AVH: Outsourcing won’t jeopardize patients’ privacy | AspenTimes.com

AVH: Outsourcing won’t jeopardize patients’ privacy

Eben Harrell

A spokeswoman for Aspen Valley Hospital said yesterday the outsourcing of medical records to a California firm will not compromise their confidentiality.The hospital’s community relations director, Ginny Dyche, responded yesterday to a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle titled “Outsourcing trend may be health-care risk.” The June 25 article reported that outsourcing of medical records to foreign and domestic workers “has created concerns about potential HIPAA violations.”The article reported the case of a foreign transcriber who threatened to post personal medical records on the Internet unless he was paid more money.HIPAA, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a guideline for electronic health insurance claims that includes strict protections of patient privacy.The hospital is currently in negotiations to give control of its billing and medical records departments to First Consulting Group, a Long Beach-based consulting firm that specializes in outsourcing.The firm, which represents New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania among others, has offices in Vietnam, India, Germany, England, Denmark and various cities across the United States.Dyche said Aspen Valley Hospital would likely not utilize the consulting group’s foreign offices. She also said all of the hospital’s subcontracts include strict HIPAA regulations.”When you enter an agreement [with an outsourcing firm], part of that agreement is that they follow all HIPAA guidelines,” Dyche said. “An outsourcing contract binds the firm to the regulations. If they were to violate that, they would lose their contract and face legal risks.”Asked whether local medical records were any less secure, she said the hospital already works with outside vendors without incident.”Everything we do has a risk to it, that’s why there are such tight regulations,” Dyche said.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com

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