An individual or an organization that executes several tasks or operations for a Covered Entity that entails the handling of PHI (Protected Health Information) is known as a Business Associate.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is merely applicable to Covered Entities, according to the legislation. Healthcare plans, medical financial institutions and several medical care providers are examples of Covered Entities.

On the other hand, the majority of Covered Entities refrain from handling all their health-care services and functions on their own. Rather, they frequently rely on the services of a number of other entities.

The entity is a Business Associate if these services entail the use of PHI (Protected Health Information).

The function of a Business Associate

A Business Associate’s job is to assist Covered Entities in adhering to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

Business Associates perform a range of functions, including analysis, processing, and administration of data, review of use and quality assurance, processing or management of claims, repricing, billing etc. 

Can you be a Covered Entity and a Business Associate at the same time?

Yes, you can be classified as a Covered Entity and a Business Associate at the same time.

A covered entity can be a business associate of another covered entity, for example, a health plan, medical care provider, etc.

Any Business Associate subcontractor that develops, receives, retains, or communicates PHI (protected health information) on behalf of the Business Associate is also considered a BA.

What is a Business Associate Agreement, and why do you need one?

A legally binding contract between a Covered Entity and a Business Associate is known as a Business Associate Agreement. HIPAA compliance necessitates it. A Business Associate Agreement must include minimum ten clauses.

A Business Associate Agreement is needed by legislation if you are a covered entity handing PHI (protected health information) to a third party.

Do Business Associate Agreements have a set expiration date?

A Business Associate Agreement (BAA) must be in effect for the whole time that a Business Associate offers assistance to a Covered Entity. A BAA having an expiration date is a warning of danger and is equivalent to not having one at all.