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Security Q&A: USB drive and hard drive encryption and bio-waste disposal

Q: If my medical waste includes PHI, do I need a BAA with our waste management vendor?

A: Yes. For example, clinics and hospitals contracting with bio-waste disposal vendors that dispose of IV bags execute a BAA with the bio-waste disposal vendors. It's no different than the requirement to execute a BAA with a document shredding vendor. If the vendor will come in contact with PHI, a BAA is in order.

Editor's note: Apgar is president of Apgar & Associates, LLC, in Portland, Oregon. He is also a BOH editorial advisory board member. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions. Opinions expressed are that of the author and do not represent HCPro or ACDIS. Email your HIPAA questions to Associate Editor Nicole Votta at

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