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Bank Leaders, Are You Targeting The Medical Industry?

Strategically Speaking
Nov 20, 2013

Author: Lori Read,

Have You Covered Your Tracks on HIPAA and HITECH? 

More and more banks are developing vertical markets in the medical industry and classifying themselves as a medical bank. However, some banks have not covered the bases on HIPAA and HITECH with what I call the “base rule”: people, products and processes. Banks, aka “Business Associates” now have specified audits and notification plans they must follow and can be held accountable for. It is the bank’s duty to educate employees on HIPAA and HITECH rules and the personal liability associated with violations. So, if you do not have a clearly defined HIPAA and HITECH policy and appropriate procedures in place to mitigate or eliminate risk, I would highly suggest pushing this to the top of your list!

Here are five items to consider:

  1. Do you have a “Business Associate” agreement in place for the healthcare clients for whom you process payments?
  2. Have you taken the time to properly document your processing procedures to ensure the safety of healthcare information?  If so, do you update your procedures immediately as processes change and evolve?
  3. What measures regarding privacy and safety have you taken with lockbox employees to ensure information seen and processed is kept confidential?  Some examples are prohibiting use of cell phones in the operations area, lockbox work such as documents and checks are kept in locked storage until processed, authorized personnel in the processing area only.
  4. Does your organization understand the requirements and penalties enforced under both HIPAA and HITECH?
  5. Do you provide on-going HIPAA and HITECH education for both sales and operational staff?

Many banks do not understand the effects of a potential or classified breach from both a legal and financial perspective.  As an employer, you have an obligation to educate your employees on the individual fines and potential jail time enforced under both laws.

Medical banking is definitely a way to differentiate yourself from your competition, and with proper due diligence, you can create a niche market with a peace of mind! 

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