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Most healthcare professionals and businesses need to understand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as this law imposes severe penalties for violating patient privacy. Similarly, the Health Information Technology for Economic Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) augments HIPAA to address the massive shift toward digital recordkeeping. HIPAA/HITECH Act lawyers help clients maintain compliance and defend them when violations occur.

Experienced Legal Counsel for HIPAA/HITECH Act Cases

HIPAA/HITECH statutes and regulations are among the most misunderstood laws in health care.  The attorneys at Boesen & Snow Law have more than 45 years of combined experience in healthcare law and have successfully helped many clients in the healthcare industry with a wide range of complex legal claims. The healthcare industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States, and any violations are taken very seriously by oversight agencies. If you have been accused of violating HIPAA/HITECH, we can help.

Our firm excels at resolving complex cases. We provide legal guidance as well as direct representation for healthcare law. This means our clients can rely on us to provide valuable guidance that helps them avoid HIPAA/HITECH violations and other such legal disputes. When such issues arise, we are prepared to provide comprehensive representation on behalf of our client to help them preserve their business in any way we can.

Ultimately, running any type of healthcare business in the state is incredibly difficult. Business owners must not only preserve their bottom line and ensure the highest levels of patient care, but they must also comply with a wide range of complex state and federal regulations. Violations of the HIPAA/HITECH Act can be crippling for a business, and it is vital to know the value of working with HIPAA/HITECH Act lawyers you can trust in these situations.

Best HIPAA HITECH Act Lawyers

What Is the HIPAA/HITECH Act?

HIPAA was implemented in 1996 in an effort to provide patients of the American healthcare system with privacy and security concerning their electronically transmitted protected (personal) health information. HIPAA compliance is a crucial concern for most healthcare organizations in the United States, and violations are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly, often leading to severe penalties for violations.

HIPAA is primarily concerned with the handling, storage, and transmission of electronic patient health information. Healthcare organizations may be required to abide by the rules of HIPAA or face severe penalties, which can include severe fines.

Organizations bound by HIPAA must have management systems in place designed to prevent the unauthorized access of any protected health information. Violations may occur neglectfully or willfully, with the latter incurring more serious penalties. When any violations of HIPAA are identified, the healthcare organization must respond and address the problem quickly.

The HITECH Act became law in 2009 in response to the increased reliance on digital recordkeeping in the healthcare industry and the systems in place to handle, store, and transmit patient healthcare records. While many newer systems have made it easier for healthcare organizations to manage patient healthcare information, they have also introduced many new security vulnerabilities, some of which have illegally exposed patient records.

The HITECH Act effectively encouraged healthcare organizations to adopt electronic healthcare records for patients and imposed very strict rules for managing these systems. If you operate any type of healthcare organization, compliance with HIPAA and the HITECH Act may be two of the most important regulatory compliance requirements.

The HITECH Act augmented HIPAA, imposing stricter rules for the storage, handling, and transmission of patient health records while also imposing harsher penalties for violations. While new electronic healthcare recordkeeping systems provide healthcare organizations with the means to provide better patient care faster, it is vital to understand the risks of neglectful use of such systems and the penalties that can follow.

Understanding HIPAA/HITECH Act Violations

While HIPAA was implemented to provide American patients with peace of mind regarding the security and privacy of their electronic protected health information, the HITECH Act aimed to enhance these protections in an increasingly digital recordkeeping environment. All healthcare covered entities and their business associates that handle patient health information must comply with these Acts or face severe legal penalties.

Under the HITECH Act, there are four tiers of violations that may occur, each with an increasing penalty. It is important to remember that these penalties are assigned per violation. This can lead to tremendous fines for a healthcare business. For example, a single security breach or error could expose multiple patient records at once, each amounting to one violation. These can add up quickly, so it is vital for all healthcare businesses to invest in sound digital record security.

Under the HITECH Act, there are four levels of violations that incur penalties:

  1. No Knowledge: The lowest tier of violations includes unknown, neglectful errors. This means that the covered entity committed the violation by mistake and did not know their actions qualified as a HITECH Act violation. The penalty for this level of offense is a fine of $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum fine of $1.5 million for all similar violations within the same calendar year.
  2. Reasonable Cause: The second tier of violations pertains to willful violations, meaning the covered entity knew what they were doing was a HITECH Act violation but had a reasonable cause to do so and did not act with willful neglect. Penalties for these violations range from $1,000 to $50,000 per violation, up to $1.5 million for all violations within the same calendar year.
  3. Willful Neglect/Corrected: The third tier of HITECH Act violations pertains to acts of willful neglect, but the covered entity corrected the issue within 30 days of its discovery. The penalty per violation for this tier is $10,000 to $50,000 per occurrence, up to $1.5 million for all similar violations within the same calendar year.
  4. Willful Neglect/Not Corrected: The fourth and most serious tier of violations includes acts of willful neglect without any attempts to correct the issue within 30 days. Each violation incurs a penalty of $50,000 or more with the same $1.5 million cap for multiple violations within the same calendar year.

