After CNA Training: What Happens if you Violate HIPAA?

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HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal privacy law that we all learn about during CNA training and live by after we’ve completed our classes and begin working with patients. The majority of us understand the basics of this law: don’t give out patient information, don’t access information about a patient you don’t need to know, and always make sure patient information isn’t available to those who shouldn’t have access to it.

Despite this, HIPAA related lapses in judgment can and do occur after CNA training, and they can cost you. What exactly can happen to you after CNA training if you violate HIPAA? Let’s take a look.

HIPAA Violations After CNA Training

If you didn’t realize you violated HIPAA you can still be fined at least $100 and up to $50,000 for each time you unknowingly divulged information about a patient. This is known as a civil violation and has several levels of severity.

For instance, if you accidentally leaked patient information after CNA training, but quickly realized it and did everything possible to prevent the information from falling into the wrong hands, the violation is considered less sever. If, however, you leaked information after CNA training, discovered your mistake, and did nothing to stop it, the violation is more severe because you willfully neglected the situation.

If you willfully divulged patient information, the HIPAA violation is a criminal one. This means you had full understanding of what you were doing and the implications of doing it. This type of violation has levels of severity as well. The minimum penalty is $50,000 and includes up to a year of jail time. After CNA training, criminal violations of the HIPAA act that are considered malicious, such as selling medical information for personal gain or to harm the patient can land you up to 10 years in jail and $250,000 in fines.

These are not the only consequences you may face. In addition to fines and jail time, you may also be sued by the patient or the family of the patient who information you divulged, resulting in more fees and possible financial retribution to the patient. Some violations may also be reported to the state board of nursing, and may result in your CNA training certification being taken away. Because HIPAA is a federal law, this information may prevent you from taking CNA training and working in the medical field anywhere in the country.

Who Enforces These Penalties After CNA Training?

After CNA training, any HIPAA violations you make will be investigated by the OCR, an office within the Department of Health and Human Services. They are responsible for determining the facts of the case and determining how severe a violation it is and what penalty you deserve after CNA training. In order for the investigation to begin, a complaint must be filed, either by the patient, a family member, or anyone else who has proof that a violation has occurred. Each complaint is investigated thoroughly for the protection of your patients.

After CNA training, be careful what you say, who you discuss information with, and even where you set a patient file. Leaked information could cost you money, your time, and your career after CNA training.


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