What are the consequences for nurses who violate HIPAA rules?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2022 | Professional License Issues |

Health care entities from hospitals to small medical practices and their employees must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This federal law is crucial to protecting people’s medical privacy. Those who work in the medical field know that if they violate HIPAA rules, they and their employers can face significant penalties. 

As a nurse, can you lose your license for a HIPAA violation? Two things are key. How serious was the violation, and was it intentional?

The severity of the violation

If the violation was serious, even if it was unintentional, a nurse will likely face disciplinary action by their employer as well as the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, including possible loss of their license. An example might be giving private patient information to someone believed to be a family member who wasn’t or accidentally giving someone else’s information to a patient.

The intention of the violation

If a nurse were to sell or otherwise leak a patient’s personal health information (PHI) to the media or anyone else, that could result in a loss of their license and potentially in criminal charges as well. This kind of violation can potentially result in criminal charges in addition to disciplinary action. We’ve seen some egregious examples of HIPAA violations by medical professionals of all kinds that involved taking photos or videos of patients while they were under sedation.

If you’re facing disciplinary action by the State Board of Nursing for a HIPAA violation, whether it’s unfounded or you did indeed engage in a violation, it’s crucial to seek legal guidance. This can help you protect your license and your career.