Certified Document Destruction Explained

Burning certified Documents ExplainedProof for HIPAA Compliance

A lot of our customers are in the healthcare business and have to deal with HIPAA’s privacy rules. One of its many requirements is that you have to not just destroy patient data, but prove you did it. Certified document destruction paperwork keeps on the right side of the law.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) contains a whole range of rules about how health care companies and insurers have to take care of patients. One of HIPAA’s many requirements is that medical and dental offices maintain privacy when it comes to patient records. This includes storing complete records and when they reach their end of life — destroy this sensitive information and proving when and how they did it.

According to the American Health Information Management Association, shredding of HIPAA-covered documents requires a certificate with the following six items of information:

  1. Signatures from the people that saw the documents actually get destroyed.
  2. Confirmation that the records were destroyed as a part of normal business and not for some other reasons.
  3. How the documents were destroyed.
  4. When they were destroyed.
  5. What was destroyed
  6. The dates that the documents destroyed covered.
  7. Protection from Patient Privacy Lawsuits

Certified Document Destruction Offers Proof

Certified document destruction is a necessity to shield your business from patient privacy lawsuits under HIPAA. Furthermore, while you can officially destroy documents by shredding them, you can’t get rid of the certificates. You’re required to retain them for as long as you’re under the law’s statute of limitations.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and its electronic health record requirements, more patient records than ever are being digitized. When you’re done digitizing those records, you have to put them through a certified document destruction process. Retaining them digitally isn’t enough to save you from having to prove you destroyed them the right way.

Using an expert like Sergeant Shredder when it comes to HIPAA’s certified document destruction requirements makes sense. With mobile shredding that’s done onsite at your office location, you are assured of following the letter of the law.

Is regular shredding on your to-do list?