What Happens When a Physician is Found Guilty of Violating HIPAA?

As you know, if you are a medical professional, you are responsible for treating your patients to the best of your ability, and you are also responsible for ensuring a level of confidentiality. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, took effect in 1996, and it prohibits all medical professionals from disclosing patient information to anyone who is not explicitly allowed to view it. Please continue reading and speak with our experienced New York City medical misconduct defense attorney to learn more about HIPPA violations and how our firm can assist you if you have been charged with violating HIPAA. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What is the purpose of HIPAA?

HIPAA was designed to ensure that patients throughout the United States could feel confident that their medical records and health information will be kept private. This means that doctors and other medical professionals cannot freely share patients’ medical records with others or make them public. That being said, patients do have the right to choose who can view their records, though they must do so through legal paperwork that gives their loved ones the right to access this information. From here, the medical professional may then discuss the patient’s medical information with the approved parties and within HIPAA guidelines.

What happens if a physician is charged with violating HIPAA?

When a physician is accused of violating HIPAA, there is a very good chance that he or she will find him or herself in serious hot water. Oftentimes, HIPAA violations come with both criminal and civil penalties. Additionally, if a patient, hospital, or another medical professional reports an alleged violation of HIPAA, there is a very good chance that it will launch an investigation by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. Depending on the severity of the violation, you may face the following penalties:

  • If you did not realize you violated HIPAA, you may face a fine between $100-$50,000.
  • If you can prove that you had “reasonable cause” to violate HIPAA, you may face a fine between $1,000-$50,000.
  • If it is determined that there was willful neglect, though the neglect was corrected in a short amount of time, you may face a fine between $10,000-$50,000.
  • If it is determined that there was willful neglect that was never corrected, you may face a $50,000 fine.
  • If OPMC finds that you violated HIPPA several times in one year, you can face a potential $1.5 million fine. 

Contact our experienced New York City firm

When a medical professional is accused of misconduct, they must retain strong legal representation. 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.