The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) –
Ensures health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public's health and well being.
Between January 2004 and June 2006
more than 120 workers at a Los Angeles hospital looked at celebrities' medical records and other personal information without permission.
Release of information on the internet.
Release of information to employees who do not have the direct need to access patients' medical files is a breach of HIPAA.
Doctors and health care workers that release or even sell medical information to magazines, newspapers or news stations. Targets of this type of violation are most often celebrities politicians, movie stars or singers.
Employees leaving their computers unattended and unlocked with patients information visible is a violation of HIPAA.
Penalties for HIPAA Violations
The annual maximum for the minimum penalty amount is $25,000 for repeat violations
Individuals who violate HIPAA can be fined up to $50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million if the violation was severe, regardless of how or why the violation occurred.
Individuals who knowingly disclose health information and patient records may be charged criminally and imprisoned for up to one year with a fine of up to $50,000.
How to avoid HIPAA Violations
Log out of workstations when walking away.
Avoid viewing patient medical information that is not a patient in your care.
Having security monitor weekly access of patient information and who has access it.
Advocate HIPAA to other co-workers to keep them aware of the law.
Protect yourself and the patients.
Patients have rights and their health information must be protected. HIPAA is the Federal law and it must be enforced!