As a practicing physician, you are likely informed about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and you likely do everything in your power to respect it. This is why it is the worst-case scenario when a patient, coworker, or employer accuses you of violating it. Read on to discover what happens when a physician is accused of a HIPAA violation and how one of the seasoned New York physician defense lawyers at Walker Medical Law can stand by your side.
What is considered a HIPAA violation?
To review, HIPAA requires that all patient information be kept confidential between the patient and their trusted physician. This rule applies even if the patient’s condition is not sensitive or severe. With that being said, the following actions may be considered a HIPAA violation:
- A physician shares a patient’s medical records with an individual who is not approved by the patient.
- A physician discusses a patient’s health information with an individual who is not approved by the patient.
- A physician does not provide a patient with their medical records within 30 days of their request.
- A physician loses a patient’s medical records.
What are the penalties when a physician is accused of a HIPAA violation?
When you are accused of a civil violation, the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) will launch an investigation against you. If the OPMC rules that you indeed made a civil violation against this act, you may be facing the following penalties:
- If you did not know that you violated this act: a $100 to $500 fine per violation.
- If you had a reasonable cause to violate this act: a $1,000 to $50,000 fine per violation.
- If you had willful neglect that was corrected within the required period: a $10,000 to $50,000 fine per violation.
- If you had willful neglect that was not corrected within the required period: a $50,000 fine per violation.
On the other hand, when you are accused of a criminal violation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will investigate you. If the DOJ indeed finds you guilty, you may expect any of the following consequences to be inflicted on you:
- If you knowingly violated this act: a fine of up to $50,000 and a prison sentence of up to one year.
- If you violated this act under false pretenses: a fine of up to $100,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years.
- If you violated this act for commercial advantage, personal gain, or malicious harm: a fine of up to $250,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
You must gain legal representation as soon as you get word that someone has accused you of a HIPAA violation. Contact one of the competent New York physician defense lawyers today. We are ready and willing to take on your case.