Recent record-breaking HIPAA fines will be 'low' compared to what's coming, government attorney says

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Healthcare providers should brace for even more aggressive enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and they should expect fines to increase substantially, according to a high-ranking government attorney.

The $10 million in HIPAA fines collected since June 2013 will be “low compared to what's coming up,” said Health and Human Services Chief Regional Civil Rights Counsel Jerome Meites.

He made the comment Thursday at the American Bar Association conference in Chicago, according to news reports.

The government is gunning for noncompliant providers in order to make examples of them, Meities said. He clarified that his statements were his own views and not necessarily the official HHS position, The Hill reported.

Device theft continues to be the major source of HIPAA breaches, according to a recently released report from the HHS Office for Civil Rights. Thefts have led to recent cases involving long-term care residents.

The government last month announced the largest-ever HIPAA settlement, which was for $5 million and involved New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University.

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