HIPAA Gets Teeth

In a step that could pave the way for ramped up HIPAA enforcement at the state level, training for state attorneys general on how to file a HIPAA federal civil lawsuit will be offered this spring, a federal official announced Wednesday.
The HITECH Act, which called for increased penalties for HIPAA violations, also enabled state attorneys general to file the federal lawsuits. But so far, the only well-publicized action has been a lawsuit filed by former Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is now a U.S. senator, against insurer Health Net. That lawsuit was settled in July 2010, when the insurer agreed to pay $250,000 in damages and offer stronger consumer protections.
Training for attorneys general and their staffs will be offered in four regional meetings from April through June, said Susan McAndrew, deputy director for health information privacy at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. The first event will be April 4-5 in Dallas. OCR will pay all expenses for two members of each state’s attorney general’s office to attend the training, McAndrew says.
The training will help ensure “that state attorneys general will be better prepared to carry out their new authority under the HITECH Act in enforcing HIPAA,” McAndrew said.
Training will be offered in Atlanta and Washington in May and San Francisco in June. “Once those meetings are completed, we’ll have computer-based training available as well,” McAndrew explained.
She also pointed out that even if a state succeeds in a federal civil lawsuit for a HIPAA violation, OCR, which enforces HIPAA at the federal level, also could take action.

This entry was posted in Quick Computer Tips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *