Healthcare organizations are legally required to comply with HIPAA regulations to make sure patient privacy and security are protected. HIPAA violations can result in severe penalties including hefty fines and legal action against the organization. This is why it is absolutely vital to establish an effective HIPAA sanctions policy in your workplace. A HIPAA sanctions policy serves as a tool to educate employees about these specific regulations and their responsibilities in keeping patient information confidential.
What is a HIPAA Sanctions Policy?
This policy outlines employee sanctions for HIPAA violations. This policy is critical for ensuring that employees understand the importance of protecting patients’ private health information (PHI). The outlines that the policy should include are:
- Unauthorized access to PHI
- Improper disclosure of PHI
- Failure to safeguard PHI
- The severity of each violation
- Disciplinary action employees can expect to receive (ex. Verbal warning, written reprimands, termination of employment, or criminal prosecution)
Employee sanctions for HIPAA violations can result in fines ranging from $100 to $250,000 (with a $1.5 million annual ceiling) as well as prison terms of 1 to 10 years. Employers may find it challenging to hold violators of the regulations accountable. To ensure the company’s success, it’s crucial to do this constantly.
Having a HIPAA Sanctions Policy is crucial because it helps to create a culture of compliance within the organization. Employees are more likely to take HIPAA regulations seriously when they understand the consequences of non-compliance. All healthcare practices, regardless of size, must have this policy in place. It should be reviewed regularly to make sure that it remains up-to-date with any changes in HIPAA regulations. By prioritizing HIPAA compliance and implementing a sanctions policy, organizations can be 100% certain they are protecting PHI and avoiding costly violations.
Tips For Creating a Comprehensive HIPAA Sanctions Policy
Creating a comprehensive HIPAA Sanctions Policy is an essential step in ensuring employee compliance with HIPAA regulations, and avoiding employee sanctions for HIPAA violations.
Tips that will help to create a policy that is effective include:
- Clearly define the standards
- Define the rules and regulations related to HIPAA sanctions and how they apply to their employees
- Clarity on Consequences
- Make sure that the policy outlines the employee sanctions for HIPAA violations, and what constitutes what violation given for not complying with HIPAA regulations.
- Regular Review
- Regularly review the policy and update it as necessary to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.
- Provide training to all employees on the policy and the consequences of violating HIPAA regulations. Ensure that all employees understand the policy in its entirety and understand their roles in maintaining compliance
- Reporting & Monitoring
- Ensure that employees are aware of how to report suspected violations and how the monitoring process works.
- Hold employees accountable for compliance with the policy.
Regularly reviewing the HIPAA Sanctions Policy and monitoring employee compliance can help to identify areas where additional training or support may be needed. By setting up an effective policy for your team, you can make sure that your employees understand their responsibilities and the consequences of violating HIPAA regulations. This will also help in protecting your organization and patients’ privacy and security.
The best way to prevent employees from violating HIPAA is through training and clear HIPAA policies and procedures. Employee HIPAA training can be completed online thanks to Compliancy Group’s software. The healthcare compliance training courses are adaptable to the position type of an employee, guaranteeing that all staff members receive the instruction they require. We also provide you with HIPAA policies and procedures that clearly outline permitted uses and disclosures of PHI, how PHI should be protected, and what to do when a breach occurs.