what to do if accused of hipaa violation

What to do if Accused of HIPAA Violation?

If someone accuses you of violating HIPAA, what you do depends on the violation, whether you work for a HIPAA-covered organization, your role, and the accuser’s role.

Whatever the situation is, you should not ignore the accusation. If you are not sure if it is true, you should get help.

Are you interested in learning? American Healthcare Compliance, offerings HIPAA compliance courses.

For more information contact us.

Let’s look into details what to do if accused of HIPAA violation?

Accusations of HIPAA Violations from Various Sources

There are different types of accusations and situations that lead to HIPAA violations. This is because patient privacy or data security can be breached in different ways.

Here are some common types of claims that HIPAA has been broken:

  • A senior could tell a trainee nurse that what they did accidentally broke HIPAA rules.
  • A HIPAA Security Officer could let the IT department know about software that breaks HIPAA.
  • A patient who has not been able to get a copy of their PHI in a timely manner could accuse a covered entity of violating HIPAA.
  • Sources that you cannot trust, like a blog post written by someone who does not know what HIPAA is or who it affects. In fact, false information about HIPAA can lead to false accusations of HIPAA violations.

How to Respond with HIPAA Claims

If you are accused of breaking HIPAA, your response should be based on the details of the case and the type of violation that you are being accused of.

To respond effectively, here are some steps:

  • Disclosure of Excessive PHI:

Situation: A student nurse accidentally shares more Protected Health Information (PHI) than is needed.

Response: Learn from the accusation, make sure no harm was done, and do not break the rule again.

  • Social Media Post of Patient Image:

Situation: Putting a picture of a patient on social media, which is a very big breach.

Response: Take down the picture right away, report it to higher authorities, write down what happened, and get ready for possible punishments based on privacy training.

  • Incorrect Accusation by Colleague:

Situation: A coworker makes a false accusation because they forgot or do not follow the rules.

Response: Report the false accusation to higher authorities to keep yourself safe and stop others from making similar accusations in the future.

Resolving HIPAA Violation Claims

What to Do if Accused of HIPAA Violation

How an accusation is resolved will also depend on what kind of accusation it is, who it is made against, and what happened as a result of the violation.

IT Department Software Violation

For example, if software installed by the IT Department is violating HIPAA, it needs to be uninstalled, and the software vendor needs to be informed about the problem.

If there was a breach of unsecured ePHI, the breach must also be reported to the Office for Civil Rights at HHS either within sixty days or at the end of the year.

Patient’s Delayed PHI Access

When a patient accuses a covered entity of a HIPAA violation for failing to provide a copy of their PHI in a timely manner, the covered entity must investigate the delay or prove the patient was not entitled to a copy.

The investigation may change policies, procedures, or personnel, but the patient must be informed of the resolution to avoid HHS allegations.

False Accusations from Unreliable Sources

Civil action is also an option, but this may create more bad publicity than good.

When unreliable sources make false HIPAA claims, they must be informed immediately.

The accusation should not only be taken back, but the person, business, or organization that was accused may also need to run a media campaign to fix any damage to the reputation that the accusation caused.

Also, file a civil suit, but that might get you more bad press than good.

Prevention of Being Accused of a HIPAA Violation

Employees of covered entities or business associates must follow HIPAA guidelines to avoid violations:

  • Education and Training

Make sure that everyone on your staff knows all of the HIPAA rules that apply to their jobs. To stay in compliance, you need to have regular training sessions and updates.

  • Mobile Device Security

Be cautious when using mobile devices to store patient health information. Protect your devices, do not leave them unattended, and do not text patient information unless you are using an encrypted app.

  • Maintaining Records Correctly

Be careful when handling paper and electronic files so that you do not mix up patient records. Filing correctly and checking twice helps employees avoid costly penalties.

Conclusion: What to Do if Accused of HIPAA Violation?

If someone says they broke HIPAA, you need to pay close attention and act quickly to protect patient privacy and stay in line with the law.

No matter what the situation is, you cannot ignore accusations. Instead, people should respond quickly, get help if they are not sure what to do, and take the right steps to deal with and resolve the accusation.

HIPAA compliance, staff training, and strong security measures can help healthcare organizations prevent future violations and provide the best patient care and privacy.


How do I respond to a HIPAA violation?

  • Investigate the incident.
  • Do a risk assessment for HIPAA compliance.
  • More HIPAA training should be given to employees who violate the law.

What is the security rule of HIPAA?

Security Rule requires administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for electronic protected health information’s confidentiality, integrity, and security.

What are the three steps of the HIPAA safeguard?

Administration, physical, and technical safeguards are the three types of protections the HIPAA security rule needs.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts