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Ask the Expert

This month’s selection:
I am currently employed at a boarding home for mentally ill adults. Our facility conducts the majority of daily business via paper. The bookkeeping records are managed by a secured computer database (storehouse), but the notification of billing is facilitated by the U.S. Postal Service.

I have read through various online documents to see whether our agency would be classified as a covered entity. While it appears as though the boarding home is not a covered entity, I am wondering whether there are any federal regulations by which a workplace such as this one must abide. Can you provide me any assistance in this?

I just read an archived article on your website, “Pulp Protection: Securing Paper-based Medical Records” by Hannah Fiske, and I would like help in getting more information regarding resources about regulation of paper records.

Risa Salters MSW, MHP, CMHS
Compliance Officer, Sunshine Health Facilities
Spokane Valley, Wash.

To determine whether a business is a covered healthcare provider for purposes of HIPAA, two questions must be asked:

  1. Does the business furnish, bill, or receive payment for healthcare in the normal course of business?
  2. Does the business transmit any covered transactions electronically?

A boarding home for mentally ill adults does furnish, bill, and receive payment for healthcare. Since the bookkeeping records are “managed by a secured computer database,” they are transmitted electronically, so this would make the boarding home a covered entity under HIPAA.

Kathy Jakeway is director of legal and legislative affairs for MRO Corp.