If you have a practice, all your communications must remain in compliance—including your faxes.
If you work in healthcare, your organization most likely uses a fax machine every day. If so, you must ensure that those communications are HIPAA compliant. If you find yourself at the business end of HIPAA violations, your organization could face serious penalties.
HIPAA rules require that you must keep patient information safe—even when sending faxes. The law protects patient information and establishes the framework for sharing patient data safely.
To learn more about faxing within the law, keep reading.
The Risks of Violating HIPAA Laws
You can still face HIPAA penalties, even when you expose patient information by mistake. Furthermore, the penalty for non-compliance with HIPAA laws can prove severe.
If the state attorney files charges against your organization, you can face fines of up to $25,000 per violation category each year. However, if the Office of Civil Rights (OIC) issues a violation, you can pay even higher fines.
In this instance, you could face up to one and a half million dollars in fines per violation category. Already, several organizations have faced hefty OIC penalties.
The Office of Civil Rights uses a tier system to classify HIPAA penalties. If, for instance, you face a Tier 1 violation, you can pay anywhere from $100 to $50,000 in fines per violation category.
A Tier 1 violation occurs when an organization is unaware of HIPAA non-compliance. Although the organization could not have avoided the breach, they must’ve taken steps to comply with HIPAA rules.
However, a Tier 2 violation is more severe. With a Tier 2 violation, organizations can face fines anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 per violation class.
The OIC levies a Tier 2 fine when organizations should have known about a violation. Nevertheless, organizations that receive this fine cannot avoid an information breach even with proper precautions.
A Tier 3 fine involves willful neglect where an organization tries to fix the problem. Here, the OIC might levy a penalty of anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 for each violation category.
Finally, a Tier 4 fine encompasses willful neglect were organizations did not try to fix the problem. In this case, fines start at $50,000 per violation class.
HIPAA Violations and Faxing
In general, HIPAA law states that organizations should only reveal relevant patient information. In effect, providing unnecessary information can also lead to HIPAA violations. However, there other violations under HIPAA law.
For example, your organization could receive a HIPAA fine for failing to manage risk. You could also face a penalty for failing to conduct risk assessments.
Organizations can also face fines for not having safeguards in place to ensure the safety of patient information. You can also face a penalty for failing to enforce information access controls. Furthermore, you can face a fine for not monitoring patient information access.
Your relationship with third-party vendors can also result and a HIPAA fine. For instance, you may receive a fine if you don’t have HIPAA compliant agreements with third-party vendors.
You might also face a fine for mishandling or accidentally sending information that falls under HIPAA law. You must also document your HIPAA compliance efforts to avoid penalties.
Most often, organizations realize they have breached HIPAA compliance during an internal audit. However, employees who violate HIPAA regulations will often report a breach. They do this to lessen the resulting penalties.
Send Your Faxes With Confidence: Faxing Tips
A cost-effective online business fax number can help you to remain in HIPAA compliance. Online faxing is also called internet fax or cloud-based faxing. Online faxing is a hosted service. With hosted service, there’s no need to buy fax servers or special equipment.
The technology uses internet protocol to send and receive fax communications online. Instead of purchasing a machine to send faxes, you’d use your online fax number to send and receive faxes securely.
HIPAA and HITECH security compliant fax services are essential for all healthcare organizations. An online fax number can help you ensure that your organization remains in HIPAA compliance. It will allow you to send and receive patient information legally.
Sending faxes with an online number is as easy as uploading a PDF file. Once a recipient receives your fax, you’ll receive an email notification. Your service provider will store your faxes in a secure online portal.
Conversely, you’ll also receive a notification when you receive faxes. When you receive one, you can log on to your service provider’s portal and download patient information securely.
Put Your Best Foot Forward With the Right Services
HIPAA law is a historic piece of legislation. It’s a powerful tool that helps prevent fraud. It also protects patients by restricting unauthorized access to sensitive records.
The law has helped to improve efficiency and streamline administrative functions. More importantly, it has paved the way for showing healthcare organizations how to keep patient data secure.
Today, there are standards for collecting, storing, and sharing patient health information. They ensure that everyone follows the same guidelines.
Furthermore, healthcare stakeholders now use the same nationally recognized identifiers. This standard helps tremendously with the safe transfer of electronic healthcare information.
Go With a Connectivity Leader
Now that you know more about faxes and HIPAA violations, you need a service that will help you remain in compliance.
Over the last five years, iPlum has become a global leader in secure business communication. We can offer you nearly 15 years of experience in mobile telecom security.
iPlum is your solution for accessing the important business features that other solutions lack. We can help you to maintain the privacy and security of your enterprise.
With iPlum, you’ll have access to robust business communications. Furthermore, using our communication tools is easy and straightforward. Best of all, however, you can trust iPlum for secure, reliable communication and scalability.
Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help.