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EHNAC, HIMSS, NACHA and WEDI release industry white paper

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), HIMSS Medical Banking Project, NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association, and the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), today released a white paper, “Compliance Guidelines for Financial Institutions in the Healthcare Sector: HITECH and the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.”
 
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act directly affects today’s financial institutions and their services for the healthcare sector by modifying and amplifying existing data privacy and security rules for protected healthcare information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This white paper addresses those issues by assisting financial institutions in evaluating eligibility and building a compliance program. Financial institutions and other interested parties may download a copy of the full white paper here.
 
Authors of the white paper included specialists in financial services, healthcare, regulatory compliance, and privacy and security from the four organizations and other key stakeholder participants. As an industry resource, the white paper covers the applicable regulations and their implications for financial institutions, in addition to the following guidelines:
 
HIPAA’s application and status
Internal reporting infrastructure
Risk analysis
Technology systems
Communications planning
Workforce training
Third-party compliance tool sets

“Banks, revenue cycle management firms, and other financial service firms that process protected health information must adhere to the HITECH Act’s strict and sometimes complex standards for privacy, security and processing,” says Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC. “EHNAC is proud to collaborate with these respected and influential industry stakeholders to provide better compliance education for those processing payments and other financial transactions in healthcare.”
 
Jim Schuping, executive vice president/CEO of WEDI adds: “This white paper will serve as an excellent education tool providing guidance to the financial services industry and other interested parties seeking strategies for compliance with the current HIPAA and HITECH Act’s requirements. WEDI is very pleased to be a participant in this industry partnership.”
 
“The release of this cross-industry-sponsored guide is both timely and necessary since, facilitated by the Affordable Care Act, the industry is now focused on transforming the business of healthcare from paper to electronic processes,” said John Casillas, senior vice president, HIMSS Medical Banking Project. “Banks, financial institutions and healthcare financial systems consider privacy and security a priority, but the guide will help clarify the impact of HIPAA and HITECH legislation on operations as we collectively pursue efficient electronic business processes in healthcare.”
 
“Financial institutions across the country have been and continue to play a significant role in providing services that help to streamline payment processes for their business customers in healthcare,” said Janet O. Estep, NACHA president and CEO. “NACHA welcomed the opportunity to participate in this dialogue and support the creation of a resource that will serve as a strong reference for those processing healthcare payments.”
 
The white paper builds on an earlier paper entitled “Financial Services Current State in Healthcare,” which addresses the current state of health data protection needs within the financial services industry.

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