After the damage is done, what happens next for HIPAA violators?

What options does your practice have after a HIPAA breach?

The penalties for HIPAA violations have been seen in the news, and it stands to reason that health organizations have a lot to lose, especially with an audit coming soon. But what about those practices that are unlucky enough to make a bad move and have to recover? What are the proper steps to take to make the damage minimal?

Aside from seeking the proper outside legal counsel, an article for Dentistry IQ by Mary Beth Gettins examines the options providers have in this situation. One of the biggest assets in this situation, according to her is honesty, with the patients affected by any HIPAA-related interference, the public at large, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Being proactive about HIPAA safety, not just submitting reports for your own practice when something happens, can put you more in a position of assertion when it comes to these issues. Another factor that may contribute to the specific HIPAA violation experience you have is the level of readiness you show, as Gettins writes.

"The cost of a HIPAA breach can escalate based upon your HIPAA compliance and your responsiveness to potential or actual privacy and security threats," she said. "Your failure to implement a HIPAA compliance program and failure to respond to potential and actual breaches of health information can cost you."

According to information from HHS, there have been more than 95,500 HIPAA complaints over the past 11 years, with most being resolved. Private practices are the most common offenders, which is part of why your medical center might consider HIPAA compliance software to strengthen your improvement plan.

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