HHS fails to impose civil fines in three years of HIPAA

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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act -- known as HIPAA – was enacted three years ago. Since then, 20,000 complaints have been lodged, but no fines have been levied.

The Department of Health and Human Services has "closed" more than 73% of the 19,420 grievances filed so far, said a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights, which enforces the law. The most common complaints include personal medical details wrongly revealed, poorly protected information and difficulty obtaining one's own records, according to HHS.

While no civil penalties have been imposed to-date, more than 5,000 cases remain open and some could result in fines, according to HHS. At least 309 cases were referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal violations.
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