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April 2003

HIPAA 2003 deadline sparks rush toward compliance

Worried you won't meet the HIPAA privacy rule by the April 14 deadline? Well, you're not alone. We're getting inundated with phone calls... they all want to know: Can you help us by April? Christopher Berlandier, Securesoft Systems Attorneys nationwide reportedly plan to deploy decoy patients at health care organizations to see if doctors, dentists, hospitals and insurance companies have the policies, procedures and protections that ensure patients' privacy, as required by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Those that don't comply risk hefty fines, possible criminal prosecution and costly civil lawsuits. Companies have had two years to educate staff, designate a privacy officer and adopt basic security measures. But there's a good chance some providers will miss the deadline. "In many cases, it's ignorance. But in some cases, it's a very conscious decision; sort of a protest," says David Chapin, whose Texas-based company, Practisure, provides HIPAA services for small health care providers. ...

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