In April 2014, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas became the first hospital to receive the Texas Covered Entity Privacy and Security Certification. The certification program, managed by the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) in conjunction with industry collaborative Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), offers individuals and entities involved in the use of electronic health records an affordable and officially sanctioned process to ensure they have in place recognized protections for their patients’ protected health information (PHI). The program, known today as SECURETexas, is the first state initiative of its kind in the country offering certification for compliance with state and federal privacy and security laws.
“We are proud to be a leader among the states in certification and are eager to offer this valuable tool to Texas entities that deal with patient health information,” says Tony Gilman, CEO of THSA.
The program is available for “covered entities,” which is defined broadly by the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act to include most individuals or organizations that use, store and/or exchange protected health information.
To raise awareness about the program, THSA has launched securetexas.org, a website dedicated exclusively to providing information about certification and how to complete the process. In addition to the website, THSA will be working in the months ahead with leading health care associations including the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Medical Association to inform their members about the program benefits.
“When you learn the benefits of the program, we believe the value of the certification is apparent,” stated Gilman. He added, “The fee to certify can offset expenses of multiple attorneys and consultants paid to assess an entity’s compliance with state and federal laws. SECURETexas also provides the added advantage of mitigating potential fines should a breach or compliance issue occur.”
Gilman concluded, “There is increasing focus on prevention in health care today and the SECURETexas program is yet another example where preventive efforts can produce savings, protection and peace of mind.”
For more information on achieving SECURETexas certification, visit securetexas.org.