12 Common HIPAA Violations an Attorney Can Help You With

Health professionals and organizations must protect their patients’ privacy. Because of this, doctors, nurses, administrators, and other medical workers need to follow HIPAA rules. Failure to do this can lead to lawsuits from patients and their families.

12 common HIPAA violations attorneys can help you fight against are:

· Unauthorized viewing of healthcare records: Health professionals are only allowed to access the health records of patients they are permitted to view under privacy rules. Looking at the records of family members, friends, or celebrities are HIPAA violations of privacy. Any employee caught looking at unauthorized records could be terminated, and could face criminal charges.

· Failure to eliminate security risks: Health organizations need to perform risk assessments to try to eliminate HIPAA violations. Failure to perform these regularly can leave the organization open to lawsuits, especially if hackers can access a person’s health information.

· Lack of an established risk management process: Organizations need to establish a risk management process to identify risks and create a procedure to eliminate the threats as soon as possible. This ensures action will be taken and identified risks are not ignored.

· Failure to give patients access to their health records: HIPAA states that patients have a right to access their medical records and get copies of their files when requested. Failing to give patients access, overcharging for copies of their records, or failing to give them their records within 30 days is a violation that can result in lawsuits from patients.

· Failure to enter into a HIPAA-compliant business agreement: Your health organization must enter into HIPAA-compliant agreements with all vendors who are given access to patient health records. Failure to do this can result in lawsuits.

· Insufficient access controls: Under HIPAA regulations, business vendors who work with health organizations must control who can access patient records. Not establishing proper access controls can result in lawsuits for HIPAA violations.

· Failure to encrypt HIPAA information: Health organizations need to protect patient information through encryption to prevent data breaches. Encryption is not mandatory under HIPAA rules, but if it’s chosen not to be used, then another form of security needs to be put in place.

· Unauthorized disclosures of health information: Disclosing a patient’s private health information without their permission is a HIPAA violation. This can include giving medical information to a person’s employer, to an unauthorized family member or friend, and even the careless handling of private health information.

· Improper disposal of health information: When a medical organization no longer needs to maintain a patient’s medical information, the records must be properly disposed. This means securely destroying the records and information, including shredding physical documents and wiping electronic devices clean of information. Failing to do this can lead to financial penalties.

· Failure to set verbal communication policies: Employees cannot discuss patient health information in public places – like hallways of health facilities – where others can hear a patient’s test results or health concerns.

· E-mailing patient records: Employees may be tempted to email confidential health records to their personal accounts to work on at home. However, this is insecure and puts a patient’s information at risk. It can be considered theft and leaves the employee and the organization open to discipline and lawsuits.

· Failure to lock electronic devices: Leaving a patient’s records on an electronic device and leaving the screen unlocked and unattended can put private information at risk.

Why Hire Us to Handle HIPAA Violations

When you need a healthcare attorney to resolve an issue with a patient, insurance company, or other organization, including HIPAA violation, let the experts at Johnstone Adams LLC represent your hospital or facility.

In addition to regional and local hospitals, our healthcare clients include the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Mobile Metro Area, physicians, long-term care facilities, mental healthcare facilities, healthcare systems and networks, rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies, and management services organizations.

Ranked in the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list regionally in 12 practice areas, we have experts in many areas of law to give our clients top-notch representation. In business for more than a century, our firm can mix its experience with the ability to evolve with the changing times.

To get started on your case, use our online form, contact us at 844-682-7682 or info@johnstoneadams.com.

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