HIPAA certification training for employees of HIPAA-covered entities or vendors that provide products or services to the healthcare industry has several advantages. In this post, we explain the benefits of HIPAA certification, but first it is important to explain what HIPAA certification training involves and what HIPAA certification will not achieve.
What Does HIPAA Certification Training Involve?
HIPAA certification training involves providing the workforce with training to meet the requirements of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. Workforce means all individuals working in an organization, which includes management, employees, interns, students, and volunteers.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires HIPAA training to be provided “as necessary and appropriate for members of the workforce to carry out their functions.” HIPAA states training should be provided to “each new member of the workforce within a reasonable period of time after the person joins the Covered Entity’s workforce” and again when “functions are affected by a material change in policies or procedures.” The HIPAA Security Rule requires security awareness training to be provided to the workforce within a reasonable time after a person joins the workforce. Refresher HIPAA and security awareness training must also be provided, with the best practice being annual refresher training.
HIPAA certification training is provided by third-party training and compliance firms that offer certification at the end of the training courses. The certification is provided when employees attest that they have completed the training course and have understood the content. Each employee is then issued with a dated HIPAA certificate that confirms they have been trained on the requirements of HIPAA. The certificate is then updated when refresher training is provided.
What Does HIPAA Certification Demonstrate?
HIPAA certification demonstrates an individual has completed a HIPAA training course and understands their responsibilities with respect to the HIPAA Rules. HIPAA certification can also be used by a HIPAA-covered entity or business associate of a HIPAA-covered entity to demonstrate to regulators that training has been provided to the workforce. This could be produced in the event of an audit or compliance investigation.
HIPAA certification will not, however, serve as legal proof that an organization is HIPAA compliant, nor will HIPAA certification absolve an individual or organization of their legal obligations under the HIPAA Rules. That is because HIPAA certification does not prevent an individual or organization from violating the HIPAA Rules and, as such, HIPAA certification is not officially recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.
HIPAA Certification Training Benefits
HIPAA certification is not officially recognized, but there are important benefits for organizations and individuals that undergo HIPAA certification training.
When businesses obtain HIPAA certification, it shows they have sufficiently demonstrated they are fully compliant with the HIPAA Rules at the point in time when the audit of their policies, procedures, and documentation took place. Organizations that undergo regular audits and assessments will have a provable track record of their good faith effort to comply with the HIPAA Rules, including ensuring their workforce is fully trained. HIPAA certification can be used to demonstrate to regulators a commitment to compliance which may reduce liability.
Businesses that obtain HIPAA certification can gain a competitive advantage, as they will be able to demonstrate to prospective clients that they have implemented an effective, ongoing HIPAA compliance program.
Employees of HIPAA-covered entities and business associates that are trained by third-party companies that offer HIPAA certification as proof of completion of their training courses will be able to demonstrate they are aware of their responsibilities under HIPAA, which can give them an advantage when they are seeking employment in healthcare.