California Business Associate Agreements and HIPAA Lawyer

The protection of data privacy and security is a core competence when working with a business that stores, processes, or transmits protected health information (PHI).

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), federal law mandates that parties working with PHI protect it by, among other things, entering into a business associate agreement that satisfies HIPAA.

What is a business associate agreement? A business associate agreement outlines responsibilities for safely and legally storing, processing or transmitting PHI. A business associate agreement can be between a HIPAA covered entity and a business associate, or between two business associates.

SVT offers deep expertise in broader HIPAA compliance counseling and negotiating business associate agreements.

We have served as Chief Legal Officer and outside counsel for a prominent venture-backed company that ensures HIPAA compliance for healthcare companies using any of the three major public clouds. And we have negotiated more than 100 business associate agreements and additional counsel to help clients satisfy HIPAA – so they can access the health care market by doing business with covered entities and other business associates.

The Importance of HIPAA Compliance in Silicon Valley

Protected health information is highly sensitive, personal information about an individual's medical history. This can include medical conditions, treatment plans, and the medications an individual takes. When an organization works with a healthcare provider or another service provider working with PHI, safeguarding this information is essential to prevent potential harm, embarrassment, and identity theft. 

A commitment to keeping PHI safe is essential to any Silicon Valley technology company working alongside partners in health care. It enables trust in the healthcare system, and allows caregivers to leverage technology to share medical records across hospitals, clinics and specialists in California and around the world. 

Examples of Non-Compliance

Some ways that HIPAA can be violated include:

  • Loss of unencrypted devices (such as a smartphone or laptop) that contain PHI
  • Failure to implement appropriate security measures to safeguard PHI
  • Failure to have a Business Associate Agreement in place
  • Sharing PHI without a patient's knowledge 
  • Improper disposal of PHI

Failure to abide by HIPAA compliance can have a devastating impact, with legal and financial consequences for organizations who violate the law. 

The Department of Health and Human Services enforces HIPAA regulations and may subject violators to civil penalties reaching up to $50,000 per violation. That value can reach up to $1.5 million for all violations in a single year. If HIPAA laws are willfully violated, an organization may even be subject to criminal charges. And that's not to mention notification and identity protection costs and reputational damage that is difficult, if not impossible, to recover.

That is why it is paramount to hire a California based HIPAA lawyer who understands the importance of compliance. At SVT, we have an intimate knowledge of how Silicon Valley technology companies are impacted by HIPAA, and draft carefully constructed business associate agreements that protect private data, as well as the rights of our clients.

What Type of Technology Company Needs a Business Associate Agreement?

Any technology company that works with a HIPAA covered entity or other business associate that receives, stores, or transmits PHI is a business associate. Thus, a business associate agreement is needed to carry out those services. Some common examples of services that need a business associate agreement:

Data Storage and Management

Providers of cloud storage solutions that work with clients in healthcare to store things like patient data, electronic health records require a business associate agreement. Companies that provide data backup and recovery for PHI also require a business associate agreement. 

Data Processing and Analytics

Organizations that process or perform billing and coding for patient medical expenses, as well as organizations that analyze healthcare data to conduct research on behalf of a healthcare provider need business associate agreements. 

IT Service Providers

Businesses that manage the IT infrastructure (including servers, networks, and data centers) used by HIPAA covered entities require a business associate agreement in place. 

Other Technology Services

Any company that comes into contact with protected health information, including marketing, consulting, and communication services, requires a business associate agreement. 

Why Choose SVT as Your HIPAA Lawyer?

SVT has provided high quality legal solutions for tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond for over 15 years. Our experience working as general in-house counsel for a variety of technology organizations leaves us well prepared to craft business associate agreements that keep patient data safe, and our clients in compliance. 

Personalized Solutions

Business associate agreements are not a one-size-fits-all solution. At SVT, we take the time to understand each of our client's unique circumstances, and the relationship they form with their business partners. 

Comprehensive Guidance

As a San Francisco based HIPAA lawyer, SVT possesses extensive knowledge of HIPAA regulations and how they affect vendors and service providers in the technology industry. We ensure your obligations are well defined and adhere to federal guidelines. 

Strategic Advice

We offer strategic advice to our clients on implementing business associate agreements, in an easy to understand way. Our legal advice ensures your operations become compliant - and stay compliant. 

Looking for a HIPAA Lawyer Near You? Contact SVT Today

Failure to abide by HIPAA regulations can have potentially devastating consequences, both financially and to your reputation. By partnering with SVT as your San Francisco based HIPAA lawyer, you can enter into a working relationship with confidence, knowing that your business is fully compliant with federal and California state regulations. 

Contact SVT today for a FREE consultation.