Tag Archive for: Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Explains—HIPAA Violations and Your Medical License

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Explains—HIPAA Violations and Your Medical License

Everyone working in the medical field is aware of “HIPAA.” Congress created the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to protect patients’ privacy and to make sure that patients’ records were held securely. Serious penalties may result from doctors, nurses, hospitals, or other medical providers violating HIPAA, ranging from minor fines of $100 for an inadvertent, de minimus violation to $1.5 million for a pattern of willful acts. In serious cases, HIPAA violations could also result in criminal prosecution. In addition to these civil and criminal penalties, physicians in Kansas or Missouri accused of a HIPAA violation may face the loss of their medical license.  To avoid these severe consequences, it is important to understand the potential ways a violation can occur, to take steps to prevent violations, and to understand what your rights are once violations are noticed.

Whether HIPPA violation allegations against you are minor or extreme, aggressive, experienced licensing counsel is critical to defending your license and livelihood from a suspension or revocation. I wrote the following post to outline HIPAA situations that frequently result in discipline and what you should do if an allegation arises.  If you are licensed medical professional in Kansas or Missouri facing an allegation of a HIPAA violation, call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation. Your career is at risk, and you cannot work your way through this alone.

Frequently Occurring HIPAA Violations

Rules governing HIPAA compliance are byzantine and change frequently. As a rule of thumb, do not disclose or allow disclosure or release of patients’ medical information. The following is an overview of common types of HIPAA violations:

Unauthorized information disclosure – It may be too simplistic just to say “do not release patients’ medical records.” Most trained medical staff are not going to release medical information to total strangers. However, violations frequently occur in the “grey areas” such as releasing personally identifiable medical information to the patient’s family, insurance company, or other medical providers.

Unsecured records – Patients expect that their records are secure and not accessible by third parties. HIPAA requires that that sort of protection be in place.  Digital records should also be stored in a way that prohibits access by using encrypting software and password protection.  Patients’ paper records should be kept under lock and key, with limited personnel having access to them.

Data breaches – Hacking and viruses can result in HIPAA violations related to illegal access to patient records. Your medical office should have antivirus software to prevent data corruption and firewalls to prevent hacking. Strong passwords must be required of those who need to access patient records to prevent both improper internal access as well as hacking.

Lost or stolen electronic devices – Private health information can easily be disclosed when an employee or physician removes files on a portable device and then loses the device. Removal of patient files in this manner should be limited, and protections should be in place to make devices trackable if they are lost.

Improper record disposal – Even if you dispose of patient records, the disposal must be HIPAA compliant. It does not matter if a record is taken from your briefcase, your computer, or a dumpster.  Contract with a licensed disposal firm for records destruction and document complete destruction.

Contact an Experienced Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Now

Any medical provider or clinic in Kansas or Missouri contacted by a state investigator or licensing board should contact experienced counsel immediately. Your business and license to practice are in jeopardy, and these initial moments are crucial.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend you if you are accused of a HIPAA violation. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with licensing issues.