The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is legislation that provides guidelines and practices for the safeguarding of private medical information. Most familiar to the general public is HIPAA’s Title II, which established national standards for the electronic access and transmission of personal health care information. When health care organizations do not comply with these standards, it may cost them fines or criminal penalties.
Since 2003, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has received over 105,000 HIPAA complaints. Some of those complaints are easily addressed with simple changes to an organization’s data management practices or technical training. However, others are more serious, leading to criminal investigation.
The most common HIPAA violation found by the OCR was the impermissible use or disclosure or private health information. This could be a nurse in your doctor’s office telling your spouse about a recent visit or a prescribed medication without your consent. All patients are required to complete HIPAA forms that identify who may have access to their personal medical information.
Another frequent HIPAA violation is health care organizations lack of protection for private data. This largely refers to a lack of electronic safeguards that prevent the online access of sensitive data. All too familiar are the e-mail notifications warning us that our online accounts with department stores, credit card companies, and health care organizations have been compromised.
Another HIPPA violation tracked by the OCR was a lack of patient access to their own personal health records. Patient records used to be closely guarded by doctors. HIPAA is changing the way people access and manage their medical information. The law guarantees people the legal, enforceable right to copies of their medical data. This includes health plan billing, claims, and medical records. Many health care organizations are now utilizing online portals as a means of communication between patients, physicians, and insurance providers. Patients now have test results and prescription information at their disposal.
Most of the common HIPAA violations can be combatted with updated practices and an ongoing commitment to training. When organizations do not comply with HIPAA and sensitive, private medical information is compromised, they may be held accountable, Philadelphia health care lawyers report.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Help Doctors Facing HIPAA Violations
Every health care provider strives to be completely HIPAA compliant. However, violations are sometimes out of one’s control, especially when sensitive online data is breached. Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. have 35 years of experience in health care and employment law, and arbitrate health care law matters throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Call our Philadelphia offices at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.