HIPAA, telehealth, and Remote Working: Risks for Healthcare Workers

The pandemic has given rise to telehealth but concerns are managing the clinical and billing staff remotely. The COVID-19 lockdown has forced many organizations to consider remote working to keep them operational.

However, various HIPAA regulation specialists and representatives from law firms dealing in medical-related lawsuits have raised their concerns over the practical viability of the remote healthcare delivery, especially when there are patients with the virus infection.

Virtual communication app, for example; Apple Face Time, Skype, and Zoom have now been allowed to doctors that need to treat patients remotely, as indicated by directions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which oversees HIPAA.

A New Jersey-based social insurance lawyer and HIPAA official at Fox Rothschild law office call attention to those practices that need to guarantee that they’ll be repaid for the consideration when utilizing telehealth.

Kelli Fleming, at Burr Forman law office, encourages practices to check with back up plans to guarantee they’ll be paid for the patient visit.

CMS has said that Medicare will repay services suppliers for treating patients utilizing telehealth for Covid-19 and other therapeutically sensible purposes from workplaces, clinics, and homes. For example, homes, nursing homes and helped living offices.

The government organization noticed that Medicare Advantage plans may offer extra telehealth administrations for their permitted 2020 advantages.

Michele P. Madison, J.D., a health care attorney at Morris, Manning & Martin in Atlanta, and points out that OCR won’t enforce penalties for physician practices that use “non-public-facing video and audio technology that’s not secure, and they won’t require business associate agreements.” Still, she advises that practices take the following steps:

Validate that the physician or other clinician is licensed to provide care by telemedicine in the state where they’re providing the service.

Secure verbal or written confirmation that patients understand that the platform used to receive telehealth-based care isn’t secure.

A few clinicians might have the option to give telehealth consultation from their home or workplaces, though representatives who show no restraint confronting remote working, with the correct direction. Alissa Smith, JD, at Dorsey and Whitney law office, gave guidance to doctors says:

Keep billing files and other patient records away from others in the household.

Use safeguards, such as firewalls, encryption, and a private network, to prevent patient information from being hacked.

Kelli Carpenter Fleming suggests that practices require engaging staff who are working distantly to sign in to the training’s frameworks utilizing two-factor confirmation. That requires a code to be sent to the representative’s phone for an extra degree of security

Fleming highlights that OCR’s March 20 direction says that telehealth-based visit doesn’t need to be for a COVID-19-related condition. That implies, for instance, that a doctor can utilize telehealth to talk with a patient about an ear infection.

Extra security should be implemented to hinder representatives from sparing any records on the hard drives on their PCs at home, says Fleming. Furthermore, the representative’s PC ought to likewise be set up to require an extra sign in if the PC isn’t being used for three minutes or even less.

Healthcare workers are advised to confine the printing of any patient data.

Until now, 41 State lead representatives have given work from home warnings, which for the most part imply that staff needs to show up at their work.

If the following protocols are practiced thoroughly and exercised using fair means.

It’ll be of great benefit to the system plus it’ll bring down the human interaction which has led to mass infections and will be able to help contain the virus and effectively deal with other health-related issues throughout the US.


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