HIPAA Violation Defense Attorney in California
The privacy and confidentiality required by healthcare professionals with regards to their patients’ information are primarily controlled and regulated by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA renders certain medical information about individuals private and requires healthcare providers and other healthcare-related entities to maintain practices and procedures designed to protect private patient information. If a patient alleges that someone in your organization violated HIPAA by illegally disclosing their private information, you need the help of a seasoned healthcare lawyer to defend your practice and your reputation. The Law Offices of Art Kalantar can be retained to protect you and your company from allegations of HIPAA violations.
Entities Subject to HIPAA Regulations
A variety of healthcare entities are governed by HIPAA. These organizations all have access to confidential patient information and are subject to lawsuits and other sanctions should they violate patients’ privacy rights. Covered entities include:
- Medical service providers
- Health or nursing care facilities
- Health insurers
- Plans sponsored by employment
- Independent contractors working for parties covered by HIPAA
When Can Information Be Disclosed to Third Parties?
Under HIPAA, there are limited circumstances under which private patient information may be disclosed to third parties. Generally, information can be disclosed if:
- The patient makes a request
- Law enforcement requires the information as part of an investigation
- The treatment or payment for the patient requires disclosure of the information
Outside of these limited circumstances, patient medical information must be kept confidential and shared only with the patient or their designated representatives such as family members. Unauthorized disclosure of confidential patient information to third parties either by loose-lipped employees, carelessly placed documents, or a data hack, can land your healthcare entity in hot water.
Penalties for HIPAA Violations
HIPAA violations, if intentional or the result of willful neglect, can be punished as a criminal act. Knowing and intentional violation of the law can lead to a $50,000 fine and up to a year imprisonment. Deceiving a patient in order to access their information can yield a $100,000 fine and up to five years in prison. Selling or distributing a patient’s information for personal gain or deliberate harm to the patient can land you in prison for up to 10 years along with a $250,000 fine.
Federal HIPAA law does not provide for a private right of action by patients directly against healthcare entities for damages. However, patients can file claims through the state attorney general or the Department of Health and Human Services against healthcare entities for violating HIPAA. Even unintentional violations can carry heavy fines.
Additionally, if you violate a patient’s medical privacy in California, the patient may be able to bring a civil suit under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA). Unlike HIPAA, CMIA does provide for a private right of action.
Maintaining Good Privacy Practices
The best way to avoid HIPAA violations and the attendant legal fallout is to maintain good practices and procedures designed to keep patient information safe. It is important to train staff and physicians in proper HIPAA rules and procedures, as well as to keep data privacy concerns in mind when designing and maintaining information technology systems. Many HIPAA violations occur because medical data is not properly encrypted, allowing hackers easy access.
The Law Offices of Art Kalantar can help your healthcare organization put together, maintain, and monitor strong privacy policies, both in terms of staff and contractor behavior and in terms of data management. We can help you develop HIPAA manuals and corporate policies for your workers, establish HIPAA training, and establish risk management procedures with IT professionals designed to mitigate the risk of a HIPAA violation. Privacy violations can happen accidentally or intentionally, and ensuring that you maintain good policies and procedures will not only lower the risk of a violation occurring but will also help you defend against HIPAA charges should one of your staff falter or should your data somehow become compromised.
Careful Approach Delivered by a Professional
After being accused of a violation of HIPAA rules or otherwise violating patient privacy, you must tread deliberately, as your reputation and business could be in jeopardy. Even when you are confident that the accusations are unfounded, the rest of the world will need to be convinced. Turn to the Law Offices of Art Kalantar for an experienced California healthcare lawyer with all the trusted and uncompromising legal representation and guidance you need.
Call 310-773-0001 at any time to request a free case evaluation with the Law Offices of Art Kalantar in Beverly Hills.