A HIPAA violation is a violation of covered entities (usually hospitals and other medical providers) arising from the failure to comply with the standards and provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Covered entities are those entities who offer healthcare plans or provide healthcare services and submit healthcare information electronically. If you have suffered damages due to a HIPAA violation, consult with a HIPAA violation lawyer so you will know your remedies and can take action immediately.
HIPAA violations usually arise when there is an unauthorized disclosure of protected health information (PHI). Other common HIPAA violations are unauthorized accessing of PHI, failure to implement controls on who can access PHI, theft of patient records, failure to provide safeguards to ensure PHI’s confidentiality and integrity, and failure to enter into HIPAA-compliant agreements with business vendors before giving access to PHI.
What is PHI?
Protected health information includes names, addresses (except for state location), ages and important dates, phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, social security numbers, any identifying medical numbers, vehicle information, photographs, biometrics, and other identifying information.
Common examples of HIPAA violations
Some common examples of HIPAA violations occur with unsecured records or unencrypted data, improper disposal of records, stolen laptop, smart phone or USB device, hacking or ransomware attacks, lack of employee training on HIPAA regulations and compliance, employees gossiping and sharing PHI, sending PHI to the wrong patient, discussing PHI outside of the office, or discussing PHI in social media posts.
How to prove HIPAA violation
To prove that a medical provider violated HIPAA, one must show that: (a) there was a disclosure of information to a third party; (b) such information is considered PHI; and (c) whether the medical provider knew about the breach and what the medical provider has done since the violation.
HIPAA violations are subject to civil and criminal penalties, such as fines against the medical provider and imprisonment against the healthcare professional who knowingly or purposefully disclosed the protected health information. To avoid these penalties, medical providers should seek counsel from HIPAA violation lawyers to ensure that their processes, operations, and third-party agreements are HIPAA-compliant.
Cause of action for HIPAA violation
There is no private cause of action under HIPAA rules. For this reason, legal action is taken against HIPAA violations under a negligence claim, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, theft of data, breach of data privacy, or medical malpractice if the violation affected one’s healthcare. The same acts that constitute a HIPAA violation may also constitute a violation of state or common law.
HIPAA violation complaints can be filed with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. However, as previously mentioned, a private individual cannot claim damages for HIPAA violations because the law does not provide for a private cause of action. You may file claims with the court based on other causes of action. It is important to discuss with a HIPAA violation lawyer because the same acts constituting a HIPAA violation can give rise to another cause of action, possibly based on negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of data privacy. Should you need assistance, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We have offices in New York, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY. You can call us at 718-509-9774 or send us an email at email@example.com.