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What Tax Professionals Need to Know About HIPAA


Understand HIPAA regulations and legal obligations under HIPAA to protect the privacy and security of protected health information.

Many tax professionals provide services to healthcare providers, hospitals, and healthcare support businesses (such as billing companies) that are regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). As a result, tax professionals may be subject to and regulated by HIPAA, must be able to identify when this occurs, and know the professional's obligations to protect a client's protected health information. In addition, as a HIPAA business associate, tax professionals are required by HIPAA to participate in HIPAA training. This presentation will help tax professionals understand how HIPAA regulates their organization and their client's organizations and the legal obligations under HIPAA to protect the privacy and security of protected health information. Not all information that relates to healthcare is PHI regulated by HIPAA and determining when HIPAA may apply and when a business associate agreement may be needed requires an understanding of HIPAA. In addition, the IRS may subpoena or request a client's information, and tax professionals need to understand how and when PHI may be disclosed. The topic also explains the security safeguards that arise under HIPAA and how client PHI must be protected during access or when being maintained in a tax professional setting. Failing to have a HIPAA-compliant security risk assessment can leave unidentified vulnerabilities that lead to HIPAA breaches and cybersecurity attacks and potentially result in penalties through enforcement activities. Understanding how the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights enforces HIPAA and investigates breaches and complaints can assist in structuring a HIPAA compliance program. Attendance in this presentation may also satisfy the requirement for HIPAA training.



Beth Pitman

Beth Pitman

Holland & Knight, LLP

  • Partner in Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP
  • Advises and provides counsel to healthcare systems, management companies, a wide variety of providers, and healthcare IT businesses in navigating healthcare privacy and cyber security regulations, other healthcare regulations, and government reimbursement program matters
  • Experience includes the development and ongoing management of comprehensive HIPAA compliance programs, drafting and negotiating business associate agreements, developing internal policies and workforce training modules for patient privacy and data security, and providing advice, guidance, and representation in investigations before government regulators related to data breaches
  • Provides HIPAA, data privacy and security, and other healthcare regulatory diligence support in mergers and acquisitions
  • Recognized by WomenInc. Magazine’s Most Influential Corporate Directors
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings) for Health Care Law, 2023
  • J.D. degree, University of Alabama School of Law; B.S. degree in accounting, University of Alabama
  • Can be contacted at [email protected] or 205-226-5704

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