Taking Care of the To-Do's with National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day and a HIPAA Walkthrough!
The end of the year can be quite the chaotic time, with holiday parties, shopping, and completing your end of year compliance responsibilities! It is easy to forget, we all often set aside tasks that need to be completed. Which brings us to ask, when was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator? Did you know, National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day is this November 15th!? Having a reminder to clean out the refrigerator is a great idea, chances are it is long overdue! Along with the task of cleaning out the refrigerator, when was the last time you performed a HIPAA Walkthrough? With 2019 less than a month away, wouldn't it be nice to ensure your organization's policies and procedures are up-to-date? Well, we are here to help with both! Here are our steps to get both accomplished!
Step 1: Empty each shelf
Fridge: Empty the shelf and be surprised at what might be found! Shelf by shelf, empty and remove all contents what is that in the back? Is it a start to a science fair project or a previous meal?
HIPAA: Look around and ask yourself, do you see documents containing PHI that might be visible to unauthorized individuals?
Take a moment to look over desks, shelves, and other locations to ensure documents containing PHI are not visible to unauthorized individuals. Any documents containing PHI (i.e. appointment schedules, census lists, physician orders, EOB's, transcripts, superbills etc.) should not be visible to unauthorized individuals including staff members and the public.
Step 2: Completely wipe down the inside
Fridge: Completely wipe down and sanitize the inside of the refrigerator. Scrub off the dried ketchup and spilled milk. Let it sparkle when complete!
HIPAA: Think of a HIPAA Walkthrough as an opportunity to perform a "wipe down" and look for areas that need to be cleaned up and improved.
Identify the areas that are at risk, that may be unsecured leading to a potential breach. Identify and create a process to successfully remedy those areas that appeared unsecured. The actual "wipe down" occurs once those areas have been successfully addressed and are no longer at risk.
Step 3: Throw away all expired food
Fridge: Check all the items in the fridge, toss out any expired items, such as old condiments, expired salad dressing or taco sauce packets! It is safe to assume that nobody wants expired food. When food is expired, for health and safety reasons, it is best to throw it out.
HIPAA: During your Walkthrough evaluate any expired forms and information.
On your HIPAA Walkthrough, there should be a section that talks about your Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP). Is your NPP updated and posted in proper areas? If you are not using an NPP with the updated HIPAA Omnibus information, we recommend disposing of the expired NPP and using a revised version. If your State law requires other additional information on your NPP, that information should be added the federally required information.
Step 4: Restock shelves and drawers with fresh supplies
Fridge: Go shopping and re-stock your refrigerator with good food, fresh produce, drinks, condiments and maybe even a treat!
HIPAA: Performing a HIPAA Walkthrough annually is an opportunity to "restock" by ensuring your organization is up-to-date and in compliance with HIPAA Privacy and HIPAA Security standards. Restocking with current information that meets or exceeds HIPAA Privacy and Security standards is "good food" for your organization. Part of the re-stock process should also include an annual refresher training in place to be completed by all of your employees.
Step 5: Enjoy your clean and organized hard work!
Cleaning out the refrigerator is generally a dreaded task, but important none the less. Once the task is complete, it feels good to enjoy having a nice clean and organized refrigerator. The same can be said for compliance with HIPAA Privacy and Security standards.
Conducting your HIPAA Walkthrough helps identify HIPAA Privacy and Security areas that require attention. At the discretion of your compliance officer, correcting problems that were encountered during the walkthrough can prevent violations and ensure compliance with HIPAA standards.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone: 855-427-0427 or by email: [email protected].