In April 14, 2007, congress approved additional patient privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The new legislation was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), establishing standards that provide patients with increased access to their medical records and more control over how their personal health information is used and diiTraceosed. It effects virtually every organization with employees.
Mail centers are becoming important links in addressing the compliance issues raised by the new HIPAA legislation. The responsibility to protect and control confidential information has become a critical point of liability. Companies like Charnstrom, Hamilton Sorter, Secure Mailing Systems, and Signode have introduced new products that are worth considering. These products can help secure the privacy and integrity of incoming packages and messenger deliveries during transit. In addition, some products can be used to secure packages as they are staged prior to deliveries.
Our clients, in the medical, insurance and health industries have responded to the new legislation by adopting new mail handling policies and using new, inexpensive methods and equipment. The products that have received the greatest interest include (a) secured pouches for distributing mail, (b) lockable mail bins, (c) secured mail carts and (d) digital scanning technology. Even if your organization is not in the health and insurance business, you may have responsibilities to protect the privacy of mail and other documents you handle.