties for failing to fulfill these requirements under different conditions. Such penalties include;
- Completely unaware of violation; $100 – $50,000 (repeat case; $1,500,000)
- Reasonable cause to be aware of violation; $1,000 – $50,000 (repeat case; $1,500,000)
- Willful neglect – corrected; $10,000 – $50,000 (repeat case; $1,500,000)
- Willful neglect – not corrected; $50,000 (repeat case; $1,500,000)
The penalties for violations under HIPAA can be extremely costly, especially if there is evidence of neglect. So how can your business ensure that it avoids a potential HIPAA violation? Document shredding solutions are one of the best ways to make sure that sensitive information doesn’t end up in the wrong place, and as a member of NAID, Security Shredding knows how to handle and destroy documents in line with HIPAA guidelines and requirements.
The Requirements Under HIPAA
HIPAA includes guidelines on how long documents must be retained; documents must be retained for six (6) years from creation or the last time of use, whichever is later. Retention laws also vary by state. What is important is that once these documents are no longer needed they must be securely destroyed. Certified document shredding is one of the best ways to make sure your documents get destroyed not just securely, but in accordance with the law. Documents included under HIPAA privacy laws include records and documents such as;
- Medical record numbers
- Biometric identifiers
- Full face photos and comparable images
- Account numbers, health plan beneficiary numbers and social security numbers
- Unique identifying numbers, characteristics or codes among many others.
HIPAA covers a wide range of documents and records, and it’s vital that businesses take action to protect patients’ information.
How Security Shredding in New Jersey Can Help
Since 1999 we have been helping residents and businesses in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania protect their sensitive documents and information. Our service area is always growing for services such as on-site shredding, so get in touch with us today to discuss the options available for your business!