Will You Go To Jail For Your Contractors?

In healthcare, you can be held accountable for the actions of your contractors and vendors. Many healthcare entities are learning that lesson from the latest breach at the Detroit Medical Center.

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Recently, the Detroit Medical Center notified 1,529 patients of a breach of protected health information (“PHI”).

What happened?

The DMC was notified that a staffing agency’s employee stole the PHI and provided it to unauthorized individuals outside of the hospital.

Why should this matter to your practice?

For many reasons. Breaches and theft of PHI are rampant. Healthcare entities must protect themselves as much as possible against threats.

But it’s also essential to remember that if your healthcare practice hires contractors for billing, transcription services, temporary services, janitorial services, etc. – your practice is at risk of an outside employee stealing PHI, information, or patient identities.

It is incredibly important that your practice has signed, updated business associate agreements in place with all outside vendors and contractors.

As the covered entity, the DMC was tasked with notifying patients and now may fall under scrutiny by the federal government for the breach. This is the case, even though the employee responsible for the theft was not a DMC employee.

Healthcare practices are typically covered entities that bear the burden of complying with all of HIPAA. We help our clients review and update their business associate agreements so that their contractors and vendors are held to the highest standards possible.

In our next blog post, we will keep you informed of related issues.  To get this important information delivered directly to your mail box, click here to Subscribe.

Do you need help staying current and compliant with the latest laws, rules and regulations?  We can help. To contact us about your new government rules and regulations, your practice’s risk assessment, or about your other legal needs:  CLICK HERE.

P.S. If you or your patients are interested in consumer healthcare issues, check out myhealthspin.com.

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