Until two years ago, dental offices had avoided fines for HIPAA noncompliance. In 2015, Dr. Joseph Beck became the first dentist to be fined for a HIPAA violation, which sent a warning to dental offices nationwide about HIPAA compliance.
Interestingly, the penalty Dr. Beck paid was not issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), but by the Office of the State Attorney General. Dr. Beck was cited and fined for mishandling the Protected Health Information of 5,600 patients...
Dr. Andrew Brown, the chairman of the ADA’s Council on Dental Practice, is urging dentists nationwide to take HIPAA compliance seriously. Brown said, “There are steep consequences for health care providers that don’t comply with the law and we don’t want to see any dentists having to pay tens of thousands of dollars in penalties.”
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The Texas Attorney General does respond to complaints about violations of patient privacy, so Texas dentists are at greater peril than most. Additionally, the threat of data breaches is greater than ever before. OCR is taking a harder line on healthcare organizations that fail to comply with HIPAA Rules and keep electronic protected health information secure.
Excerpted from HIPAA Journal, October 2, 2017