HITECH Raises the Stakes on HIPAA Compliance


Since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) went into effect several years ago, privacy advocates have dismissed the law as a “paper tiger.” Among the criticisms of HIPAA were that the privacy and security rules do not apply to many organizations that routinely handle large amounts of health information, the potential sanctions (except in the rare cases of criminal conduct) are not sufficiently severe and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rightshas never imposed a single civil penalty.

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