Protecting Confidential Information in Dental Practice Transactions
Apr 3 2024 0

Protecting Confidential Information in Dental Practice Transactions

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) protects a patient’s private health information. When you sell a dental practice of the many things that you must consider and steps you must take, ensuring that the patient’s information within the practice is secure is critical.

If you are preparing to buy a dental practice, are on the search for one, or are selling a dental practice, having a legal professional by your side assisting you is essential. Doing so can make the process move along more smoothly while also protecting your interests and minimizing your liabilities. 

Dentists in California can call the Leiva Law Firm to speak with a Los Angeles dental practice purchase agreement attorney for more information.

Handling Confidential Information During Dental Practice Acquisition

Protecting Confidential Information in Dental Practice TransactionsHIPPA is meant to protect patients’ personal medical health information. As such, its rules apply to covered entities and business associates. A covered entity would include a healthcare provider, like a dentist. HIPPA applies regulations regarding protecting and securing private health information and also providing individuals with rights concerning their personal health data. 

When a covered entity uses a business associate to assist with healthcare activities, there are contractual obligations that must be met. A written contract must establish what the duties of the business associate are and that the business associate must comply with HIPPA rules to keep safe patients’ protected health information.

When one covered entity sells its practice to another covered entity, the ability to disclose private health information is permitted. So when selling a practice it is essential that the dentist seller only transmits protected health information to another covered entity, like another dentist. This is allowed because all dentists must abide by the same rules and standards of confidentiality. Therefore, another dentist would be permitted under HIPPA to have access to protected health information of the patients of the practice they are buying.

Still, to comply with HIPPA a covered entity or business associate must put forth an effort that is reasonable for limiting the amount of protected health information they are disclosing to only what is necessary for their purposes. In this case, that would mean only allowing the protected health information necessary to facilitate a sale. Or, to allow a dental buyer to conduct their due diligence inquiry. For instance, some information about patients may be allowed given the removal of personally identifiable information.

 Additionally, it is usually a good idea to only allow prospective buyers to review patient-protected health information at the dental office that is for sale. This is because HIPPA requires that when electronic data is stored it must be encrypted. To mitigate any issues where a buyer could violate HIPPA rules by looking at protected information on a non-encrypted device, an in-office requirement is helpful.

Speak with an Attorney at Leiva Law Firm

Taking all reasonable measures to align with HIPPA rules can prevent the potential for unauthorized disclosure of protected information, and as a result, minimize liability for dental sellers.

For all of your questions, you are welcome to call (818) 519-4465 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney at Leiva Law Firm.

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