Remember that feeling the first time you were stopped for a driver’s license check? That pit in the stomach groaning that you had been caught for a traffic violation and the penalty was going to be stiff. While driving failure fines can cost you hundreds, imagine if the penalties were in the thousands or even worse could cost your business investment? This is a harsh reality many medical practices face daily for HIPAA Compliance failure.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or HIPAA Privacy Rule, came into law in 1996 to regulate the publication and use of Protected Health Information (PHI). Since its beginnings HIPAA Regulation has challenged the medical and patient communities alike. For patients it has been viewed as a nuisance, more paperwork (HIPAA Authorization Form) to be filled out at the doctor’s office. For healthcare providers it has become a much deeper concern. Medical practices can face heavy penalties for “operating” outside of HIPAA Compliance.
Penalties for “Driving” With a HIPAA Violation
- If you have performed a HIPAA Risk Analysis in the last year and have not implemented the necessary fixes to correct any identified deficiencies, you could fall under Willful Neglect during a HIPAA breach investigation. Willful neglect fines can cost as much as $50,000 per patient record!
- If you participate in Meaningful Use, and cannot prove your HIPAA compliance during a Meaningful Use audit, you could have to pay back the incentive money you have already spent!
For many medical practices that have been caught driving without proper HIPAA Compliance measures in place this has become a “House and Boat” issue literally jeopardizing the practice owners’ personal investments.
Recent “Breaking HIPAA Law” Case
- “Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic, P.A. of North Carolina (Raleigh Orthopaedic) has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle charges that it potentially violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule by handing over protected health information (PHI) for approximately 17,300 patients to a potential business partner without first executing a business associate agreement,” according to a blog post by Live Compliance.
As noted the penalties for operating outside of HIPAA Compliance can be financially devastating to a medical practice. Even more alarming is that unlike our traffic safety laws, HIPAA Compliance Standards are not clearly posted on the side of the road. Maneuvering the roadmap of HIPAA can be like driving without your headlights on a winding, mountain road in a thunderstorm. Your practice is literally operating blind with no visibility to the complex measures that should be in place to keep you legal.
If you are driving without proper HIPAA Compliance, let the professionals at Medical Consultants Group take the wheel and show you how to avoid the fines of operating without proper HIPAA licensing. For as little as $99 a month (depending on practice size and service needs) through our partnership with LayerCompliance™, your practice can implement a comprehensive HIPAA Compliance Program and have a license to drive confidently.
“April 20, 2016 750,000 settlement highlights the need for HIPAA business associate agreements.” Web blog post. Compliance News. Live Compliance Company, 03 May 2016. Web. 12 May 2016.