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Possibility of HIPAA delay and lack of compliance

The word on the street is that HIPAA enforcement may be delayed for a couple of years, OR at best may be so lack lustre that health care providers, especially small doctor offices, may not care to comply with it. What do you think?

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Like other law enforcement agencies, the organizations responsible for enforcing the HIPAA rules (Office for Civil Rights -- Privacy Rule, CMS -- Transactions and Code Sets Rule, TBD -- Security Rule) might very well be overwhelmed. That said, it will come down to HIPAA-covered entities making informed business decisions as to whether or not the short-term benefits of avoiding HIPAA compliance, such as the money, time and resources spent, outweigh the risks of getting caught and the distinct possibility of having their patient's information compromised. Even if the "HIPAA police" are not out on the streets knocking on doors and evaluating compliance efforts, it's just a matter of time before patient information is compromised, lawsuits are filed and covered entities are forced to comply and pay an even higher price.

For more information on this topic, visit these other resources:
  • Ask the Expert: Who will enforce HIPAA?
  • News & Analysis: HIPAA compliance doesn't come in a box
  • Best Web Links: Health Care/Health Services

    This was first published in November 2002

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