HIPAA Certification: Everything You Need to Get Certified in 2024

What is a HIPAA Certification?

‘HIPAA certified’ refers to a healthcare organization that is compliant with both HIPAA standards and their Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules. This stamp of approval is usually awarded after a successful audit. Getting a HIPAA certification means a healthcare organization has been found to meet the standards of the Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules of HIPAA

Usually, this means a third-party certification company audits your organization to see if your practices match up with HIPAA requirements, and if you do, then you get approved.

Do Healthcare Providers Need to Be HIPAA Certified?

Healthcare providers must be HIPAA certified to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This certification is necessary to protect patient privacy and confidentiality.

Why Get Certified as HIPAA Compliant?

There are many benefits to getting certified and accredited as HIPAA compliant. The most important benefit to getting this license is that it demonstrates to your patients that you take their privacy and security seriously and that you are approved and authorized to handle their information safely. 

In an age where data breaches are increasingly common, patients are becoming more concerned about the safety of their personal information. By getting HIPAA certified, you demonstrate to your patients that you have taken the necessary steps to protect their information.

Have a question about HIPAA compliance? Check out our HIPAA compliance checklist.

In addition to gaining your patients’ trust, getting certified can help you avoid substantial fines. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act imposes strict penalties for covered entities that violate its provisions, including up to $1.5 million in fines for each violation. 

You can avoid these costly penalties by ensuring you are HIPAA compliant.

Getting certified as HIPAA compliant can also help you improve your operations as it requires you to employ strong security measures to protect patient data. These same security measures can also help improve the optimization of your operations by preventing data breaches and protecting against other cyber threats.

HIPAA Certification Requirements for Covered Entities

HIPAA sets strict requirements for handling Protected Health Information (PHI) by covered entities. To ensure compliance with HIPAA, covered entities must obtain certification from a qualified third-party organization.

Several organizations offer HIPAA certification, but not all are created equal. When selecting a certifying organization, it is important to ensure they are accredited by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS website provides a list of all approved certifying organizations.

Once you have selected a certifying organization, you will need to complete their application process and pay any associated fees. Once your application has been approved, you will be required to complete an online or offline training program. After successfully completing the training program, you will then be issued a certificate of completion, which you can present to your clients or customers.

But first, there are a few actions that covered entities must take to become certified, including:  

  1. Risk assessment – businesses must complete a risk assessment to identify potential risks to patient health information. 
  2. Policies – once these risks have been identified, covered entities must implement policies and procedures to mitigate these risks. 
  3. Employee training – they must then train their employees on these policies and procedures. 
  4. Audits – organizations must conduct regular audits to ensure that their policies and procedures are effective and that their employees follow them.

Covered entities that fail to meet these certification requirements will be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.

HIPAA Certification Requirements for Business Associates

Unlike covered entities, business associates must meet four certification requirements to be HIPAA compliant: 

  1. Have a current, valid certification from an accredited certifying body.
  2. Maintain their certification by completing continuing education requirements.
  3. Agree to abide by the terms and conditions of their certification.
  4. Keep a record of their compliance with the certification requirements.

Business associates must also ensure that all employees, contractors, and subcontractors comply with HIPAA regulations. The business associate must provide training to these individuals and ensure they understand HIPAA requirements. 

Additionally, they must implement appropriate policies and procedures to protect the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). Finally, business associates must have a written contract with each subcontractor or third-party vendor who will have access to PHI.

How to Become HIPAA Certified

There are a few things you need to do to become HIPAA certified:

  1. You need to have a basic understanding of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule.
  2. You need to complete a HIPAA certification program accredited by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  3. You need to pass a written exam administered by HHS.

After successfully completing an accredited certification program and passing the written exam, you will be officially certified as a HIPAA professional! This certificate will allow you to show potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to work with protected health information. 

But where do you learn all the material? You could either study on your own from books about HIPAA, or you can sign up for a course. 

