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Clarifying the Reports of a Recent HIPAA Change

Have you seen the recent headlines and reports of changes to HIPAA? Examples include, "New HIPAA Regulations in 2019,"  "2019 HIPAA Rule Changes," "Recent HIPAA Changes," and the list of articles goes on! There has been much discussion regarding the recent changes to HIPAA – and it is big news; however, HIPAA, the law itself, has not changed – at least not yet.  On April 30, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that in addition to lowering the annual penalty limits, the assessment of civil money penalties will now be based on the offender's level of culpability or accountability.  Below is a comparison of the 2013 penalty tiers with those recently updated.

Penalty Tiers under the 2013 Enforcement Rule

Culpability

Minimum penalty/violation

Maximum penalty/violation

Annual limit

No Knowledge

$100

$50,000

$1,500,000

Reasonable Cause

$1,000

$50,000

$1,500,000

Willful Neglect – Corrected

$10,000

$50,000

$1,500,000

Willful Neglect – Not Corrected

$50,000

$50,000

$1,500,000

Penalty Tiers under the April 23, 2019 Notification of Enforcement Discretion

Culpability

Minimum penalty/violation

Maximum penalty/violation

Annual limit

No Knowledge

$100

$50,000

$25,000

Reasonable Cause

$1,000

$50,000

$100,000

Willful Neglect – Corrected

$10,000

$50,000

$250,000

Willful Neglect – Not Corrected

$50,000

$50,000

$1,500,000

The new annual limit promotes a deeper consideration as to timely correction of violations, allowing for a more logical approach to the original Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). HHS will use this penalty tier structure as adjusted for inflation until further notice.

For questions regarding changes in the HIPAA penalty structure, consult our Compliance Department.

Learn more about HCCS solutions for HIPAA Compliance Training.

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