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What Is a HIPAA Violation?

Are you interested in HIPAA violations? Well, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law that ensures the patient safety of medical records.

HIPAA violations can result in steep fines or even jail time. Primarily, based on the nature and severity of the violation.

This post will discuss what constitutes a HIPAA violation and what is HIPAA. Furthermore, we will cover the penalties associated with HIPAA violations.

Whenever you’re ready to learn about the violations in this industry, keep reading and get your notes out.

What Is HIPAA: Patient Safety?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law that protects the privacy of medical records. HIPAA protects your medical records from being released without authorization.

The most common ways these records are violated include when doctors improperly access them. As well as when they’re accidentally left at an office after hours.

Violations can also be intentional. For instance, releasing information about another person’s personal health history with malicious intent (theft). There may also be instances where certain employees have access to patient data but then go on work with other companies.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule updated again in 2013 helps to ensure that healthcare industry data is safeguarded. The privacy of patients is ensured by requiring providers who have access to this information to keep all patient records confidential.

They should not share them with anyone else unless given permission from a family member or guardian.

The same goes for the Security Rule, Omnibus Rule (also called “Final Rules”), and Breach Notification Rules. They’re designed specifically so no one can get their hands on sensitive medical information illegally.

There are checks put into place after any suspicious activity has been flagged internally. This is done at an office’s security desk like unusual login times on computers accessing databases.

What Is A HIPAA Violation?

Violating HIPAA can be done in a number of ways. This includes accessing medical records for non-medical reasons or leaving patient data at an office after hours. There may also be instances where certain employees have access to patient data but then go on work with other companies.

The biggest risk in these cases is that when an employee leaves a company. If they don’t return or erase all of their data from any work computer and another device, they are violating HIPAA. This is because they still can see those files with sensitive information on them.

The wrongful use of PHI can lead to devastating consequences. You need a plan for the worst-case scenario and should protect as much information from being released out into cyberspace.

Violation Examples

  1. Impermissible disclosures by employees where they may release personal health information without authorization
  2. Unauthorized access when someone takes or copies data that is not theirs
  3. Improper disposal such as throwing away paper files with sensitive medical records in an unsecured dumpster
  4. Failure to conduct risk analysis which could result in credit card numbers stolen if you don’t have sufficient safeguards set up
  5. Failing to implement appropriate measures like password changes after a breach has occurred
  6. Failure to provide patients with copies of their PHI on request is a violation and lead to hefty fines
  7. Failure to implement access controls that limit who can view the information you store in your system

The disclosure of more personal health information than is necessary could put someone’s privacy at risk. Especially, If there are no restrictions limiting what they’re able to fail to see while accessing this data.

Doing so falls under HIPAA violations as well because unauthorized viewing doesn’t need explicit permission from an individual before seeing private records like these!

The unauthorized release of PHI without consent isn’t just reckless. It may even land people responsible behind bars. Learn how to handle HIPAA violations to ensure your compliance.

HIPAA Violation Penalties

The penalties for violating HIPAA can be severe. Violators could face fines up to $25,000 per violation category and year. The maximum amount of a fine is capped at $1.5 million. But only if violated in multiple categories within one calendar year.

The federal government has issued multi-million dollar fines before as well. Thus, making it important to stay compliant. But also aware of what the potential consequences might be if you violate these laws.

The punishments for violations under HIPPA rules can get very expensive. State attorneys general have been known to issue sanctions with punitive damages. Usually, up to 25,000 dollars per violation type/year.

The fines for violating HIPAA Rules are enough to have you feeling guilty. As an individual, if you violate HIPPA’s rule then it is possible that there will be jail time involved. This can range from a few months up to 10 years depending on the violation.

As you can see, the consequences of not being compliant with HIPAA on an individual and organization basis are devastating to all parties involved. Don’t fall victim to a common problem that has a simple resolve.

Healthcare Content for You

Now that you’ve learned the importance of HIPAA patient safety and how violating it can lead to massive fines, lost revenue, or even jail time for your business owners, you know why staying compliant is so important.

In any case, there’s no rush with HIPAA. It’s best that you take your time to understand the regulations and guidelines, as well as hire a specialist to ensure you are compliant.

We want you to stay in compliance with this law by reading our other blog posts about healthcare industry trends and regulations. Get started below!

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