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Richard - Bizlaw
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Category: Business Law
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Experience:  30 years of corporate, litigation and international law
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HIPAA compliance for software developer

Customer Question

We are a software development company that provides administrative software to educational institutions. We do not access students’ PHI however, when debugging a system, or providing service to our clients, we have the ability to access that information. After extensively studying the HHS website regarding HIPAA compliance we have concluded that we are a Business Associate. The purpose of this letter is to get confirmation from your office that we are a Business Associate and get the following questions answered. 1. Are we considered a Business Associate? 2. What do we need to do to be considered HIPAA compliant? 3. Is a Business Associate Agreement with our clients the covered entity the only requirement? 4. Do we also need to train our staff and write up policies for Privacy and Security?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Richard - Bizlaw replied 3 years ago.

bizlaw :

From what you say, your normal activities on behalf of the institutions would not require you to use or need access to students' PHI. What I gather arises is that in connection with debugging a system or providing certain services, you may have access to, but no need to use, students PHI. Whether you are a business associate under this circumstance is problematic but it is better to err on the side of caution. However, I do not believe you need to have a Business Associate Agreement with your clients.. What you do need to do is to train your staff and to establish clear corporate policy that if in the course of their duties, they have access to or in any way use PHI, they cannot disclose what they see to any person other than as necessary to disclose to a company associate in connection providing the service or making the repair and that associate is equally bound to maintain the confidentiality of that information. The policy and the basic procedures should be written. If this is done you will have met your HIPPA obligation and can assure your clients that you will maintain the privacy of the PHI on those rare occassions when you have access to or actually use such information in performing your services for the client.

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This communication is not intended as legal advice. A local attorney should always be consulted for legal advice. No client/attorney relationship is intended or created by this communication.

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