Report: Feds still haven't fined anyone for HIPAA violations

Share this article:
Federal regulatory officials still have not issued any fines for violations of new medical privacy rules first issued five years ago. This despite 38,000 individuals having filed complaints with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights, according to a Des Moines Register analysis of state and federal records.

More than half (56%) of the complaints about the privacy rules-which come under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-were resolved without investigation, the newspaper reported. Less than 2% (just 437) of the complaints were referred to federal investigators.

"There are no HIPAA cops out there looking for violations," said Abner Weintraub of the HIPAA Group, an Orlando-based consulting group. "Enforcement at the Office for Civil Rights is virtually nonexistent. Technically, they've still not issued a single fine -- not even down to the $100 level, and they could toss those around like candy, if only to wake people up about the seriousness of compliance."

One of the biggest problems is that providers do not have to report internal violations, Weintraub said: "This is a tremendous loophole. Enforcement is left to the healthcare community to sort of self-police itself, and to the Office of Civil Rights, which has done virtually nothing."

An OCR spokeswoman said her office resolved nearly 7,000 complaints through corrective action orders, "the most effective way to obtain industry compliance with the privacy rule."
Share this article:

More in News

Nursing home antipsychotic use has dipped nearly 19% under national effort, latest figures show

Nursing home antipsychotic use has dipped nearly 19% ...

The percent of long-stay nursing home residents receiving antipsychotic medication has decreased 18.8% under a nationwide initiative that started in 2012, according to the most recent quarterly figures from the ...

Jimmo succeeds in getting Medicare coverage, two years after landmark case ended

Glenda Jimmo has reached a settlement with the federal government and will finally receive Medicare coverage for claims that were denied in 2007, which led her to file a class-action lawsuit over the so-called "improvement standard."

Also in the news for Oct. 31, 2014 . . .

Minnix hopes White House aging conference will spur 'huge shift' ... CMS finalizes home health payment reductions ... Dementia is now No. 1 killer of women in England