One Broker’s HITECH Excuse – “Other Priorities” aka “Willful Neglect”

Resources to help you – HITECH Survival Center

While I sympathize with all of you and your internal challenges HIPAA HITECH is not a college course you can duck. Yes it is pain in the neck and much more complicated to comply with than anything you have ever seen.

BUT, it is Federal law and 47 states have similar laws as well. Massachusetts and Nevada just enacted even tougher laws on PHI that were effective 1/1.

Don’t believe me but you might believe NAHU.

So I thought I would share a recent email exchange I had. I know many, if not most of you may fee the same way this type of response and attitude is EXACTLY what is going to get any firm in the hottest of water with HHS, your  insurance carriers and cost you customers.

Broker email to me in why they are not moving ahead on getting compliant

Our compliance head is out on maternity leave and I am running a company so we are a catching up on different priorities.”

In other words we are too busy to be bothered and complying with Federal law is not a priority. OUCH!

My response:

“Joe, I understand. Tough time for Suzy’s  maternity leave..

We do not know one another but as a 35 year veteran of the industry the best advice I can give you is that which I am giving my own broker clients and friends:

– The deadline for this Federal Law is 2/17

– This law is serious,

– It will be enforced,

– Internal business or staff issues are not relevant- You have had a year to get in compliance and have not

– At this point non compliance will be viewed as “willful neglect” and subject to the highest penalties

– Non compliance risks your entire business and reputation as your clients are required to report any breaches as are you on them

– Your E&O policy does NOT cover any fines here

ALL your carrier BA agreements hold you accountable for being compliant and can terminate your producer agreement if there are problems

– Your customer BA agreements also hold you accountable for compliance and can easily replace you with a broker of record letter if you are not compliant

The biggest threat to your firm- like any broker- is on PHI and unsecured email. Inbound from clients – client info in a census, bills, enrollment form , employee listings – are on major issue and outbound from your team another. If they are not encrypted they are “unprotected”

This is one issue can be easily and quickly resolved for you. I would wholeheartedly recommend putting that in place asap, and so you do not have any breaches – ie PHI – – be transmitted unencrypted.

We can do this in less than a week max. Suzy would not have been doing anything on that really and if you would like we can handle it all for you for a setup fee of $1000 vs. our normal $500. Our standard pricing sheet is attached.

We can also do a webinar for staff training for $250 and one for your clients as well for $250.

All we need is access to your exchange server and ISP an can implement the RadarMail360 solution for your team and get the portal in place so clients can communicate inbound to you securely.

Waiting to get all the policies in place is a risk – but if you have shown action in implementing an encryption solution if you have any issues you have at least addressed the heart of the law – ie protecting the personal information of your clients and their employees.

It looks like you have a nice business but lack of action could really put it at risk…

We’ll help if you let us..

The same thing holds true for anyone reading this.Don’t put your hard work at risk. Act now..this is not a college elective but real life.

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