Is Your File Management Strategy Compliant with the Affordable Care Act?

It’s no secret that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created a batch of new requirements and laws for the healthcare-related companies, including how companies manage files. In fact, this very same act delegated that paper records need to be converted into electronic medical records at the start of the New Year (January 1, 2014), causing a mad rush for healthcare providers to bring their offices up to these new standards of file management. Given the rollout timeline and adjustments the industry has just undergone, the room for error can be large. Can you confidently answer this question without hesitation: Is your file management strategy compliant with the ACA and HIPAA?

Sidestepping Legal Uncertainty with Off-Site Record Storage

Let’s just take those freshly digitized paper records for example. Just because they are now made up of bytes instead of bark, doesn’t mean that these files can legally destroy just yet. Health insurance issuers offering individual health insurance coverage are required to manage files for six year records of all claims and notices associated with the internal claims and appeals process.  As the ACA states, “An issuer must make such records available for examination by the claimant or State or Federal oversight agency upon request.” Even when the insurer is terminating coverage of a customer, it’s important that they still have access to records in accordance with standards. It’s because of the new shelf life for managing files that California-based healthcare providers should think about using off-site record storage to house these sensitive files, especially since Corodata meets state, local, and federal guidelines. This way, you’ll not only be in compliance with the law, but you will also be gaining much-needed office space.

Understanding HIPAA , ACA and You

But ACA isn’t the only law that healthcare providers should be wary of when managing files, let’s not forget that the ACA also expanded Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provisions. Now, it’s even more imperative to ensure your company is HIPAA compliant. Technical, physical, and administrative safeguards need to be in place when handling patient records and sensitive information. It’s in a company’s best interest to stay up-to-date on HIPAA changes to ensure ongoing compliance. Back in an 2005 interview with TechRepublic.com, Cass Solomon, an IT audit consultant, suggested three things about your data that comes into play under HIPAA: integrity, availability, and confidentiality. Nowadays, the same rules still apply. According to the Forbes article, “Three Emerging Tech Tools Affecting Healthcare:” “Organizations must consider not only whether a specific technology model makes life easier for its employees and patients, but also whether they have the internal resources and expertise to implement the technology effectively.”

Using Active File Management to Maintain Compliance

If backup and storage are critical for compliance, our suite of active file management services takes those file boxes from you, barcodes each file and stores them so you can easily retrieve them at your own convenience. This is especially handy because companies are now required to make sure enrollee are able to access files that pertain to them in a timely fashion, which is a task active record storage can easily solve. Here’s another added bonus of actively managing files: a well organized system reduces the liabilities associated with storing paper records on-site and keeps providers compliant with ACA requirements. Don’t navigate the maze of new regulations by your lonesome, let us help you make sure your record keeping is safe, sound and efficient.  Set up a free, in office consultation with us today!