In the process of selecting a telephone answering service for your business, it is important to determine if the companies you are considering are knowledgeable and compliant with the laws that govern the privacy and security issues relevant to recorded phone calls.
If your company is involved in the medical industry, it is crucial that any answering services company you select be compliant with the federal government’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In addition to other things, the act requires the protection and confidential handling of “protected health information” (PHI) – which includes messages that are transmitted to health care providers. Under the act, telephone answering services are considered “business associates,” which is defined as a person or entity that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of PHI on behalf of a covered entity (your medical industry company). Make certain that you ask for the answering service’s HIPAA protocols and that you are comfortable that it is compliant because not complying is costly. Fines for HIPAA violations range from $100 to $50,000 per violation (or breached record) with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year.
Federal and state wiretapping laws may limit your answering service company’s ability to record calls they take on your business’s behalf. The legal question at the center of all of these laws is whether your business (and anyone representing it) must obtain consent from one or all of the parties on a phone call or conversation before recording it. Federal law and state wiretapping statutes in many states permit recording if one party (including you) on the phone call or conversation consents, while some states require that all parties on the phone call consent to being recorded. The answering services company that you are considering hiring should know what states your company intends to operate in and the laws governing this interaction in each state.
Northwest Telephone Answering Service is a Trusted Resource
Founded in 1970, Northwest Telephone Answering Service is an experienced answering and dispatch service provider. We proudly offer the latest technologies and reliable, affordable service for a variety of business categories. We readily customize each of our accounts per the requirements of the client so you can feel confident you are receiving exactly the services you need.
Contact Northwest Telephone Answering Service to discuss how we can help your business better handle its calls while complying with all relevant laws.