Gearing Up
6 min read

HIPAA 101 for Accountants: How to Stay Compliant with Saasant

By Ziwei Chen

Partner Marketing Manager, Relay

If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper that works with healthcare clients such as dentists and healthcare providers, HIPAA is likely on your radar. In this episode of Gearing Up, we dive into the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and how accountants can stay compliant using tools like Saasant. 

If you’re new to Relay, we’re a business banking and money management platform designed for accountants and their clients. Relay is obsessed with making firms more effective and efficient, which is why we launched our video series Gearing Up. Hosted by Blake Oliver, CPA, Gearing Up is dedicated to amplifying the creative and smart ways accountants and bookkeepers overcome the day-to-day challenges of running a successful firm.

In each episode, we ask a practicing accountant or bookkeeper about one challenge they faced in their firm and how to solve it. If you’d like to share your knowledge on an upcoming episode of Gearing Up, submit your challenge + solution using the form.

On this episode of Gearing Up, we welcome Cindy Moore of CMoore LLC. Located in the middle of the heartland in Indianapolis, Indiana, Cindy runs a one-women accounting firm that offers bookkeeping, accounting and consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries. 

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In this article: 

WATCH: Gearing Up Episode #11 with Cindy Moore

Cindy’s Accounting Tech Stack

Cindy’s accounting software and technology stack include: 

Relay

When it comes to business banking, Cindy favors Relay because it’s easy to use and integrates seamlessly with her QuickBooks Online file. 

Divvy

She uses Divvy, an online credit card app for corporate cards.

Dext 

To resolve her documentation issues, Cindy uses Dext, formerly known as Receipt Bank, for receipt capture.

Saasant 

And lastly, to solve Cindy’s biggest issue with what she calls “non-compliant health care data”, she uses Saasant.

What is Saasant? 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Saasant is an accounting automation software that allows you to use spreadsheets to integrate your data directly into QuickBooks Online. This is done via a mapping process where you map the QuickBooks field attributes to data headers in your spreadsheet.

If you’re an accountant like Cindy, who works with medical and dental clinics, you’re likely to deal with protected health information (PHI). The problem when you work with healthcare professionals is that patient-based or healthcare transactions in your accounting system — copays, reimbursements, or insurance payments write-offs — need to HIPAA compliant. 

Unfortunately, QuickBooks Online is not HIPAA compliant. So you have to get that data from another billing software into QuickBooks without violating the HIPAA privacy rules. This is where Saasant comes in.

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects the privacy of healthcare patients by enforcing safeguards for companies that work with protected health information. 

Safeguards are enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and includes: 

  • HIPAA training for employees dealing with identifiable health information like medical records and social security numbers 

  • Security training to ensure that patient information is protected, including breach notification rules should there be a data breach 

  • Administrative procedures and tools that ensure health data is only seen by those who need it to complete their jobs

These safeguards mean that as an accountant, you cannot store any identifiable health information in your accounting systems. Storing any patient identifiers is a HIPAA violation. This means you can't have a customer’s name in QuickBooks if they’re a patient. And if you need to give somebody a refund, you can’t write a check with their name on it or record their name in QuickBooks Online. 

Problem: How do you do accounting if you can't have client names in your system?

HIPAA regulations protect the privacy of health care patients, but in doing so, make it difficult for accountants to maintain the books. However, accountants and bookkeepers can remain HIPAA compliant by using a tool like Saasant to help push the deposits into the bank account based on the insurance reimbursements that have been recorded in the billing software.

This way, all the patient details live in your billing software, which in turn pushes all the information directly to the insurance companies for reimbursement. This allows you to easily track any write-offs for insurance companies and pay providers.

How to get patient information from the practice management solution used at a medical office into QuickBooks?

When Cindy first gets payment reconciliation information from the practice, she gets a PDF sheet that shows the batch totals for the day (without patient information). This includes credit card processing information, some handwritten notes from office employees totaling up what they received, a daily for the practice, and lastly each individual insurance reimbursement. 

