Los Angeles Health Care Attorney
In order to give patients more control over the privacy of their own medical
records and health insurance information, the Department of Health and
Human Services (DHHS) created the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPAA. This federal act – which is actually
an extension of the
Privacy Act of 1974 – shields patients and their past health issues from prying eyes
that reasonably should have no interest in their private matters. It does
this by telling certain entities specific guidelines as to when they can
disclose patient information, why they can, and to whom they can.
Entities that must adhere to HIPAA regulations or else face penalty include:
- Medical service providers
- Health or nursing care facilities
- Health insurers
- Plans sponsored by employment
- Independent contractors working for aforementioned parties
It is worth noting that employers do not have express authorization under
HIPAA to view an employee’s medical records. Many HIPAA violation
cases arise from employers prying into employee affairs after workplace
accidents or injuries.
In general, information can be disclosed to third parties if:
- Patient makes the request (30 day window of opportunity)
- Law enforcement requires information for investigation
- Treatment or payment for patient requires disclosure
Are you being accused of HIPAA violations? Contact a Los Angeles HIPAA attorney
today to learn more about your rights as a healthcare representative.
Penalties for Violating HIPAA Rights
Virtually any sort of HIPAA violation can be seen as a criminal act, depending
on the circumstances, and the full of extent of the law is sure to be
used to punish the alleged offender. If evidence can assuredly point to
intentional and knowing acts of violation, the United States Department
of Justice can implement a $50,000 fine and one year imprisonment as a
penalty. Deceiving a patient and using false pretenses to access or share
their information carries a $100,000 fine and 5 years in prison. Selling
or distributing an individual’s information for personal gain or
deliberate harm to the patient may escalate sentencing to $250,000 and
10 years’ imprisonment.
While the criminal penalties are harsh enough, they are not the only issue
an accused HIPAA violator will need to face. After the implementation of the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, patients whose private information has been wrongly accessed may file
civil lawsuits against the accused. Depending on the type and amount of
given data, civil penalties can range into the
millions in compensation. Additionally, even if you did not intentionally violate
HIPAA regulations, you could be found liable in a civil lawsuit.
Defense Against HIPAA Violation Accusations
If your business deals with patient health and health care information
in any way, you need to ensure you and all of your employees fully understand
HIPAA and all of the rules and regulations it creates. In the event that
you are accused of violating HIPAA despite your utmost care, you are not
to be found automatically guilty and hit with penalties. You are afforded
the opportunity to defend yourself and your business or practice in court.
At Dorros Law, we understand that you are busy and, as a healthcare professional
or head of a medical institution, you have countless responsibilities.
Save yourself precious time and let our Los Angeles healthcare attorney
take care of your HIPAA legal needs.
Start now by calling Dorros Law at
310.935.0621 or by filling out an
online case evaluation form.