For many years, HIPAA enforcement was not taken seriously, and enforcement actions used to consist of little more than a slap on the wrist and some advice on what to do better the next time. But all that has changed, and now the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has begun vigorous enforcement of the HIPAA regulations, and is not hesitant about applying multi-million dollar fines.
Now that the rules have been in place for more than ten years, the days of advice and counseling have been replaced by a hard-nosed enforcement attitude, where HHS OCR is ready to make health care organizations that violate the rules feel some pain for their actions.
If your organization is not ready, the HIPAA rules have new, significantly higher fines, including mandatory minimum fines of $10,000 for willful neglect of compliance. In addition, HIPAA enforcement has taken on a new importance at HHS; officials have publicly stated that enforcement is now a priority, and that means being ready for an audit or compliance review is more important than ever.
If you don't take the proper steps to ensure your patients' rights and health information are being protected according to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, you can be hit with significant fines and penalties. With the increased HIPAA fines beginning at $10,000 in cases of willful neglect, following the privacy requirements, providing good information security, and being in compliance are more important than ever.
In this session we will review the HIPAA enforcement actions that have taken place and examine why the enforcement took place, and what could have been done to prevent the incident that led to the enforcement. We will look at the requirements that were not met and discuss what HIPAA entities need to do to ensure that the proper policies, procedures, training, and documentation of their application are in place to prevent problems and limit the organization's exposure in incidents.
In this session we will also discuss the HIPAA audit program and how it works, and discuss the areas that caused the most issues in the 2012 audits. We will explore what kind of issues and what kind of entities had the most problems, and show where entities need to improve their compliance the most, and also explore the typical risk issues that lead to breaches of health information and see how those issues may be a target for auditors in 2015.
We will discuss the HIPAA audit and enforcement regulations and processes, and how they apply to HIPAA covered entities and business associates. We will explain the recent changes that increase fines and create new penalty levels, including new penalties for willful neglect of compliance that begin at $10,000.
The results of prior enforcement actions and HHS audits (and their penalties) will be discussed, including recent actions involving multi-million dollar fines and settlements. In addition, new trends in information security risks will be discussed so you can start to plan for the work you'll need to do to stay in compliance and keep patient information private and secure.
Why should you attend: HIPAA Compliance requires that you be prepared to handle Protected Health Information properly and follow the requirements in the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules. If there is a problem that comes to the surface, through a complaint, breach, or audit, an enforcement action can result. Enforcement actions include financial settlements that can reach into the millions of dollars, as well as Corrective Action Plans that can take years to complete and can cost many times the expense of the monetary settlements.
Violations originated from such simple things as returning copiers to the leasing company without removing the PHI on the hard drive, moving offices without accounting for hard drives stored in a closet, and improperly disposing of printed materials, that all could have been prevented with the implementation of policies and procedures and training on them. Several settlements for violations involve improper consideration of the requirements in the Security Rule, which calls for extensive policies and procedures based on an accurate and thorough entity-wide risk analysis.
Every entity under the HIPAA regulations needs to know why the enforcement actions took place and what could have been done differently to prevent the violations that led to enforcement, so they can avoid those issues and their significant impact. Failure to do so can lead to financial settlements, fines, and/or corrective action plans that can severely impact your organization.
Areas Covered in the Session: