A record civil penalty demonstrates the importance of protecting health patient privacy and responding appropriately to federal regulators. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently assessed a $4.3 million civil monetary penalty against Cignet Health of Prince George’s County, Md., for violations of the HIPAA1 Privacy Rule. This is the first fine assessed by the agency since the rule took effect in April 2003. The fine follows an investigation into events that occurred between September 2008 and October 2009 that, the OCR concluded, resulted in 41 separate violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
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