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HIPAA Violations- What one can do and what one can’t?

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HIPAA violations are not just civil but can also have criminal intentions. To know if a medical act falls under HIPAA violations, one can report the activity to the concerned authority such as the Office Of Civil Rights.

 

HIPAA is not only an integral part of health organization, but to emphasise its importance, in case the regulations of this law are violated, one can face a sizeable penalty. This Act is sorely for the safeguard of confidential medical information that may be transferred from one source to another. HIPAA violations may lead to both, criminal and civil penalties. First, the civil penalties:

 

On February 17, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed. This established a tiered civil penalty setup for HIPAA violations. There has been several discretions on the part of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, when it comes to determining the amount of the penalty based on the extent and the nature of the violation and the harm occured due to the violation. The Secretary is refrained from imposing penalties if the violation is corrected within a month (the duration may be elastic). A tentative table has been provided below to illustrate the penalties attached to the violation:

 

  • HIPAA Violations (Ignorance of the individual and guilty of reasonable diligence was not aware of the violation)- The minimum penalty is $100 per violation, with an annual fine of $25 000 for repeat violation. It can be imposed by the State Attorneys General and the maximum penalty can go upto $50,000 per violation, with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.
  • HIPAA Violation (due to reasonable cause and not wilful neglect)- The minimum penalty can go upto $1000 per violation with an annual maximum of $100,000 for repeat violations and the maximum can go upto $50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.
  • Violation caused due to willful neglect and the violation should be corrected within the required time period- The minimum penalty is $10,000 per violation with an annual maximum penalty of $250,000for repeat violations whereas the maximum penalty is $50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.
  • Violation is due to wilful neglect and not corrected- The minimum penalty is $50,000 per violation with an annual maximum penalty of $1.5 million and the maximum penalty is $50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.

 

Next, come the criminal penalties. The Department of Justice is very clear about what kind of neglect comes under criminal penalties. Covered entities and specified individuals as explained below who obtain health information of an individual “with full knowledge” violates the Administrative Simplification Regulations. They may face a penalty which may go upto $50,000 and imprisonment for a year. Offenses that include the charges of “false pretenses” may be increased upto $100,000 fine with 5 years in prison. And the charges with the intent to sell, transfer or use individually identifiable health information for malicious harm or personal gain or individually identifiable health information and so on may attract fines upto $250,000 and imprisonment for upto ten years.

 

People must remember that HIPAA is a Federal law and the penalty for HIPAA violations is a felony. To put it in simpler terms, one can lose his fundamental rights and without these basic rights, one may end up being treated as an alien in one’s own country.

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March 8th, 2011 at 5:01 am

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Different Types Of HIPAA Violations

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HIPAA is not only an integral part of health organization, but to emphasise its importance, in case the regulations of this law are violated, one can face a sizeable penalty. This Act is sorely for the safeguard of confidential medical information that may be transferred from one source to another. HIPAA violations may lead to both, criminal and civil penalties. First, the civil penalties:

On February 17, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed. This established a tiered civil penalty setup for HIPAA violations. There has been several discretions on the part of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, when it comes to determining the amount of the penalty based on the extent and the nature of the violation and the harm occured due to the violation. The Secretary is refrained from imposing penalties if the violation is corrected within a month (the duration may be elastic). A tentative table has been provided below to illustrate the penalties attached to the violation:

HIPAA Violation

Ignorance of the individual (and guilty of reasonable diligence was not aware of the violation)

HIPAA Violation due to reasonable cause and not wilful neglect

Violation caused due to willful neglect and the violation should be corrected within the required time period

HIPAA Violation is due to wilful neglect and not corrected

Minimum Penalty

$100 per violation, with an annual fine of $25 000 for repeat violation. It can be imposed by the State Attorneys General)

$1000 per violation with an annual maximum of $100,000 for repeat violations

$10,000 per violation with an annual maximum penalty of $250,000for repeat violations

$50,000 per violation with an annual maximum penalty of $1.5 million

Maximum Penalty

$50,000 per violation, with an annual maximum of $1.5 million

$50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million

$50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million

$50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million

Next, come the criminal penalties. The Department of Justice is very clear about what kind of neglect comes under criminal penalties. Covered entities and specified individuals as explained below who obtain health information of an individual “with full knowledge” violates the Administrative Simplification Regulations. They may face a penalty which may go upto $50,000 and imprisonment for a year. Offenses that include the charges of “false pretenses” may be increased upto $100,000 fine with 5 years in prison. And the charges with the intent to sell, transfer or use individually identifiable health information for malicious harm or personal gain or individually identifiable health information and so on may attract fines upto $250,000 and imprisonment for upto ten years.

People must remember that HIPAA is a Federal law and the penalty for HIPAA violations is a felony. To put it in simpler terms, one can lose his fundamental rights and without these basic rights, one may end up being treated as an alien in one’s own country.

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January 13th, 2011 at 4:11 am

Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act

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What is HIPPA? HIPPA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was passed in 1996. This Act was the setting stone in national standards to safeguard the medical information of an individual. Though it was signed in 1996, the “portability” aspect of the law (i.e., it allows people with current or previously existing medical condition to receive full medical insurance) is in practice. There are many provisions to this law, which include strict codes for the even transfer of electronic data, including the most mundane activities such as billing or other transactions. The Act also includes provisions for the patient to have the right to access his medical information and restrict the distribution of the information. There are some specific procedural, technological and physical security protections, health care institutes must undertake. This is to protect the confidentiality of the patient’s medical information.

To know what is HIPAA, means, to know there is a wind of change in the whole way, a patient’s private information is handled. As more and more information is transferred electronically, the HIPAA laws are getting more and more stringent on the protection of one’s health information specifically through these channels. So, the next question that comes to mind, is what comes under the umbrella of “protecting information”? This Act protects the identifiable health information such as birthdate, address, Social Security number and so on. Neither the current condition nor the future should not be disclosed unless it is absolutely necessary. The information that is not covered by this particular Act should be absolutely non-identifiable. This non access to private and confidential information helps to prevent identity thefts and also solution in case of any. This confidentiality also helps preventing health insurance providers use one’s health information. The organizations are capable of using the information to pass on sound medical care or may extract payment on medical grounds and so on.

Incase the disclosure of one’s health information does not fall under the category, one must authorize the transaction of the provided information in writing. The government is well-informed about the impediments that common people face with technical writing, so to convey one’s comprehension any authorization should be done in plain language.

Preventing identity thefts is not the extent of this Act. what is HIPAA. It is more than an Act. It is something, the present and the future of the medical bureaucracy is based upon. The HIPAA procedure templates and the securiy policy are usually suited to number of organizations such as Health Plans, Hospital, Long Term Care organizations, Third Party Administrators, Insurance Companies, Physicians, Clearing Houses, State Agencies, County government, business associates and so on.

HIPAA is not restricted to health care industry only. It is advised for non-health industry to incorporate the Act into their setting too. The Administrative Simplication section is one of those aspects which mandate privacy and security of Protected Health Information (PHI) is concerned of the way PHI should be handled when mentioned in emails. Some of those suggested methods are:

To make sure users and email systems are authenticated such that PHI is not misused

Email messages which contain PHI is secure while transmitting over an unguarded url

To keep a sharp lookout on email servers and messages which may have the PHI

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January 13th, 2011 at 3:59 am