Need help performing your HIPAA/Meaningful Use Security Risk Assessment? Good news, HHS has released a tool to help! In partnership with the Office of the National Coordinator, HHS created a tool, user guide, software, tutorial, videos and even an iOS App to help HIPAA covered entities and business associates perform the required HIPAA Risk Analysis.
The HIPAA Security Rule specifically requires (this is not an addressable specification) a Security Risk Analysis:
“Risk analysis (Required). Conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information held by the covered entity or business associate.” 45 CFR 164.308(a)(1)
In addition, those hospitals and eligible professionals seeking to meet meaningful use in order to receive the EHR Incentive dollars or avoid the Medicare payment adjustments must fulfill a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment.
|Objective. Protect electronic health information created or maintained by the certified EHR technology through the implementation of appropriate technical capabilities.Measure. Conduct or review a security risk analysis in accordance with the requirements under 45 CFR 164.308(a)(1) and implement security updates as necessary and correct identified security deficiencies as part of its risk management process.||Objective. Protect electronic health information created or maintained by the Certified EHR Technology through the implementation of appropriate technical capabilities.Measure. Conduct or review a security risk analysis in accordance with the requirements under 45 CFR 164.308(a)(1), including addressing the encryption/security of data stored in Certified EHR Technology in accordance with requirements under 45 CFR 164.312(a)(2)(iv) and 45 CFR 164.306(d)(3), and implement security updates as necessary and correct identified security deficiencies as part of the EP’s risk management process.|
For those hospitals and eligible professionals looking to meet meaningful use, the Security Risk Assessment tool will generate a report that can be provided to auditors. However, the report alone is likely insufficient because both the auditors and the meaningful use requirements (above) require the correction of security deficiencies – so merely running a Security Risk Assessment without taking actions to remedy the problem will not suffice. To read more about meaningful use audits and security risk assessments click here.
In addition to releasing the Security Risk Assessment tool, HHS has created a helpful true/false statement with the Top 10 Myths of Security Risk Analysis. This document highlights the misconceptions regarding the risk assessment requirements, including that all covered entities and business associates (regardless of the size) must conduct a risk assessment pursuant to HIPAA. Importantly, though only eligible professionals & hospitals are eligible for meaningful use incentives and Medicare payment adjustments, business associates must also comply with the HIPAA Security Rule pursuant to the HITECH Act. Therefore, business associates must also conduct security risk assessments, and per recent guidance from HHS, business associates are likely part of the next round of HIPAA audits.
For more information about HIPAA, security risk assessments, and meaningful use please contact Elana Zana.