March 29, 2017

Reminder: HIPAA Requirements and Reporting of Incidents

By msequeira

Reminder Regarding HIPAA Requirements and Reporting of Incidents

As a reminder, HIPAA requires that all faculty and staff of the UNM Health Sciences Center appropriately protect the privacy of patient information (protected health information or PHI).  Below are some tips regarding how to avoid the inappropriate release of PHI:

  • Make sure not to share sensitive PHI with others who shouldn’t have access, including co-workers or personal acquaintances.
  • Avoid accessing a patient’s record unless needed for work or with written permission from the patient.
  • Minimize occurrences of others overhearing patient information. Do not use a patient’s whole name within hearing distance of others.
  • Secure all paperwork containing PHI by placing in a drawer or folder when not in use. Cover charts so patient names are not visible. Never leave records and other PHI unattended.
  • Close computer programs containing patient information when not in use. Practice management systems with automatic time out settings can be valuable in this regard.
  • Always use a cover sheet when faxing PHI.
  • Never share passwords between staff members.
  • Properly dispose of information containing PHI by shredding paper files.
  • It’s also important to make sure any vendors or other businesses associated with your practice are properly following HIPAA standards as well.

If you are aware or suspect that a potential HIPAA violation has occurred or if you have questions or concerns regarding HIPAA, there are many avenues to report such concerns or incidents, see below:

We always suggest that you first:

  • Talk to your supervisor.  This is usually the best and quickest way to get an answer to a question or address a concern.

You may also:

  • Call the HSC Privacy Office:
    We are available Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm at (505) 272-1493/272-1521
  • Visit the HSC Privacy Office:
    We are located at 1650 University Blvd NE on the third floor.
  • Call the HSC Compliance Hotline: 
    If you want to ask a question or make a report anonymously, call the Hotline at 1-888-899-6092. The hotline is handled by an outside provider and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Keep in mind when calling, that information about "who, what, when, and where" will allow us to further assist you in resolving any concerns you may have.
  • Make an anonymous report online: 
    A new feature from our Hotline vendor allows users to make reports online. Follow this link to make a report 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: EthicsPoint.

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