HIPAA regulations are enforced to protect the privacy of medical information. Providers and insurance companies can be fined for violations, and people who are personally responsible for information leaks can be imprisoned. There are many different types of HIPAA violations, from accidental leaks to the purposeful release of information. If you have any questions concerning HIPAA violations, please contact a lawyer.
One type of HIPAA violation is the release of information on the Internet. This can be purposeful or accidental. There have been cases of persons releasing information on abortion patients' information on anti-abortion websites. One health care company released the email information of hundreds of their patients when a worker at the company sent a mass email reminding patients about their pill schedule.
Even the release of information to employees who do not have the direct need to access patients' medical files is a breach of HIPAA. One common example of a HIPAA violation is therapists not saving their files to a protected computer, allowing other employees access to personal information.
One violation of HIPAA regulations that seems to be more common is the extraneous release of information to employers. Often, employers receive information about their employees who are making disability claims or even minor insurance claims. Sometimes insurance companies will release too much information. This release of information can negatively affect the employee through workplace embarrassment, harassment or even firing.
In more malicious violations of HIPAA security regulations, doctors and health care workers have released or even sold medical information to magazines, newspapers or news stations. Targets of this type of violation are most often celebrities --- politicians, movie stars or singers.
Security is a major issue when it comes to HIPAA violations, and many violations of HIPAA are caused by negligence on the part of a health care employee. Sometimes computers are left open with files readily available to other employees; sometimes family members look at confidential files and release information maliciously.