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In 1996, the Healthcare Insurance Portability And Accountability Act or HIPPA was signed into law. This Act set new standards for the security and privacy of patient’s medical records. Since the HIPPA law has been in place, healthcare providers must be diligent in protecting the privacy of their patients. Failure to do so can result in fines and penalties through state regulatory agencies. If you are a New Jersey medical professional or facility and need representation for HIPPA violations may benefit from speaking with a lawyer for advice.
Under HIPPA, medical professionals are required to take the necessary measures to keep patient’s personal information private. The HIPPA Privacy Act also allows patient’s access to their own medical records. This means they may obtain copies of the records and request any changes to information that is incorrect from the health care provider.
Common HIPPA Violations
The HIPPA Privacy Act is complex and violations may occur in many ways. Some of the most common violations by healthcare providers include:
A patient’s medical records are often handled improperly by healthcare workers. A violation could occur if a healthcare worker leaves a patient chart in plain view of others. Under HIPPA, all hard copies of medical records must be out of view and in a locked cabinet.
HIPPA places restrictions on the disclosure of patient information. Healthcare workers who talk about to family or friends are in direct violation of the Act. This can result in fines and penalties for the facility.
Social media is great way to share pictures and information with friends and family. However, medical professionals must be careful to avoid sharing any patient information in this manner to avoid violating HIPPA rules. This includes any photos of patients, even if their name is not listed.
Electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones and tablets are used by most healthcare workers today. However, if the device is stolen or lost, a patient’s medical records could be in danger of becoming viewed by others.
Medical professionals must obtain an authorization in writing before disclosing any patient information that is not used for payment or treatment. For this reason, workers should always obtain a written authorization to avoid penalty.
Healthcare workers cannot access patient records for personal gain for any reason. This means that a worker curious about their neighbors diagnosis cannot access records without violating HIPPA rules.
Physicians who use their home computer to access patient records may be in violation if they fail to exercise the proper care. Computer screens left open and in view of friends and family members will result in violation.
Medical staff must be trained in the proper manner regarding HIPPA rules. Many employees violate the HIPPA law because they do not know the proper procedure in handling patient information.
Patient security should be of utmost importance to all medical professionals and facilities. Even with the best training and care, some practitioners end up with potential violations. If you are a New Jersey medical professional and are under investigation for HIPPA violations, you may be facing stiff fines and penalties. It is always best to speak with a HIPPA compliance lawyer for advice. After reviewing your case, your lawyer will give you all the options available to you under the law. Having an experienced HIPPA compliance lawyer can greatly reduce the stress and anxiety associated with these cases.