The Best HIPAA Certification Programs to Choose From

Here are some of the best HIPAA certification courses you can sign up for to learn the material and get certified.

HIPAA Exams

HIPAA Exams has been considered one of the most trusted sources for HIPAA compliance since 2008. They are one of the few IACET-accredited providers with over 13 years of experience. HIPAA Exams provides IACET-accredited courses accepted throughout the US and can help you manage your yearly HIPAA and OSHA requirements.

Key features:

HIPAA exams provides the following features:

  • Full Learning Management System, incl. reporting, tracking, and yearly reminders
  • AICC, SSO, XAPI, and Rest API LMS integrations
  • Courses for Vendor Credentialing
  • Chat, Email, and Phone Support
  • Discounted Course Bundles

 They also enable you to:

  • Download, print, or email certificates
  • Manage employees & certificates
  • Access cloud-based data and are mobile ready

Cost: HIPAA exam offers affordable pricing in bundles that range from $29-$45, per user.

BLX Training

Biologix online Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) training is all online and easy to use. Their HIPAA and HITECH training is designed to foster a privacy-conscious culture across an entire organization, whether your organization has few employees or thousands.

Their HIPAA training is for supervisors and employees of covered entities, business associates, and direct care providers. It is designed to engage employees and teach them the importance of safeguarding Protected Health Information to reduce your risk of a Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation.

Key features:

  • 100% Online 24×7 self-paced training
  • Only $10 for an individual (Group Rate Available for Organizations)
  • Get your certification done in about an hour
  • Receive your printable certificate on the same day
  • Unlimited final exam retakes (guaranteed certificate)
  • Nationally recognized certificate
  • Includes HITECH and Omnibus Rule

Cost: Biologix courses cost $10 each.

Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP)

The CHP course examines the basics of the administrative simplification portion of HIPAA legislation. They examine HIPAA transactions and code sets, identifiers, privacy, and security.

Their Certified HIPAA Professional certification training is designed to help you better understand HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification Act and how to create a framework for initiating and working towards a blueprint for HIPAA compliance.

Key features:

  • Understand why HIPAA requirements will cause significant changes in policies, procedures, and processes within the organization in the handling of patient records.
  • Examine how implementing HIPAA will affect how healthcare entities organize and staff to achieve and monitor compliance with patient privacy/confidentiality needs.
  • Step through qualifications and positioning strategies for a Chief Privacy Officer and requirements for a Chief Security Officer.
  • Learn why HIPAA compliance is better focused on as a business than an IT issue, although IT will play a major role in implementing compliant systems.
  • Review specific requirements and implementation features within each security category.
  • Step through how to plan and prepare for HIPAA compliance. HIPAA is about awareness first, assessment second, and action focused on identified gaps.

Cost: $795 for the online study course and the online exam.

Want to get the latest updated information on staying HIPAA-compliant? Download our checklist.

FAQs

What is HIPAA training?
In HIPAA training, individuals learn to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA compliance training provides employees with an introduction to how to recognize protected health information (PHI), properly use and disclose PHI with proper consent, how to secure it, and report and mitigate a breach.
How much does HIPAA certification cost?
The cost of HIPAA certification can vary depending on the provider. It is typically between $500-$2000 per employee. Some providers may offer discounts for bulk purchases or groups like healthcare professionals.
How long does a HIPAA certification last?
If you are uncertain whether your HIPAA documentation is adequate for a potential audit, there are a few key things you can look for. First, you must ensure HIPAA certification never expires. Regulations are constantly changing and updating, so it is recommended that companies re-certify annually or biannually to ensure they are up to date on the latest changes.
How can I get HIPAA certified for free?
A physical audit is a thorough on-site evaluation of an organization’s compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules. There is no way to get HIPAA certified for free. You must invest in a course or training program to be certified. You can learn from free resources on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services site, but it won’t get you the official certification.
How do I become a HIPAA expert?
To become a HIPAA expert you will need to take extensive courses or training programs with an authority that covers all aspects of HIPAA compliance and provides official certification upon completion.