HHS Mandatory Email & Text Message Encryption Rules with Only One Exception for Informed Patients

Duration: 90 Minutes
Instructor: Paul R. Hales
Webinar Id: 803376


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HHS and CMS have confirmed the requirement that all Emails and Text Messages containing Protected Health Information (PHI) must be encrypted. There is only one exception. Patients have the absolute right to communicate with Covered Entities by unencrypted email and text message - if the patients have been informed there is some level of risk and prefer using unencrypted electronic transmissions.

It also will explain when Emails and Text Messages containing PHI must be encrypted and the simple 3 Step HIPAA Safeguard that fully protects Covered Entities from HIPAA violations when communicating with patients by unencrypted email and text message - even if the unencrypted transmission is intercepted.

Regular (unencrypted) Email and Text Messaging are effective engagement and communication tools for routine communications like appointment reminders. Patients like and have the right to use them.

The Internet is awash with misinformation about Health Care Email and Text Messaging that can get Covered Entities into serious trouble. Part of the problem is a common misunderstanding of how HIPAA defines PHI. It's much more than information about an individual's medical condition, prescribed treatment, diagnosis, or medications as the webinar will explain.

On April 1, 2021, the U. S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous 'blockbuster' decision about the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that affects Health Care text messaging. The webinar will cover that decision and explain why it did not give blanket permission to text patients. HIPAA - and the 3-Step Safeguard are still in full force and effect.

The key takeaway is how Covered Entities can protect themselves fully from HIPAA violations and comply with the patient’s right to receive unencrypted Emails and Texts containing PHI. Just a simple 3-Step Safeguard is all that is needed.

Why should you Attend:
You will find out how to use and document the 3-Step Safeguard to protect your organization when communicating with patients by regular Email and Text Message. The 3 Step Safeguard is a complete "Safe Harbor" from HIPAA violations and exposure to unquestionable, serious Risks if you don’t take advantage of this safeguard.

Areas Covered in the Session:

  • Overview - Key Takeaways
    • When You Must Encrypt Emails and Text Messages with PHI - Exception
    • Why is this so important?
    • Temptations
  • HIPAA Rules for Email & Text Messaging
  • Key Definitions
    • 3-Step Safeguard - Patient Emails & Text Messages
    • TCPA - Effect of April 1, 2021, Supreme Court Decision
    • When and Why You Must Encrypt
    • Tips for Enterprise-wide Compliance

Who Will Benefit:
  • Health Care Covered Entities
    • Health Care Providers
      • Clinics
      • Hospitals
      • Health Care Practices of all types and sizes
      • Physical, Occupational, and Behavioral Therapists
    • Health Plans
      • Group Health Plan Administrators
      • Third-Party Group Health Plan Administrators
      • Health Plan Administrators
    • Personnel
      • Executive Management - all Covered Entities
      • Compliance Committee - Covered Entity Board of Trustees
      • Practice Managers - Covered Entities
      • Chief Compliance Officer - all Covered Entities
      • HIPAA Compliance Officials - Privacy and Security
      • Patient Engagement and Marketing Specialists
      • Patient Outreach Coordinators
      • Risk Managers
      • Covered Entity Owners and Senior Management
      • Compliance Committee - Physician, Practitioner-owned Covered Entities
      • Attorneys for Covered Entities - In-house and Outside Counsel
  • Vendors and Business Associates
    • Vendors of Email and Text Message patient engagement services
    • Billing companies
    • Collection Agencies
    • Practice Management Companies
    • Vendors of patient satisfaction surveys using Email and Text Messages
    • Health Care Marketing Consultants
    • Health Care Compliance Consultants
    • Law Firms

Speaker Profile
Paul R. Hales, J.D. is widely recognized for his expert knowledge and ability to explain the HIPAA Rules clearly in plain language. Paul is an attorney licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States and a graduate of Columbia University Law School with an international practice in HIPAA privacy and security. He is the author of all content in The HIPAA E-Tool®, an Internet-based, complete HIPAA compliance solution with separate editions for Covered Entities, Business Associates, Health Plans and Third Party Administrators.

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