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Reminder for the New Year - Biggest HIPAA Exposure: Your Staff

                January 15, 2015
One of the biggest areas of HIPAA exposure for practitioners are sitting in very close proximity to you on a daily basis, and may be one of the individuals you are relying on to aid your ability to see your patients.  Exposure: Your Staff.  

Recently a press release was issued by the FBI and also the OIG discussing the activity of a Texas "registration specialist" employed by Parkland Hospital, who pled guilty to one count of fraud and related activity consisting of identity theft. The employee, responsible for entering patient information into Parkland’s computer system, used his position to obtain confidential patient information, including patient’s names, phone numbers, and dates of birth in order to identify and contact prospective patients for his home health care business, Dallas Home Health Care, which he had formed in 2006.  Parkland discovered the theft in 2011 and fired the employee.  It is unclear whether Parkland also filed a police report or reported him elsewhere (recommended upon discovery of such conduct).  For more information on these particular charges, click here
 

The best way to protect your practice from a circumstances similar to the above is to ensure you have already adopted proper policies and procedures related to protected health information.  Specifically, a proper employee handbook dictating appropriate protection of patient information, HIPAA policies and procedures for employee and patient education, and that once adopted, your policies are enforced.  You may want your employees to sign a document stating they agree to indemnify you should their conduct result in your exposure under HIPAA.

To discuss HIPAA protections we recommend for your practice, contact Jennifer at 516 747 6700 x. 302, Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com or Erica at 516 747 6700 x. 308, EYoungerman@Kirschenbaumesq.com


 

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