Whether you run an animal hospital, dentist office, or a regular doctor’s office, two significant legal acts and administrations require your compliance. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) aims to protect your patients’ sensitive health information from being disclosed to others without their consent or knowledge. Tending to the other end of your practice, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures your workplace adheres to safe and healthy work conditions. Both require you to comply with set standards and rules in order for you to continue your business. As a means to determine if your business complies and implements the necessary protocols, HIPAA and OSHA administer audits.
HIPAA and OSHA evaluations happen annually or can occur sporadically depending on whether they have reason to think you’re failing to comply. Most evaluations occur after a business completes its mandatory training and often without notice. They consist of various components, ranging from workplace inspections to procedural reviews. Some of the major factors they evaluate and look for include:
- Workplace hazards
- Potential causes of risks
- Equipment hygiene
- Overall hygiene
- Equipment quality
- Emergency exits and procedures
- Worker complaints
If a hazard or unmet regulation is noted, your practice may receive a notice for immediate action, a follow-up investigation, and repercussions like varying fines. Here is how to pass HIPAA and OSHA audits with flying colors.
Education and knowledge are essential tools to passing any test. Educating yourself on all things related to OSHA and HIPAA helps you understand the importance of complying with them and what they will be auditing. There are also plenty of resources that explain the audit process in detail, giving you insight into what to expect.
Select the Best Training Materials
Before any inspection, you and your staff first need to undergo training. Gamma Compliance Solutions offers different HIPAA and OSHA training courses, equipping you with informational, beneficial, and easy-to-understand manuals. In training, you learn more about the specific regulations pertaining to your business and implementation methods. Not only does it provide you and your team with the specific protocols to practice and what to fulfill to pass your audit, but training also educates you on skills to improve your workplace and quality of work. Once you complete and pass training, you’ll receive certification and be ready for an evaluation.
Although OSHA and HIPAA mandate annual training for all workers, you can help your practice pass the audits and implement the regulations with more training sessions. Allowing your workers access to numerous training enables them to refresh their minds and enforce the importance of implementation. Plus, if changes occur to OSHA and HIPAA regulations, you want to make sure you train your staff on the updates.
Keep an Eye Out for Regulation Changes
As previously mentioned, OSHA and HIPAA regulations are susceptible to changes. Some changes that might occur include labeling processes, documentation, equipment standards, new health regulations, and repercussions. You can stay in the know of all the policy changes by checking official governmental HIPAA and OSHA websites and through updated training courses. Keeping an eye out for regulation updates ensures that your company implements the latest protocols and prepares you for when the evaluations check you match their new requirements.
Organize and Create Clear Documentations
Documents and legal records play a crucial role for HIPAA and OSHA. Creating a filing system that’s easy to follow and secured from harm and outsider access establishes successful documentation practices. An organized system also ensures that you have all the required documentation and accessibility to find and hand off certain documents for the auditors to inspect. It’s also essential that any papers or notes you take feature clear documentation and remain in high-quality condition.
Take Thorough Notes
Keeping thorough notes creates concise records that you can use as evidence of certain transactions, procedures, clients, and statistics. The more detailed the notes, the easier they are to understand and explain the truth. On top of providing clear receipts to share with inspectors, thorough records also keep you in the know of all things related to your business, providing you the necessary details to answer questions asked by HIPAA and OSHA evaluators.
Designate Representatives and Enforcers
You can designate representatives and regulation enforcers of your own to assure that your business complies with and implements the protocols. Establishing your own enforcers acts as a safeguard and helps you practice for the audit. It creates opportunities like test runs of the evaluations, checking all the same requirements that a HIPAA and OSHA auditor will evaluate.
When answering questions or showing documentation to the auditors, be honest. More likely than not, the evaluators will find out the truth in the end anyway. Don’t be afraid to admit any health, safety, and security issues your business might be facing. HIPAA and OSHA came into fruition with the hopes of providing ethical and safe practices establishing resources to help workplaces achieve those goals. They are there to help you succeed. Plus, being honest and submitting authentic documentation further benefits you, your workers, and your clients by improving your practice with safe disciplines and environments.
Failing certain aspects of the audits or noted hazards lead to various repercussions. The severity of repercussions consists of different tiers. For HIPAA, the consequence categorizes penalties as unintentional or unwilling inability to comply, gaining or sharing information under false pretenses, and intentional failure to comply with regulations. OSHA’s repercussions are classified into four hazard tiers: willful, serious (violations that lead to death or severe injuries), other-than-serious hazards, and repeated violations. Consequences for not complying or meeting HIPAA and OSHA standards include costly fines and jail time.
As a business in the healthcare field, passing HIPAA and OSHA evaluations hold a lot of importance. They ensure that everyone involved within the practice, from patients to workers, receives care for their welfare and get to practice their rights. Gamma Compliance Solutions offers numerous resources to help you strengthen your business’ ethical practices through training manuals and educational blogs. With the right tools and knowledge, you’ll be able to pass HIPAA and OSHA audits with flying colors.