The case of Parkview Health Systems Inc. underscores the importance of proper file transfers, especially relative to the sale of a practice.
Parkview health systems Incorporated, a community based health deliver group, has cooperated with the Office of Civil Rights ( the enforcement agency for HIPAA privacy rules) in paying an $800,000 fine, agreeing to a corrective action plan, review of their policies and procedures and re-training of their workforce due to a breach reported by a retiring physician.
It appears they were assisting this physician in the process of relocating their patients, as well as potentially purchasing the doctors’ practice, when employees of Parkview left boxes containing approximately 6000 patient files, in 71 cardboard boxes, on the doctors driveway, when the doctor was not home.
As a HIPAA covered entity Parkview is required to safeguard such records and failed to do so.
It is highly advised to take all reasonable precautions when transporting or transferring paper records.
It is not unusual to hear doctors say they believe HIPAA only applies to ‘insurance practices’ or ‘electronically stored data’ or clinics with over a certain number of employees.
All of these are false statements and physicians are encouraged to know the laws and become compliant, as the risk is just too great to ignore.
About: For more information on this topic or other HIPAA compliance questions, please contact Dr. Ty Talcott, CHPSE, at HIPAA Compliance Services – a company dedicated to protecting healthcare professionals by producing simplified “how to” step-by-step training materials and procedures to assist doctors and clinic support personnel with establishing, maintaining and updating their HIPAA compliance program.