HIPAA Violations Remind Hospitals to Reinforce Privacy Rules

Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media , February 8, 2011

A federal judge on October 26, 2009, sentenced a doctor and two former hospital employees to a year's probation; they admitted to snooping at the records of Little Rock, AK, TV reporter Anne Pressly, who was murdered. Pressly was found severely beaten in her Little Rock home on October 20, 2008, and died five days later.

Back then, U.S. Attorney Jane Duke said in a statement she hoped the Little Rock snooping sentencings "send the message that the HIPAA protections apply to every person in the community, regardless of their position or stature. Likewise, the penalties for violating HIPAA apply equally to every person with access to protected health information."

The bottom line, Boggan says, is HIPAA and HITECH regulations are "serious business, and there for a reason. It amazes me how this continues to be a problem, but it is human nature to be curious about things of which we have no business." 

Dom Nicastro is a contributing writer. He edits the Medical Records Briefings newsletter and manages the HIPAA Update Blog.
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