Collector – August 2019 - 33

40%
of the cases
where HHS
has taken
enforcement
action have
involved willful
neglect.
Source: HHS

client doesn't sign it, a least you have the
due diligence showing you asked for one and
offered one and you follow it."
Often, agencies sign a BAA when
beginning work with a new client and then
never look at it again unless a problem
arises. Periodically reviewing and updating
agreements helps ensure they stay current
and that you remain aware of your
responsibilities.
"If an agency has a BAA, it's probably the
one that was signed when they first signed
that client," Brownlee said. "I don't think
agencies are updating them often. When
Master Service Agreements come up for
renewal, also updating the BAAs is a smart
practice."

REQUIRE VENDOR AGREEMENTS
Agencies typically use third-party
services as part of the collection process.
Requiring such providers to sign BAAs
containing the same provisions as the
BAAs between the agency and its covered
entity clients helps ensure data integrity
and reduce risk.

COLLECTOR 08.19

"If an agency is passing PII or PHI to
a vendor for any purpose-skip tracing,
insurance scrubbing, NCOA, dialing
solutions, software providers-they
need to have a BAA with those entities
to protect the data and ensure the
vendor is utilizing data encryption and
security methods that meet the agency's
requirements," Brownlee said.

CONDUCT A RISK ASSESSMENT
To understand where potential liabilities
are most ripe, agencies can conduct a
risk assessment. Third-party companies
specializing in information security can
provide a thorough audit to identify
weaknesses and recommend solutions.
Companies that are unable to commit
resources to a third party can conduct a
self-assessment.
"ACA members can do their own data
security risk assessment using a free
tool: NIST special publication 800-66,"
Bender said. "It lays out exactly how to
conduct a risk assessment on your own.
It's a simple tool to create your own
review protocol, and follows the review
format HHS uses. It also lets you know
the policies and procedures or other
written compliance materials you should
have to be HIPAA compliant."

THE FUTURE
Although HHS enforcement actions have
focused primarily on health care providers,
business associates, including collection
agencies, face significant risk.
"About 20 percent of the companies on the
HHS HIPAA data breach 'wall of shame' are
business associates, even though they haven't
really begun looking at business associates
yet," Brownlee said. "Wait until HHS enters
our space, which they will do because more
hospitals are outsourcing accounts in
both early-out and bad debt. If HHS starts
sending audit notices to agencies, there will
be a panic because many agencies are not
ready."
Tim Dressen is a communications consultant
and former editor of Collector magazine.

KEYNOTES

1

Although HHS
enforcement actions have
focused primarily on health
care providers, business
associates, including
collection agencies, face
significant risk.

2

Your policies,
procedures and
practices should include
stringent data security
measures. Make sure
your business associate
agreements are thorough
and current.

3

Storing and transmitting
only encrypted data
significantly reduces the
potential severity of a
breach.
33



Collector – August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector – August 2019

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
How a background in making people laugh has helped Roger Weiss, ACA’s new president, educate and engage an industry.
No Good Option
“You’ve got to be a compliance cheerleader for the organization, and that takes a lot of energy.”
Protecting Health Care Data
Calendar
Honor Roll
Education Spotlight
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Membership
Last Word
Collector – August 2019 - Cover1
Collector – August 2019 - Cover2
Collector – August 2019 - 1
Collector – August 2019 - 2
Collector – August 2019 - 3
Collector – August 2019 - 4
Collector – August 2019 - President’s Page
Collector – August 2019 - Industry News
Collector – August 2019 - 7
Collector – August 2019 - 8
Collector – August 2019 - 9
Collector – August 2019 - Best Practices
Collector – August 2019 - 11
Collector – August 2019 - FYI
Collector – August 2019 - 13
Collector – August 2019 - Collection Tips
Collector – August 2019 - 15
Collector – August 2019 - How a background in making people laugh has helped Roger Weiss, ACA’s new president, educate and engage an industry.
Collector – August 2019 - 17
Collector – August 2019 - 18
Collector – August 2019 - 19
Collector – August 2019 - 20
Collector – August 2019 - 21
Collector – August 2019 - 22
Collector – August 2019 - 23
Collector – August 2019 - No Good Option
Collector – August 2019 - 25
Collector – August 2019 - 26
Collector – August 2019 - “You’ve got to be a compliance cheerleader for the organization, and that takes a lot of energy.”
Collector – August 2019 - 28
Collector – August 2019 - 29
Collector – August 2019 - Protecting Health Care Data
Collector – August 2019 - 31
Collector – August 2019 - 32
Collector – August 2019 - 33
Collector – August 2019 - Calendar
Collector – August 2019 - Honor Roll
Collector – August 2019 - Education Spotlight
Collector – August 2019 - 37
Collector – August 2019 - 38
Collector – August 2019 - 39
Collector – August 2019 - 40
Collector – August 2019 - 41
Collector – August 2019 - 42
Collector – August 2019 - 43
Collector – August 2019 - 44
Collector – August 2019 - 45
Collector – August 2019 - 46
Collector – August 2019 - 47
Collector – August 2019 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector – August 2019 - Ad Index
Collector – August 2019 - Membership
Collector – August 2019 - 51
Collector – August 2019 - Last Word
Collector – August 2019 - Cover3
Collector – August 2019 - Cover4
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