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HIPAA Violations
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Civil financial penalties of up to $1.5 million for HIPAA breaches are administered by HHS. Criminal financial penalties and possible imprisonment for up to 10 years may result from the intentional use of health information for commercial or personal gain, or for harm. Criminal sanctions are enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Criminal Penalties
HIPAA violations become a crime when a person knowingly obtains or discloses individually identifiable health information. The penalty is a fine of $50,000 and up to one year of imprisonment. The criminal penalties increase to $100,000 and up to five years imprisonment if the wrongful conduct involves false pretenses. The penalties increase further to $250,000 and up to 10 years of imprisonment if the wrongful conduct involves the intent to sell, transfer, or use individually identifiable health information for commercial advantage, personal gain, or malicious harm. Criminal violations are prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

HIPAA Certified Data Recovery Services. Why the medical field must follow HIPAA security practices, Don Anderson

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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed by Congress in 1996.HIPAA is flexible enough to apply to a country doctor who has a single receptionist all the way up to billion-dollar corporations with multiple facilities and thousands of employees. While it has been criticized for being vague and subject to interpretation, HIPAA was designed to be flexible enough to apply to all sizes of organizations. The law states that certain requirements must be met, without offering specifications that might not apply to all organizations or which would require that the law be changed as new technologies replace old ones. HIPAA is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Implementation and civil enforcement is overseen by the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

HIPAA identifies the following as Covered Entities who must comply with the regulations: Health Plans – Any company or group that pays for medical care. Examples: Medicare, Medicaid, Health Plans (medical, dental, vision, prescription); HMOs; and self-funded plans by groups and businesses (except plans with less than 50 participants that are administered by the employer) Healthcare Providers – Any provider (hospitals, doctors, dentists, pharmacies) that electronically transmits health information for transactions Healthcare Clearinghouses – Organizations that process certain health information (such as converting diagnostic and treatment information into electronic bills)

The HITECH Act included funding for audits and additional enforcement, and these have changed the regulatory environment. For example, in 2012, a five-physician practice was fined $100,000 for not complying with HIPAA by sending protected information through an unencrypted e-mail system. The State of Alaska Health Department was fined $1.7 million for losing a backup hard drive containing patient data. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary was fined $1.7 million for the theft of a laptop containing 3,600 patient records. In 2013, the Hospice of North Idaho paid $50,000 for a lost laptop that contained unencrypted PHI. The Office for Civil Rights stated that the penalties were for the negligence of the organization in adopting HIPAA policies and procedures, training their workforce, and following acceptable practices.

HIPAA Data Breaches and Penalties Data breaches include the loss or disclosure of protected health information in whatever form. Breaches range from an emergency room admissions employee making copies of paper health records for personal injury attorneys, to the suspected loss of electronic health records when a portable backup drive was stolen from the car owned by an Alaska health department employee.HIPAA includes both civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance. Civil penalties are enforced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The HITECH Act extended civil enforcement to the attorney general of each state. Criminal violations are referred to the U.S. Department of Justice.

When first enacted, HIPAA did not receive funding for enforcement, and penalties were generally limited to large organizations responsible for large data breaches. The HITECH Act of 2009 strengthened the breach requirements, and it included funding for audits and additional enforcement. It also gave state attorneys general the authority to take civil action for HIPAA violations..
HIPAA Certified Data Recovery

-Don Anderson

Tri-State Data Recovery & Forensics, LLC

HIPAA Certified Security Professional, A+ certified, Network+ certified, Data Recovery Expert Certified, A.A.S Network Management, Microsoft Certified, Dell registered partner

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