It is vital to remember that these penalties apply to neglectful violations, and it is possible for a party to face criminal prosecution for intentional violations of individually identifiable protected health information. If an individual knowingly obtains and/or discloses such information, they may face a criminal penalty of up to $50,000 and up to one year of imprisonment. If such conduct involves false pretenses, penalties increase to a $100,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

If a defendant has willfully and knowingly obtained protected health information and attempted to sell or distribute such information for personal gain and/or to inflict malicious harm, they face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years of imprisonment. It is important to note that if a party commits multiple such violations, their penalties can substantially escalate.

Preventing HIPAA/HITECH Act Violations

Throughout the United States, countless healthcare organizations have implemented new and robust digital security measures to protect patient health information as much as possible and to avoid the penalties that follow HIPAA/HITECH violations. These investments are expensive yet crucial but maintaining compliance with HIPAA/HITECH involves more than just purchasing better digital security for your recordkeeping.

It’s vital for every healthcare organization to have clearly defined and approved practices for the handling, storage, and transmission of protected patient health information. Most of the HIPAA/HITECH Act violations reported each year are the result of negligence, not willful misconduct, but negligent errors can still lead to a large number of HIPAA/HITECH Act violations within a very short time, which can be severely damaging to any healthcare operation.

Healthcare industry business leaders are responsible for cultivating internal cultures committed to protecting patient health records at all times, but maintaining regulatory compliance can be incredibly difficult without legal counsel. When you have HIPAA/HITECH Act lawyers advising you, it is easier to identify potential vulnerabilities in your operation, and you will be better prepared to address any discovered issues as soon as they appear.

How Your HIPAA/HITECH Act Lawyers Can Help Your Business

The attorneys at Boesen & Snow Law have successfully represented many healthcare industry clients in a wide range of cases, from medical license defense to ensuring regulatory compliance and various forms of contract drafting and review. Our firm has helped many healthcare organizations develop more robust systems for ensuring compliance with the HIPAA/HITECH Act, and we can apply this experience to your organization’s benefit.

Our firm can review the details of how your organization handles and stores patient health information. We can also assist you in drafting contracts that establish custody rights and responsibilities for all covered entities under the HIPAA/HITECH Act. If any violations occur, we can assist our client in fixing vulnerabilities so their penalties do not escalate.

The attorneys at Boesen & Snow Law have more than 45 years of combined professional experience in healthcare law. Healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated and rapidly evolving industries in the United States, and maintaining compliance is absolutely crucial at all times. Having legal oversight that you trust and a dedicated advocate to assist you when you are accused of violating the HIPAA/HITECH Act is a tremendous advantage that our team is ready to provide.


Q: Are Lawyers Bound by HIPAA?

A: Yes, lawyers are required to abide by the rules of HIPAA if providing services to Covered Entities or Business Associates and receive protected health information. Most people are aware of attorney-client privilege, which is the professional requirement for an attorney to keep all discussions with a client completely private, and a similar requirement applies to a client’s healthcare information. If an attorney violates HIPAA, they face severe professional consequences.

Q: How Much Does the HITECH Act Charge for Protected Patient Health Records?

A: The HITECH Act prevents any excessive fees for sending patient health information, enforcing cost-based fees that apply only to the labor and materials needed to copy and transmit the requested records. Covered entities may charge a flat fee of no more than $6.50 to transmit health records electronically, and costs for transmitting physical records must be reasonable, and the transmitting party must provide a cost breakdown for any such requested records.

Q: What Is the Penalty for Violating HIPAA or HITECH?

A: Penalties for HIPAA/HITECH violations function on a tiered scale, and single incidents can compound up to a maximum fine of $1.5 million. Different tiers of fines for single violations are based on whether the party in violation made a neglectful or conscious error, as well as whether they corrected the violation. For example, the penalty for a single violation from willful neglect without correction is $50,000 per violation.

Q: How Do I Comply With HITECH?

A: The purpose of the HITECH law is to ensure the highest levels of security for protected health information in an increasingly digital healthcare industry. Compliance with HITECH requires careful protection of all patient health information at all times. If new digital recordkeeping systems are implemented in any healthcare organization, it is imperative to ensure such systems are secure and will not present any digital or physical security vulnerabilities.

Q: What Do HIPAA/HITECH Act Lawyers Do?

A: An experienced team of HIPAA/HITECH lawyers can provide comprehensive legal support for your healthcare business in various ways. If you have been accused of violating HIPAA/HITECH, your attorney can help prove that you upheld your legal obligations in good faith and potentially assist you in minimizing any assigned penalties. Your legal team can also provide guidance for minimizing the chance of future violations protecting your business.

The attorneys at Boesen & Snow Law have extensive professional experience handling a wide range of complex healthcare cases and have successfully helped many clients in the healthcare sector with all types of cases, including HIPAA/HITECH -related disputes. The healthcare industry is regulated to an incredible degree, and legal counsel you can trust is invaluable to your business. Contact Boesen & Snow Law today to schedule a free consultation with HIPAA/HITECH lawyers you can trust.

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