Doctor's Life: "HIPAA Violations: What are the Risks?"
The federal health care privacy statute or HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act) is no longer a new acronym - either in the medical profession or in general society. Like Medicare, ObamaCare and other contemporary healthcare developments it is familiar to most citizens. And most healthcare professionals have at least a passing knowledge of the basic requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
But what is not so well known are the penalties - both monetary and otherwise - that can be imposed if the HIPAA Privacy Rule or Security Rule are violated. Thus, the purpose of this article is to briefly summarize those potential sanctions and the process by which they are investigated and, ultimately, enforced.
HIPAA sanctions can be civil, criminal and, theoretically, both. While somewhat complicated, the procedure for determining the scope of the penalty is designed to be commensurate with the facts and circumstances surrounding the violation. While to some the penalties may seem overly harsh, it cannot be said that the government has not fully informed us of those risks. See www.hha.gov/ocr/office. So it makes sense for those at risk to at least have a basic knowledge of how serious the penalties can be and to take steps to avoid them.
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