What is HIPAA Violation in the workplace?
A HIPAA violation in the workplace relates to a situation where, voluntarily or involuntary, an employee's health data has fallen into the wrong hands without his consent. HIPAA or Health Insurance and Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 is a landmark piece of legislation that aims to simplify health care administration and ensure the healthcare coverage of employees between their jobs.
HIPAA is confined to US citizens and health organisations. It is a corporate regulation where any data processed by organisations outside the United States is not subject to HIPAA's jurisdiction.
What are the most common HIPAA violation examples?
In a broader perspective, the common breaches of HIPAAA, apart from the various other listed in the legislation are:
- Inadequate Protection Health Information disposal
- Impermissible health information disclosures (PHI)
- Infirmity, integrity and accessibility of the PHI are not managed
- In the absence of safeguards to guarantee PHI's confidentiality, integrity and availableness
- Failed to keep PHI access logs and monitor them
- Failure to conclude a HIPAA-compliant contract with vendors before accessing PHI
- Copies of their PHI cannot be provided on request Failure to carry out access control measures to limit the visibility of PHI Patients
- Dissemination of PHI is more than necessary for a specific task.
- Inadequate employee training on HIPAA and safety awareness
- Theft of records
- PHI share without permission online or via social media
- PHI mismanagement and correlation
- Unauthorized disclosure of PHI to non-compliance with the information
- Lack of documentation on compliance
- Failure to encrypt PHI or use a corresponding alternative to prevent unauthorised access/disclosure
- Inadvertent HIPAA violation reporting of a security incident involving PHI by an individual within 60 days of finding a HIPAA breach.
What are the HIPAA violation penalties for employees?
There is a separate HIPAA penalty in each category of breach. The general factors that impact the level of the financial penalty include the background history, the financial state of the organisation and the damage caused by the violation.
Tier 1: $100 per violation, minimum fine up to $50,000
Tier 2: $1,00 per violation $50,000 minimum fine.
Tier 3: $10,000 minimum fine for breach up to $50,000
Tier 4: $50,000 minimum fine per violation
The aforementioned fines are those laid down in the HITECH Act. The adjustment to take inflation into account is observed annually.
For criminal penalties, HIPAA violations are divided into two separate levels, and a judge shall decide on the term and accompanying fine on the basis of the facts of each case. In addition to paying a fine, if an individual has taken advantage of PHI's theft, access, or disclosure, it may be necessary to repay all money received.
The following thirds of penalties for violations of HIPAA are:
Tier 1: Reasonable cause of violation or no knowledge – up to 1 year in prison
Tier 2: Getting hold of PHI for misconduct – up to five years imprisonment
Tier 3: Getting hold of PHI for personal gain or malicious purpose – up to 10 years in prison