A document is one of the most critical means of communicating with customers, and it often contains extremely personal information. This can apply to any industry, but especially finance, healthcare or insurance. So it's important to know if your mailing operations and processes are compliant.
When you are "in compliance" your business is meeting regulations and standards on the handling of customer data and communications. Over the years, regulations for customer communications have become more complicated, as well as increasingly difficult and costly to manage. Currently, many companies have added temporary compliance solutions in the form of labor-intensive processes and have not yet created an efficient workflow with compliance in mind. Below we go over some of the compliance rules you should be aware of and how your business can adapt!
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1996 to establish and protect privacy in the healthcare industry. HIPAA affects healthcare providers, health plans and healthcare clearinghouses, as well as companies that work with healthcare providers and might handle their patients' sensitive information. This includes financial or insurance professionals that work with U.S. healthcare providers. In order to avoid violating HIPPA laws, companies need to protect any Personal Health Information (PHI) that could help someone determine a person's identity, including their name, email address, and birthdate.
Most importantly, the delivery methods of customer communications in the healthcare industry have to meet certain compliance standards. For example, if you send PHI by email, you need to use an email encryption service that disguises the information so it is only read by the authorized recipient. If you are sending PHI through the U.S. mail, which is often the most common form of delivery, you also have requirements. You can send it via First-Class Mail® which is a protected class of mail and acceptable for certain types of notices. In some cases, Certified Mail is necessary because it proves that the mail was delivered and verified when it was received.
Because being in compliance is an important and complex process that can involve fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 per penalty it is recommended to consult with an expert. This can be a mailing compliance specialist or healthcare compliance professionals, that can analyze your current workflow and suggest ways to improve and streamline the compliance process. This ensures that whether you are healthcare providers or even a business provider or associate of a healthcare provider that your mailing process is efficient and compliant.
To learn more about outgoing mail compliance in your industry or to speak to a compliance specialist contact your Quadient Representative. They can put you in touch with an expert. Or ask to speak to a specialist, and we'll contact you shortly!