Is Your Cleaning Company HIPAA-Ready?
As a commercial cleaner operating in a hospital or medical facility, if your cleaning crew is exposed to patient data in their work sessions, they may need to be HIPAA-compliant. Namely, your cleaning company may need to adhere to the federal provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, which protects the privacy of patient data. Or else, your team may run the risk of inadvertently using or disclosing a patient’s or several patients’ health information and violate the act. To comply with the law, your organization, which should be HIPAA-covered, must obtain business associate agreements, also known as BAAs, for your staff.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a federal agency legally authorized to enforce HIPAA, defines a business associate as follows:
“a person or entity that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of, or provides services to, a covered entity.”
Members of your team may function as a business associate. For instance, they may dispose of documentation or carry out filing tasks and thus can have access to patient data. Your company ought not allow for all uses and disclosures of patient data. If you do not carefully oversee the activity of your cleaning staff and have not kept patient data safe and secure, you and they may violate HIPAA. You could be held legally responsible if unauthorized persons in the form of your cleaning team unknowingly access patient data and breaches a patient’s privacy.
To guard against such breaches, your company needs to take reasonable precautions such as closing cabinets, shutting down computers and securing patient data. You may even need to invest in software that tracks such activity and keeps a record of your business associate agreements between your company and members of your staff.
Aside from our cleaning services, consult us about MoProClean’s HIPAA policy at 866-777-7941. Our company is HIPAA compliant, and we can readily meet the terms of your BAA. Want to hire us to clean your medical office? Give us a call or search our branch locations, obtain a free estimate, and schedule an appointment all on our website.