What is a HIPAA Business Associate?

For the purposes of the HIPAA Security Rule a HIPAA Business Associate is a person or entity who provides certain functions, activities, or services for or to a covered entity, involving the use and/or disclosure of PHI. A HIPAA Business Associate is not a member of the health care provider, health plan, or other covered entity's workforce. A health care provider, health plan, or other covered entity can also be a business associate to another covered entity. 

Examples of HIPAA business associates include:

  • A third party administrator that assists a health plan with claims processing
  • A CPA firm whose accounting services to a health care provider involve access to protected PHI
  • An IT service provider who may view unencrypted protected health information
  • An attorney whose legal services to a health plan involve access to protected health information
  • A consultant that performs utilization reviews for a hospital
  • A health care clearinghouse that translates a claim from a non-standard format into a standard transaction on behalf of a health care provider and forwards the processed transaction to a payer
  • An independent medical transcriptionist that provides transcription services to a physician.
  • A pharmacy benefits manager that manages a health plan’s pharmacist network.

For more information on HIPAA Business Associates and the full compliance of your health care organization, download our HIPAA Security Assessment Toolkit™

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