According to a recent statement made by the HHS, the number of reported HIPAA violations is on the rise. Last year saw a record high of complaints, 4,463 to be exact. This past month alone has seen 1,170 violations involving 31 million records PHI records reported to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.) This past year's numbers have yet to be released, but you don't need a crystal ball and a fortune teller to see that the numbers likely went up and will steadily incline in 2015. We haven't reached the top yet.
The newly selected budget for various federal offices for next year includes no bonuses in funding to any of the agencies responsible for maintaining and enforcing HIPAA compliance. Despite this, the HHS is not concerned and stands behind their current methods. A spokesperson for the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) was quoted saying,
"OCR’s strong enforcement of the HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification rules, remains very much on track."
This claim can be readily backed up by the case HHS settled a few weeks ago with the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services. They agreed to pay the fine of $1.7 million for a number of potential HIPAA compliance violations. Additionally, this past year saw one of the biggest HIPAA case pay outs in history.
What they don't report is that though complaints are on the rise, so is the number of cases being investigated and settled. If enforcement efforts keep up in the New Year, then compliance efforts should follow suit. Keep your current HIPAA compliance plan up to date, and conduct regular risk assessments throughout your business. If you don't have a compliance plan yet, consult with a company such as Allpoint Compliance. They make the process of implementing a compliance plan easy and quick. If you have any questions regarding our services, feel free to contact us at our website.