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11 Misconceptions About HIPAA Compliance

The Office of Civil Rights has been assigned to investigate violations of HIPAA requirements. They have already instituted an online complaint form and severe civil and criminal penalties, with fines as high as $250,000 per occurrence. Disgruntled former employees, embarrassed patients and attorneys are expected to file most of the complaints against providers.

1.    My vendors don’t have to provide my office with proof of HIPAA compliance.

2.   No one will ever check to see if I am HIPAA compliant.

3.   All I need to do is use the right HIPAA forms to be HIPAA compliant.

4.   My office doesn’t need to have a privacy officer.

5.   I don’t need to be HIPAA compliant if I have a cash practice.

6.   I just need to know about HIPAA, my office doesn’t need its own compliance manual.

7.   I don’t need to be HIPAA compliant because I don’t have more than 10 employees.

8.   My state laws have no effect on my HIPAA compliance.

9.   HIPAA compliance is only relevant to the doctor.

10.  I don’t have to do anything to be HIPAA compliant, because my software is.

11.  Other providers will refer me even though I’m not HIPAA compliant.

SOURCE: The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued the Privacy Rule to implement the requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). The Privacy Rule standards address the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information—called “protected health information” by organizations subject to the Privacy Rule — called “covered entities,” as well as standards for individuals’ privacy rights to understand and control how their health information is used. Within HHS, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has responsibility for implementing and enforcing the Privacy Rule with respect to voluntary compliance activities and civil money penalties.

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