Passed in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA” but commonly misspelled as “HIPPA”) is designed to protect coverage of health insurance for employees and their families if they should change or lose their employment. In addition, the act also established national standards for identifiers of providers, employers, and plans along with covering transaction of electronic healthcare payments and information.
The act itself is run by the federal government with the cooperation of the states who administer healthcare. HIPAA attorneys are also part of the mix that protects the rights of the individual in case there is abuse, neglect, or outright violation of the statutes that are part of the law itself. You can consult with your healthcare attorney to find the best course of action for your particular situation.
To date, there have been over 100,000 reported complaints in regard to HIPAA violations which have led to 20,000+ federal investigations and enforcement actions. Also, just over 500 of the cases have led to US Department of Justice referrals for criminal actions. Some of the more significant breaches of the act include the following;
- Cignet Health of Maryland: $4.3 million in fines for ignoring requests of patients and inquiries by federal officials
- Tricare Management of Virginia: Loss of data that affected nearly five million people
- Virginia Physician: A criminal indictment for sharing information with patient’s employer under false pretenses
There are also numerous other civil and criminal violations that have occurred which have led to the development of HIPAA attorneys who specialize in this field.
When You Should Hire a Healthcare Attorney
There are a number of reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney if you believe that a violation has occurred or your rights have been compromised. While you cannot file for a lawsuit based only on a HIPAA violation, you may sue based on Minnesota law, if damages are present. This is where you will want to consult with an attorney who focuses in healthcare and HIPAA along with Minnesota laws, rules, and regulations.
Healthcare attorneys often offer a free consultation, which means you can discuss the nature of what happened and they will use their knowledge and experience to inform you of what actions can be taken. For example, a violation of privacy can be taken up through the Office of Civil Rights. If they find that a violation did occur, then you may want to hire an attorney to take the proper course of action.
In addition to direct violations of the HIPAA, there are numerous state laws that may have been violated as well. Your attorney will provide you with the guidance needed to that your rights are fully protected. If your attorney believes that a violation is more criminal in nature, then you will need to contact the authorities and inform them of what happened to you. Your attorney can help in this regard by pointing you in the right direction. That’s why having the services of HIPAA attorneys can be so valuable in cases where your medical privacy has been compromised.
Please contact Holt Law to determine whether or not we are able to handle your case.