A variety of fines and other consequences are available for HIPAA violations. HIPAA violations and data breaches can result in extremely expensive financial and other penalties. These can include hefty fines that vary according to the offense, employee sanctions, organizational costs associated with sending out breach notices and minimizing damages after breaches, and the potential for additional criminal prosecution.
Depending on the severity of the breach, whether a violation was intentional or unintentional, and if the employee disclosed the infringement as quickly as possible, many covered companies and business partners impose employee sanctions for HIPAA violations. Employees who knew of a HIPAA violation committed by another employee but chose not to report it may face sanctions.
Employee education can stop HIPAA violations from happening, whether they are deliberate or unintentional.
Whether a violation was intentional or not, an entity may be penalized. When a covered company commits a breach violation, there are frequently civil violations involved, and the imposition of civil money penalties aids in making up for the infringement. The Office for Civil Rights categorizes civil money penalties into four groups, from Tier 1 violations committed without an entity’s knowledge (possible fines of $100 to $50,000 per violation, with an annual maximum of $25,000 for repeat violations, per calendar year) to Tier 4 violations where a breach occurred due to willful negligence and without remedy to the cause of the violation (possible fines of $50,000 per violation, with a cap of $1.5 million per calendar year). The HITECH Act was interpreted differently to apply caps, with annual maximums increasing following the severity of the violation tier. This revision aimed to recognize the level of responsibility of an entity for a breach and set maximum fines in line with it.
Companies that actively manage and keep an eye on their HIPAA compliance are better able to spot any possible dangers to data security and take steps to minimize those concerns before they become more serious and expensive issues.