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Benefits News: HHS Increases Civil Penalties for HIPAA Violations

By Barrow Group Staff / February 20, 2020

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently published a final rule increasing the civil monetary penalties for violations of laws enforced by HHS, including the HIPAA privacy and security rules.

HHS is required to adjust these penalties for inflation each year to improve their effectiveness and maintain their deterrent effect. The new penalty amounts are effective for penalties assessed on or after Jan. 17, 2020.

2020 HIPAA Civil Penalties

HHS may assess civil penalties when it discovers a HIPAA violation. The penalty amount depends on the facts involved.

  • - For violations where the covered entity does not know about the violation (and by exercising reasonable diligence, would not have known about the violation), the penalty amount is between $119 and $59,522 for each violation.
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  • - If the violation is due to reasonable cause, the penalty amount is between $1,191 and $59,522 for each violation.
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  • - For corrected violations that are caused by willful neglect, the penalty amount is between $11,904 and $59,522 for each violation.
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  • - For violations caused by willful neglect that are not corrected, the penalty amount is $59,522 per violation, with an annual cap of $1,785,651 for all violations of an identical requirement.

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