HIPAA Enforcement- a reality check?

HIPAA Enforcement- a reality check?

Courtesy of the MalvernGroup posting service, an interesting source of info about heathcare IT issues that I monitor, here is a link to an interesting article about HIPAA compliance enforcement.

Here are a few things that I learned:

  • there have been about 100,000 reports of compliance problems- but the vast majority of them have been resolved with what sounds like coaching and/or corrective action plans;
  • the Federal agency that monitors HIPAA compliance, HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is the primary agency that would be involved with a possible violation, but state agencies might also get involved;
  • all of the disciplinary actions have been against organizations- no individual providers have been disciplined;
  • all of the disciplinary actions have involved major, often repeated, HIPAA violations, with large numbers of patient records;
  • the only violation that resulted in a fine was a case in which the organization was extremely out of compliance with HIPAA , and also refused to cooperate with the OCR investigation; and
  • a significant number of violations involved situations in which the health care provider was actually in compliance but criminals hacked into the provider’s IT system and stole info.

My take away: individual and small practice providers who are trying their best to comply with HIPAA should not fret about the risk of a HIPAA violation. It is, of course, extremely importation to do our best in regard to complying with HIPAA.

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Richard Sethre, Psy.D., L.P.
Minneapolis

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