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Government Mandates Could Cost Employers Huge Penalties
Date:12/30/2012

Philadelphia (PRWEB) December 30, 2012

Employers who ignore or are partially compliant with health care privacy issues could face greater government scrutiny and fines, says top Philadelphia attorney Christopher Ezold http://www.ezoldlaw.com.

This new focus on compliance applies to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. HIPAA requires that a “covered entity” maintain the privacy of personal health information (PHI).

Covered entities can include health care providers, health plans and health clearing houses and their business associates. HIPAA does not apply to all employer-provided health insurance, but it does apply to employer-sponsored health plans and, therefore, to employers who sponsor those types of plans. A partner at Philadelphia-based The Ezold Law Firm, P.C., Christopher Ezold warns that while enforcement of PHI rules have been lax in the past, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently imposed penalties of more than $1 million against companies found in violation of HIPAA.

For example, on June 26, 2012, HHS announced that the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services agreed to pay a $1.7 million fine to settle possible violations. (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/06/20120626a.html) On March 13, 2012, HHS said that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle potential HIPAA violations. (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/03/20120313a.html) Smaller employers have also found themselves on the receiving end of a HIPAA
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