In March of 2013, more than sixty cases of sensitive patient records were carelessly discarded into a dumpster. It was later discovered that the records came from the office of former Kokomo dentist Joseph Beck. The dump occurred after Beck's dentistry license had been revoked following a separate investigation by The Attorney General's Office which uncovered cases of negligence and fraudulent billing.
The recovered files were found to contain information on patients from 2002-2007. The information included names, phone numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, state identification numbers, and so on. When The Attorney General’s Office caught wind of this new incident, they promptly sued Beck for what the General's office called, "...an egregious violation of patient privacy and safety."
Beck was ordered to pay a fine of $12,000, marking this case as the first HIPAA violation lawsuit in the state of Indiana. Following this case, a new legislation to Indiana’s Disclosure of Security Breach Act was purposed. This legislation would aim to prevent data breaches and identity theft, as well as reduce harm to potential victims.
Courts are really cracking down on companies who violate any part of the HIPAA, and for good reason. This highlights the importance of maintaining proper HIPAA compliance efforts. While this was paper, you must also ensure that digital records are properly deleted as well. That means that you can't just throw away a computer or recycle it anywhere.
We can guide your company through all the stages of HIPAA compliance and help ensure you avoid any surprise fines or other penalties. If you would like to learn more, we welcome you to contact us directly with questions.