Get Ready For Increased HIPAA Fines

HIPAA fines are expected to significantly increase over the next 12 months, and HHS is expected to begin conducting another round of HIPAA audits, according to a National Law Review report.

During a recent American Bar Association conference, Jerome B. Meites, a chief regional civil rights attorney at HHS, told conference attendees he expects HIPAA enforcement to increase at a dramatic rate over the next 12 months. He said HHS' Office of Civil Rights wants to send a strong message to the healthcare industry through high-impact cases, and the more than $10 million HHS recovered from HIPAA violations in the last year will pale in comparison to future recoveries.

Along with increased HIPAA fines, the OCR expects to begin conducting a new round of HIPAA audits this year. In April, HHS released the details of round two of its HIPAA audit program, and in this round, any covered entity and any business associate of a covered entity are subject to the audits.

Under the HIPAA omnibus rule, business associates are directly liable for HIPAA compliance and subject to OCR enforcement penalties of up to $1.5 million per violation.

Mr. Meites also discussed the use of mobile devices in the healthcare industry. He said they have led to a tremendous amount of complaints to OCR and caused many data breaches.

Mobile devices have also caught the attention of many healthcare providers. A recent KLAS survey found concern around personal mobile devices being used in the healthcare industry was healthcare providers' second biggest concern associated with data security.

More Articles on HIPAA:

4 Steps to Better HIPAA Compliance
How Employers Can Avoid Hefty HIPAA Violations 
Who's Ultimately Responsible for Data Breaches? It Might be You 

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