With all the talk about the new healthcare law and, hopefully, the millions of people who will now have health coverage who didn’t before, it seems like a good time to remind healthcare providers and patients about the laws regarding “Protected Health Information (PHI)”.
The laws regulating the secure storage and disposal of PHI are becoming more and more well known. HITECH and HIPPA were put in place to ensure patient information is protected as the industry makes strides towards more easily accessed health information for providers.
The laws require that all personnel handling the disposal of protected health information (PHI) be properly trained in the process. No PHI document is to be dumped into public waste management facilities. All PHI paper materials are to be destroyed by: shredding, burning, or pulping. Prescription bottles with patient information are to be stored in opaque bags and destroyed properly by a disposal vendor. Any digital information is to be cleared or purged from the system.
These laws have been put into place to ensure everyone’s safety. It is extremely important that these guidelines are followed meticulously. Providing the best care for patients requires diligence in keeping their sensitive information safe.
Non-compliance is not only irresponsible to patients—it is EXPENSIVE. Penalties upwards of $250,000 can be fined for “willful neglect”. It is the hope of the government that a safer environment will be created for patients.
For more information or assistance in shredding sensitive information, visit www.hvshred.com