Federal Government Targets Small, Mid-sized Practices for Probes of Patient Privacy Violations
NORWALK, Conn., March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- UBM Medica US announces that the federal government has stepped up enforcement of healthcare privacy laws, creating difficulties for small and mid-sized medical practices that are trying to keep up with the regulations, according to Physicians Practice, America's Leading Business Journal for Physicians.
Laws including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) are designed to protect the privacy of patient information. Although the law has always covered all medical providers, its enforcement had long been directed mainly at hospitals and health systems. But when Congress passed incentives in 2009, as part of the economic stimulus program, to encourage adoption of electronic health records systems by medical practices, it included provisions that enhanced enforcement of privacy and security rules, and increased penalties. It also required the Department of Health and Human Services to periodically audit healthcare providers for potential HIPAA violations.
A case in point: A five-physician practice in Arizona was fined $100,000 by the federal government for using a publically accessible online scheduling system.
"A typical independent medical practice with five physicians or fewer would usually have no more than 25 or 30 employees," said Bob Keaveney, Editorial Director of Physicians Practice. "That's a small business. They work hard to ensure that patient information is kept safe. But many of these practices lack the manpower, resources, and technical skill to keep up with the government's Byzantine regulations."
In its March cover story, Physicians Practice's Aubrey Westgate dives deeply into the problem and offers guidance to practices on how best to respond.
About UBM Medica US
Addressing today' s healthcare information needs, UBM Medica US delivers strategic, integrated communications solutions and comprehensive reach—online, in print, and via custom programs. Improving the effectiveness of healthcare through information and education, UBM Medica US provides unbiased clinical, practical, and business information for physicians, providers, payers, and patients around the world. Through journals, magazines, websites, online communities, drug databases, digital events, and other valuable resources, UBM Medica US also delivers comprehensive communication solutions for the pharmaceutical and related industries. Websites include CancerNetwork.com, ConsultantLive.com, DiagnosticImaging.com, MusculoskeletalNetwork.com, OBGYN.net, PhysiciansPractice.com, PsychiatricTimes.com and SearchMedica.com. UBM Medica US is part of UBM Connect – which provides marketing services across a number of communities, the largest of which are healthcare, medical device design and advanced manufacturing. UBM Connect also includes UBM Studios, the global leader in interactive digital environments. UBM Connect is a UBM plc company. For more information, visit http://www.UBMMedicaUS.com
Jason J. Golden
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SOURCE UBM Medica US
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