How is HIPAA enforced?

Information about a person’s health can be very personal and it is unethical to share such information with anyone who does not require it. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was enacted by Congress in 1996 to protect certain health information from being misused and shared with unauthorized persons. HIPAA is enforced by Subtitle D of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH Act. Violating HIPAA is weighted with serious penalties, especially for someone working as a medical professional.

Under HITECH, there are four possible levels of violations. The most serious violations may require an offender to pay a fine of up to $1.5 million. Some people may try to use the defense that they were unaware that they were violating the law but unfortunately, it is not valid. If a medical professional did not know they were in violation, they are subject to a fine of $100-$50,000 for each violation. If the medical professional claims they had reasonable cause to violate the laws, they are subject to pay between $1,000 and $50,000. If there was willful neglect that was corrected within a certain time frame, there is a fine of $10,000-$50,000 per violation. However, if there was willful neglect that was not corrected, the offender will face a $50,000 fine. If there were multiple violations of the same issue within one calendar year, the offender faces a $1.5 million fine.

HIPAA violations are serious offenses that should not be and generally are not taken lightly. If you have violated HIPAA or the HITECH Act, you should speak with an attorney who can help you understand the consequences you face that are specific to your particular circumstances.

If you require a medical law attorney for your legal matters, call Paul E. Walker, an experienced New York City OPMC & OPD Lawyer. Please contact the Walker Medical Law firm to set up a free initial consultation.