What Is a BAA Agreement?

direct primary care agreements

A BAA agreement is designed to protect the private identifying medical information that belongs to patients but may need to leave the office or clinic in which it was created. This agreement is drawn up between a medical provider’s business and/or hospital and other individuals or businesses who are not directly employed by that provider or hospital but may have cause to come into contact with these documents through the course of their work.

The goal is always to protect the patient, but these agreements can also serve to protect the healthcare providers who contract with outside businesses should there be an issue with medical privacy.

What Is a BAA Agreement?

A BAA agreement is not a simple document whereby the business associate in question agrees to be careful with all patient data. Rather, it is a lengthy and specific document that outlines exactly what it means to protect patient privacy, how the business associate is and is not to handle patient medical records, and what the penalties will be should they violate the agreement.

The following is included in a BAA agreement:

  • What PHI will be accessed by the business associate
  • The requirements for protecting each variety of PHI expected of the business associate
  • The explicit expectation that the business associate will not share any protected health information outside of the confines of the agreement
  • The outline of training required of the business associate and the log of completion of that training
  • The details of what penalties will occur if a data breach is identified
  • How the BAA agreement should be terminated, if appropriate
  • A detailed process for destroying or returning PHI, if appropriate to the process

Why Is a BAA Agreement Necessary?

Many healthcare businesses work with the assistance of outside businesses in order to efficiently run the backend of the business and provide care to patients. For example, a clinic may require an outside company to transport test specimens to or from a lab, to manage x-rays and scan and store them after they are taken, or to otherwise attend to some of the details of healthcare management.

Should that organization or one of its employees put the healthcare data they use at risk, the healthcare organization who employed them will be liable for any harm caused if there is not a BAA agreement in place that clearly outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the business associate.

How to Create a BAA Agreement

If you or your organization works with outside organizations or businesses, it is a good idea to create a BAA agreement that is specific to the business. Make sure you are covered and get the support of Florida Healthcare Law Firm in this process to make sure that the agreement is ironclad.

Recap: Dental Employment Contracts

fhlf dental law

fhlf dental lawBy: Chase Howard

Many young dental professionals are presented with the opportunity to join a practice after graduation. Making an informed decision and negotiating a fair contract can be difficult but will ultimately pay dividends for years to come. Here are some items to consider when reviewing and negotiating your employment contract.Continue reading

Noncompete Agreement Tips and Mistakes to Avoid After COVID-19

noncompete agreement tips and mistakes to avoid during covid-19

noncompete agreement tips and mistakes to avoid during covid-19By: Jeff Cohen

COVID is proving to be so burdensome on employers that we are seeing lay-offs and furloughs all over the country. As the virus curve bends back in a positive direction and physician and patient concerns for safety wane, patients will stream back to office. But what happens to the laid off (or furloughed) employees and contractors with non-competes? Will they come back or will they have moved on, possibly in a way that violates their noncompetes? And will a court think a noncompete has been violated when an employee or contractor was let go and there is no specific provision in their written contract that allows the employer to immediately let someone go without notice due to this type of situation? How will the COVID based lay-offs and furlough affect noncompetes? The short answer is we don’t yet know, but widespread lay-offs and furloughs may result in a flood of cases being filed because (1) many have been let go, (2) there likely isn’t a provision in their contract with the employer that specifically authorizes that sort of termination, and (3) a contract’s “breach” (e.g. no contract based allowance for the prompt termination) is traditionally a defense to an action to enforce a noncompete.

The COVID Issue

Though there is an exception for unusual specialties or where there is essentially a community need, noncompetition covenants are generally enforceable in Florida with respect to doctors and other healthcare professionals. Many people think doctors in particular can’t be restricted from practicing medicine under any circumstances. That is just not true.

Getting to the bone of the issue, noncompetes are enforceable in Florida if:Continue reading