How Can Your Practice Avoid a $2 Million Fine?

A California health system agreed to pay a $2 Million settlement with the State for failure to be HIPAA compliant.

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Cottage Health System and several hospitals failed to implement safeguards that led to two patient breaches.

The state of California alleged that the health system failed to protect patient information. The first breach occurred when 50,000 unencrypted patient records were accessible online. The second breach occurred when another server was left open for approximately two weeks.

In an effort to remedy the issues, along with the $2 Million payment, Cottage Health System will have to update its security practices and ensure that patient data is protected.

How can your practice avoid a similar settlement?

Make sure that your HIPAA risk assessment is up to date. Utilize your risk assessment to determine areas of vulnerability, and take measures to better protect your protected health information (PHI).

Make sure your staff is regularly trained on privacy, security, and breach readiness. Your staff should know how to react in the event of a breach and know how to protect patient information.

Encrypt your patient data. Encryption is the best way to secure your data against breaches and outside threats.

It is essential that your practice is fully HIPAA compliant to avoid both breaches and government fines.

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P.S. If you or your patients are interested in consumer healthcare issues, check out myhealthspin.com.

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