What is a HIPAA violation?
HIPAA establishes rules for creating, disclosing, accessing, or using protected health information (PHI). A HIPAA violation is an event that doesn’t comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA violations in the workplace happen when there’s noncompliance or a breach.
What are the three types of HIPAA violations?
HIPPA includes three primary components:
- Privacy: This provision defines who must comply and what information to share, when, and how.
- Security: This extension of HIPAA expands to electronic patient information, including confidentiality, integrity, safety, and availability.
- Breach: This section establishes what breaches to report, to whom, and when.
Extended business partners of HIPAA-covered entities include those storing, creating, receiving, or sending PHI. These partners must also be HIPAA-compliant.
How much are HIPAA violation fines?
Penalties for violating HIPAA come in two varieties — civil and criminal.
Civil HIPAA penalty
Civil penalties apply to violations with no malicious intent to harm. Fines are per-incident and vary based on the neglect’s scope and degree. They range from as little as $100 for minor infractions to $50,000 or more if an incident involves willful neglect and no resolution attempt.
Criminal HIPAA penalty
Criminal penalties result from actions with malicious intent or personal gain. These infractions produce higher fines and possible imprisonment. Fines range from $50,000 to $250,000 or more, while courts can impose jail time from one to 10 years.
Examples of HIPAA violations
Some sample HIPAA violations include:
- Disclosing PHI by text, phone, email, unsecured video conferencing apps, or social media.
- Allowing unauthorized PHI access.
- Failing to secure or encrypt data correctly.
- Falling victim to a phishing scheme or hacker.
- Accessing PHI from unsecured networks or devices.
How to avoid a HIPAA violation lawsuit
The possibility of a violation and its stiff penalties requires proactive strategies for security posture and incident response. Some ways to prevent a lawsuit include:
- Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment annually.
- Design and implement plans to rectify issues and mitigate risks.
- Protect electronic PHI with sophisticated system monitoring tools.
- Ensure data encryption.
- Operate on the principle of least privilege.
- Invest in cybersecurity initiatives.
- Work only with reputable HIPAA-compliant business partners.
Learn more about HIPAA compliance with Agio
We’ve made it our mission to make technology easier, faster, and more secure for your healthcare organization. Prevent costly penalties and potential lawsuits by partnering with Agio for HIPAA compliance services.
Contact us today or call 844-974-4877 for more information on how we support and improve HIPAA compliance.
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