Healthcare providers have the important, although sometimes challenging, task of keeping up with regulations and legal requirements that protect patients. Among the most recent updates that clinics in Florida need to be aware of is the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act.
At its core, this act prevents certain medical providers that use EHR (electronic health record) technology from keeping specific electronic health records anywhere outside of the U.S., Canada, or U.S. territories.
Remaining compliant with local and national regulations is essential for any practice, not just to avoid serious legal trouble but to protect patients’ information. Our team at PracticeForces knows it can feel confusing to navigate the various compliance requirements, especially HIPAA in medical billing. Here’s what you need to know about the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act and how it impacts your practice.
What Does the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act Mean for Medical Providers?
The Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act places tighter restrictions on how medical providers can store and exchange electronic health information of patients.
As of July 1, 2023, healthcare companies can no longer store certain electronic records abroad or use any third-party vendors that operate outside of Canada, the United States, and U.S. territories.
Electronic Health Record Terms to Know
To fully understand the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act and how it’s going to impact your organization, you need to be familiar with two important terms:
- Qualified electronic health record: This refers to an electronic record containing an individual’s confidential health information, which is necessary for medical providers to diagnose and treat the patient.
- Certified electronic health record technology: This refers to a qualified electronic health record that meets the standards listed in the Public Health Service Act. A hospital electronic health record is an example of certified electronic health record technology.
What Providers and Facilities Does It Cover?
Like HIPAA, the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act covers several different providers and facilities in Florida, such as:
- Prescribed pediatric extended care centers
- Nursing homes
- Short-term residential treatment facilities
- Birth centers
- Transitional living
- Healthcare clinics
Regarding specific medical providers, the act covers physicians, acupuncturists, physician assistants, chiropractors, occupational therapists, naturopathic physicians, optometrists, and many others.
How to Stay Compliant
Fully understanding the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act is key to staying HIPAA compliant. When submitting your application for licensure to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, you must prove that you meet compliance requirements and are not storing any information outside the permitted locations.
To make sure you remain compliant, carefully examine your records and their locations. If you have any overseas, make sure you move them to either the U.S., its territories, or Canada. Otherwise, you could face significant legal consequences that could jeopardize your practice.
PracticeForces knows that keeping up with updated Florida laws isn’t always as easy or smooth as we’d like. Understanding the Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act is crucial for remaining compliant and keeping your patients’ information protected.