HIPAA Privacy Rule Violation and Enforcement

 

The first port of call for any complaints under HIPAA Privacy Rule is the covered entity itself. According to surveys that have been carried out, most of the complaints from individuals who have been aggrieved are due, mainly, from confusion about the rules. Even staff members of covered entities don’t all seem to be well versed in their responsibilities under HIPAA Privacy Rule even where this is a crucial part of the particular service that they offer.


One of the bodies tasked with the responsibility of carrying out surveys into the state of violations, enforcement along with the general performance, implementation and compliance with HIPAA Privacy Rule in general was AHIMA, American Health Information Management Association. Persons who are not satisfied with the way a complaint on any matter related to their Protected Health Information (PHI) is being handled, are requested to file their grievance with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR).


Known effects of HIPAA Privacy Rule enforcement


Needless to say, the implementation of HIPAA Privacy Rule was bound to cause some friction as ‘covered entities’ rushed to comply and not get caught out in the event of an inspection. Such an Act, just like any other regulations, takes up both time and resources, neither of which is freely or readily available.

 

Medical practitioners, physicians and health care workers have had to make significant changes to the way they perform their duties to adhere to the requirements of HIPAA Privacy Rule. These changes include drawing up of records that meet the required standards, an increase in the paperwork to better address the needs of individuals and a rise in costs associated with implementation, and compliance with the complex legalities of the Act.

 

Other known effects of implementation of HIPAA Privacy Rule, especially in 'covered entities' include effects on:


Medical Research - follow up surveys have been complicated by the cost factor as well as the need for compliance with HIPAA Privacy Rule. The time taken to recruit participants and the cost of the same has significantly increased.


Clinical Care - there is now a much more guarded approach to disclosure of medical information even where this is vital for the provision of care to patients.