One of the last acts of Donald Trump’s presidency was to sign bill HR 7898 into law on January 5, 2021. This is more commonly known as the HIPAA Safe Harbor Bill, and it made some significant changes to the world of cybersecurity in healthcare. In short, it is now more important than ever for HIPAA-compliant companies to invest in cybersecurity.
What is the HIPAA Safe Harbor Bill?
This bill was unanimously passed by the senate in December 2020, and it makes direct amendments to the HITECH act. Effectively, its main aim is to make it a requirement of the Department of Health and Human Services to incentivize best-practice cybersecurity for meeting HIPAA requirements.
As a brief overview, this new bill means that the Department of Health and Human Services has to look at an organization’s security practices when they conduct any HIPAA enforcement actions. They must look back over the past year, detailing all the different security practices in place. Another key element of this bill states that the HHS can actually reduce fines or the length of audits when relating to security incidents.
What does this mean for the cybersecurity industry?
Effectively, the HIPAA Safe Harbor Bill is trying to promote cybersecurity. Or, more accurately, it’s encouraging companies and organizations to start investing more in their security efforts to meet the industry’s best standards. Under this new legislation, if a company is shown to meet these standards, they could have fines reduced and audits shortened. The fact that you have met the standards shows that you have taken cybersecurity and patient confidentiality seriously.
Conversely, organizations that don’t meet the cybersecurity standards won’t enjoy these benefits. It’s seen as a simple way of demonstrating the importance of cybersecurity in the healthcare world. If you comply and do your best to improve cybersecurity to the industry standards, then you have nothing to worry about. In fact, it can benefit you, as mentioned above.
What should your organization do?
Do you work in the healthcare industry and follow HIPAA compliance? If so, the next steps for you are extremely simple. First, find a company providing IT services in Fort Wayne that provides cybersecurity services for businesses. From here, you can develop a security strategy that keeps your network and data protected and in full compliance.
The benefit of working with an outsourced company is that they will know the industry regulations and standards. Getting yourself up to standard should be the bare minimum—ideally, you need to go above and beyond!
This new bill offers reprieves and benefits for companies that adhere to the best standards of cybersecurity. So, it’s more important than ever to review your security solutions and ensure your business is rock solid.
The HIPAA Safe Harbor Law definitely promotes the importance of cybersecurity in the healthcare world. It’s the latest in a long line of bills that aims to force organizations to take this seriously.