The Code of Ethics that many medical professionals adhere to covers a wide range of issues. They require medical professionals to provide the best possible care to every patient, be professional and protect a patient’s privacy.
Parts of this code also became federal law when the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) passed. This law established the Privacy Rule, which protects patients’ health information.
Most Texas doctors, physicians and nurses are careful to ensure they adhere to HIPAA laws, but it is critical to understand that HIPPA violations could put your professional license at risk.
What are the penalties for a HIPAA violation?
HIPAA violations can lead to serious disciplinary actions, including:
- Considerable fines, up to $50,000;
- License suspension or loss; and
- Even potential jail time.
These penalties – as well as their impacts on your career – are precisely why medical professionals take precautions not to violate HIPAA laws. However, violating HIPAA laws might be more common than many might think.
Prevent HIPAA violations to protect your license
Some of the most common HIPAA violations are risky everyday occurrences, including:
- Not keeping patient records secure or encrypted;
- Talking or texting about patient information;
- Forwarding patient information to a personal email account;
- Leaving patient data up on a screen when you are not present;
- Employees accessing information they are not authorized to;
- Posting information on websites or social media; and
- Even hacking or data breaches could be a violation.
Not all of these violations could lead you to lose your license. However, it is still critical to prevent all HIPAA violations to protect your career and practice.
So, how can medical professionals prevent these violations from occurring? You must prioritize:
- Providing proper training to employees and staff;
- Establishing strict policies about security;
- Supervising and reviewing these security measures regularly;
- Investing in strong cybersecurity.
Prioritizing HIPAA laws and adhering to these regulations can help protect your license and reputation in the long run.