Total transactions range from day to day, but normally there could be as many as 35 separate transactions that were processed and insurance reimbursements that need to be paid out.  

With most banks, there isn’t a rhyme or reason as to how the bank download information is standardized. Some insurance companies will list each reimbursement individually but others may batch several ACH batches into one deposit. 

The inconsistencies make it difficult for accountants to reconcile which transactions correspond to which individuals and which insurance companies, especially since you don’t have access to patient health information due to HIPAA compliance. 

Solution: Use Saasant to remain HIPAA compliant as an accountant 

Step 1: Clean up patient information in a spreadsheet

Cindy uses Saasant to import patient information using one of the many spreadsheet templates available. Where possible, she modifies the template to give only the fields that she needs. 

For Cindy, because her deposit-to accounts and income accounts are the same, she copies the information down and continues to fill out the rest of the spreadsheet. Then, she adds a column for daily totals to ensure that they are accurate and the sheet is ready to bring into Saasant. 

Step 2: Import spreadsheet into Saasant 

To import the file, Cindy saves the spreadsheet, logs into Saasant, and chooses the corresponding company file, which acts as a direct link between Saasant and the data file. 

Once you pick the company file that you want to use, you’re ready to upload the data file. If there are multiple sheets, you can also pick which sheet of a data file you want, and Saasant does a quick review to make sure that the data is in a readable format. 

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Step 3: Review data for inaccuracies and import it into QuickBooks Online

If any data fields are incorrect, Saasant allows you to override that data and input the correct bank account, again, using the most up-to-date chart of accounts. Once accounts are mapped, you’re ready to review and see a preview of what the deposit screen in QuickBooks Online would look like. 

Once you’ve reviewed the data and pushed it into QuickBooks, it ties to the bank feed and you're able to reconcile very simply. 

One of the cool things about Saasant is it gives you a preview of what the transactions look like in QuickBooks and lets you clean up the data before you import it. This helps you identify any lines that may have incomplete information or the wrong bank account information. So you can delete those lines and make edits before you upload data to QuickBooks.

“Once I've got the data into QuickBooks I can then see now that my deposits are gonna match off. You can see here that I've got some descriptions, the Delta. So that would be my DD, my Delta Dental. Here's my MetLife. You can see I've got more than one line entry that could possibly match,” says Cindy.

“That's where my customized report comes in handy because now I can see which insurance company and which date and dollar amount there is. So this is what my report would look like. I'm able to sort it by that memo field and that's why that memo field was so important to me. I'm also able to pick dollar amounts that could potentially match a downloaded transaction. So for example, we can see we have this Metropolitan Life for $366.20 on the 12th. “

This way, Cindy is able to go back into her report and pick two deposits that are the best candidates for matching based on the date of the transaction and the dollar amount. Once she matches these off, a report will autogenerate to show her what's left that hasn't matched off. 

For an accountant, this gives you an opportunity to go back to the client and say, “hey, we've got some deposits that haven't been deposited to the bank. Did somebody forget to go? Did it get left in the car?”. 

Or potentially as their financial advisor, you can see via your client’s bank downloads that they got an ACH that wasn't caught by the office staff, and perhaps they need to update a client or a customer report with that payment that was received. 

Saasant can help a lot of accountants who work with medical practices and healthcare transactions. It’s a very valuable tool for anyone that needs to get data from a point-of-sale type system or a practice management system into QuickBooks.

Deposits aren’t the only thing you can push through with Saasant. You can also push sales receipts, payroll job costing, and journal entries if you've got a monthly allocation journal entry that you need to do.

Get in touch with Cindy Moore

Big thank you to Cindy Moore for joining us for this episode of Gearing Up. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business, reach out to her for all things QuickBooks Online or if you need help collecting data for year-end tax preparation. 

Website: https://www.cidmoore.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cindy-moore-b563839/

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Intuit Advisor Program: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/partners/irp/?cid=irp-19173#pricing