Three years ago, Dr. Joseph Beck became the first dentist to be fined for a HIPAA violation, sending a warning to dental offices nationwide about HIPAA compliance. Until that point, dental offices had avoided fines for patient privacy noncompliance.
The penalty Dr. Beck paid was not issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), but by the Office of the State Attorney General. Dr. Beck was cited and fined for mishandling the Protected Health Information of 5,600 patients.
Dr. Andrew Brown, chairman of the ADA’s Council on Dental Practice, urged dentists nationwide to take HIPAA compliance seriously. Dr. Brown notes the “steep consequences” for health care providers that don’t comply with the law.
The Texas Attorney General responds to patient complaints about violations of patient privacy. Texas dentists are at greater peril than most, and the threat of data breaches is greater than ever before. OCR is taking a harder line on healthcare organizations that fail to comply with HIPAA Rules and keep electronic protected health information secure.
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