I need to know what is required from the billing company when a provider lets you go and hires another billing co. Are you required to give them a final back up? What are the HIPAA requirements???
With regard to HIPAA and the Office of Inspector General (OIG), billing services are considered Covered Entities or Business Associates which act on behalf of a provider. Under this arrangement I think in the eyes of the government and regulatory folks the provider is entitled to a copy of the patient database.
I don’t know that I’ve seen it specifically stated in what form – electronic or paper – that would be. I wouldn’t want to fight a provider in court over ownership of patient data because I think they would win that battle.
Just as a matter of professional courtesy I would provide an electronic copy of the practice management database – in electronic format – if requested by the provider. It would be up to them to convert to another software. If they want paper copies of this information I would want payment up front because that would be a lot of paper, toner, and time to print out.
Unless this is specifically spelled out in your contract with the provider I think providing an electronic copy is sufficient and shows your cooperation. I thing it’s a good idea to define this in the contract at the beginning.
I understand in situations where there is a dispute about what is owed to the billing service that there may be a reluctance to provide this information until the account is up to date.
Hope this helps – it’s just my opinion so feel free to comment and add corrections by clicking on the link below.