HIPAA compliance

May 1, 2010
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 changed the way information regarding patient information was shared.

by Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MeD, FAADH
[email protected]

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 changed the way information regarding patient information was shared. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Stimulus Bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). As part of the Stimulus Bill, significant changes and additions to HIPAA will result in changes for dental professionals via the HITECH Act.

Olivia Wann, RDA, BS, has created a program, “HIPAA — What’s New for 2010,” to help dental professionals to understand the new laws. The HITECH Act subjects covered entities and their business associates to periodic audits. Dental practices need to be aware of the implications of the new law; offices can be fined $100 to $50,000 a day for noncompliance. Are you ready?

Participants in the program will:

  • Learn how the HITECH Act increases penalties for non-compliance
  • Understand the legal implications for inappropriate disclosure of information
  • Discuss the new notification system of unsecured, protected health information requirements and the timing of such notification
  • Understand what a special authorization is and how patient photos relate to these marketing rules

Olivia has been consulting in dental offices for over 10 years on compliance issues surrounding HIPAA, OSHA, and other regulations. She has found that the responsibility for office compliance usually falls on the hygienist’s shoulders. In addition to patient care, it is often difficult for hygienists to remain as up-to-date as possible on all of the legalities and regulations to prepare the rest of the dental team. Olivia spends extensive amounts of time reviewing all of the information on a regular basis and condenses the information into a format that hygienists can use in a few hours.

The entire dental team benefits from both the clinical and administrative information she offers. She provides participants in the program with an informative handout and endeavors to make herself available by phone or e-mail after the program for questions once participants return to their offices. She considers herself to be a trainer first while educating on the topic, and she wants the audience to participate in an enjoyable conversation while sharing experiences with her and others in the program. With a bit of a Southern accent, Olivia offers her audiences a comfortable learning environment where people have fun.

Olivia has worked in dental practice as an office manager and was a licensed registered dental assistant. She decided to leave private practice to concentrate on her role as a trainer and started her company, Modern Practice Solutions. She initially began as a practice management consultant but soon learned that compliance issues were often swept under the rug and not addressed properly. She became determined to make compliance policies and manuals easy to use and that the role of office compliance safety or privacy officer was not a dreaded assignment.

A graduate of Tennessee Technology Center as a RDA, Olivia began teaching for a seminar company. The educational director suggested that she consider earning a bachelor’s degree, and she became hooked on education. She graduated magna cum laude from St. Joseph’s College with a bachelor’s of science in health-care administration. She now is a third-year student at the Nashville School of Law and hopes to graduate in 2011 with a doctorate in jurisprudence and be eligible to take the bar in Tennessee.

Olivia is not a person who likes to draw attention to herself but is inspired to teach, motivate, and share bits of knowledge with participants in her programs to allow them the ability to do their jobs better and easier. As a trainer, consultant, and future lawyer, she is dedicated to the dental profession and commits herself to encouraging all who attend her programs. Olivia will be presenting the HIPAA program at the RDH Under One Roof conference on Aug. 6 in Orlando, Fla., as an afternoon general session, and she looks forward to meeting you there.

For more information about Olivia and her programs, contact: [email protected], or visit her Web site: www.modernpracticesol.com.

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and a member of ADHA and other professional associations. Ann-Marie presents continuing-education programs for hygienists and dental team members and has written numerous articles on a variety of topics. She can be reached at [email protected].

More RDH Articles