The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is the United States legislation that ensures privacy and safeguarding of protected health information (PHI). Medical documentation includes a multitude of personal information that the typical person would not want the entire world having access to. To protect this information from getting into the wrong hands, HIPAA was enacted to punish persons and entities who, by negligence or intention, share personal information without it being medically necessary for treatment. HIPAA outlines specific information that can be shared and what has to be protected. It also specifies how long records should be kept and how they should be destroyed to ensure continued protection long after the records are needed. As a healthcare entity, you need a document destruction company you can count on to understand and comply with HIPAA laws and the hefty fines that can be acquired if the laws are broken.
HIPAA Compliant Shredding
HIPAA is a “reasonable and appropriate” law, which means that it does not specifically state how records should be destroyed but states that covered entities should apply appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of protected health information in any form, including paper. The intent is to prevent improper use or disclosure of that protected information in connection with its disposal. Suggested methods of records destruction may include but are not limited to shredding, burning, pulping, or pulverizing so that the information is made unreadable and indecipherable and unable to be reconstructed. A 2006 recommendation suggests that paper destruction include cross cut shredders.
HIPAA Shredding Services
HIPAA compliant shredding companies require shredding technicians to be HIPAA certified, which means they are bound by the same HIPAA laws as certified medical personnel and can be held legally responsible for discussing, sharing, or not properly destroying PHI. HIPAA compliant companies will use devices, such as cross shredders, incinerators, or pulverizers to completely destroy documents according to HIPAA laws. A legitimate company will sign for the documents to be destroyed and supply the entity with a Certificate of Destruction, which essentially relieves the entity of liability by taking custody of the documents.
On-site shredding offers an entity the ability to witness the document destruction process, from start to finish. On-site shredding companies bring mobile shredding to their clients and destroy the documents on-site and then haul away the remains. This process is the best way to ensure confidentiality and allows the client to verify the chain of custody.
Off-site shredding companies either pick up locked containers full of PHI or empty the containers into locked trucks and transport the documents to an offsite location where they are shred, burned, or pulverized.
When you trust a paper shredding company to destroy your documents, you are putting your legal liability in their hands. Find a HIPAA certified secure document destruction company you can trust. If you are looking for a secure paper shredding company in Santa Maria, contact us at Shred 2 You. We are the premier HIPAA compliant mobile shredding company. We manage secure shred canisters and can shred your documents on-site. Call for your quote today!