Written in collaboration with Melissa Chaplik, JD Candidate 2024 Dentists take note: HIPAA most likely applies to your practice (and it has for the last 20 years).[i] Doing things like blasting a patient in response to a negative review on-line, using patient data for a political campaign, and ignoring correspondence from regulators is bad (i.e., […]
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced three more HIPAA Right of Access enforcement resolutions – all against dentists. And the story is largely the same: patients requested records and did not timely or properly receive those records. In one instance, the dental practice significantly overcharged for records. […]
Last week, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reminded us of the importance of the basics when it comes to protecting patient information. On August 23rd, it announced a HIPAA enforcement action involving tangible protected health information (PHI) that a practice tossed out with the rest of the trash. For over a decade, PHI in […]
If you asked me Friday morning of last week to give you my impression of HIPAA enforcement so far in 2022, I would have said “slow.” Up to that point, OCR had announced only four enforcement actions and all on the same day in March (see Three Dentists and a Psychiatrist Walk into a Bar: […]
Three dentists and a psychiatrist walk into a bar . . . and they each walk out with a five-figure tab for HIPAA compliance failures. It’s not funny, but the five-figure payment part is true and there’s a lot to be learned from their mistakes. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil […]
Here it is! My annual summary of HIPAA enforcement action resolutions. I know you all have been eagerly awaiting its arrival. No plot twists or surprises this year – the enforcement themes are much the same as those in 2020. As I explain below, Right of Access was again the star.
Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights announced the resolution of five more HIPAA Right of Access claims. That brings the total number of Right of Access resolutions this year to 12 (including a civil monetary penalty), edging out last year’s total of 11. As for settlement and penalty amounts, the Right of Access total for 2021 has surpassed 2020 by more than $300,000.
In my July 23, 2020 blog post, I used the familiar characters in the beloved fable The Three Little Pigs to illustrate the importance of building a secure and compliant telehealth delivery system. I explained that, despite the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) announcement of enforcement discretion during the public health emergency (PHE), healthcare providers should establish HIPAA-compliant telehealth delivery systems before enforcement discretion ended. Because the PHE may soon be over, that message bears repeating.
OCR continues with vigorous enforcement of HIPAA’s Right of Access rules in 2021. In the first three months of the year, OCR announced five Right of Access settlements. The story is nearly identical in each – a patient requests records and a provider fails to timely provide access. Compliance with the Right of Access rules is relatively simple and one of the best ways to avoid unwanted attention from OCR.
Despite the pandemic, HIPAA enforcement was hot in 2020. There were nearly twice as many enforcement action resolutions last year than in each of the previous three years. The DHHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which enforces HIPAA, announced a total of 19 resolutions in 2020. The 2020 resolutions offer different lessons from previous enforcement years, as the most common issue for enforcement in 2020 is relatively new: the Right of Access under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.