If a patient's medical report is faxed to an incorrect number, is it considered a HIPAA breach?
Is the breach mitigated if there is a cover sheet with a statement regarding HIPAA and to notify sender if received in error? Difficult to keep up with many referring physicians offices changing fax number so frequently.
It violates HIPPA whether done mistakenly or intentionally. However, there is no private right of action for violating HIPPA. In other words even if your medical records are disclosed in violation of HIPPA, HIPPA does not provide you with a remedy or right to recover damages.
Possibly if it was done negligently. I have a disclaimer at the bottom of faxes which says to disregard and return to sender if received in error.
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An inadvertent or accidental dissemination of the medical report is probably not a breach that would result in any type of penalty.
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Yes it is a breach. Not all breaches are reportable to the patient and the federal Office for Civil Rights - but this is one of the things changing in the new rule that was just published today (January 25, 2013). See the link below.
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