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confidentiality of patient’s PHI, holding individuals accountable if a breach occurs, and setting new protocols on disclosing health records to insurance companies, for marketing and research purposes, and increasing fine amounts per violation (up to $1.5 million) if penalties occur when being noncompliance (Edemekong & Haydel, 2019).RationaleThe OCR, the Office of Civil Rights, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for overseeing and implementing the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. If a violation occurs, OCR investigates and reviews the cases and issues financialpunishments to the entities in the form of payments. Based on HIPAA report to Congress, there were 17,622 cases relating to HIPAA violations in 2015, followed by 21,381 in 2016 and 24, 506in 2017. The OCR resolved 17, 541 cases in 2015, 23,894 cases in 2016 (due to resolving prior years cases), and 23,717 cases in 2017 through monetary settlements. This data shows that the HHS is auditing health facilities regularly in making sure they are in compliance with the HIPAApolicies since there was an increase in both violation cases and resolved cases from 2015 to 2017. In addition, the OCR is making sure to avoid future violations of the HIPAA Rules by assisting the facilities through the investigation on how to correctly resolve and approach the matter (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office for Civil Rights, 2017). I have chosen this policy because I deal with HIPAA rules daily as an Operations Coordinator for the Department of Ophthalmology. My daily operations consist of protecting the
8HIPAA Policypatient's health information and making sure my organization and I am are in compliance with HIPAA rules, which is set up by the federal government for this reason. Barbara stated in the interview that “our pediatric hospital in the past faced several penalties in violating HIPAA rules which impacted the organization’s finances. Due to which, employees were not paid yearly bonus for three years, excessive budget cuts for departments, and reduction in educational funding amount for employees,” (B. Washington, personal communication, June 10, 2019). She also mentioned it took a few years less than anticipated for the institute to achieve success due to large donations from our local, national, and international donors/families. Our pediatric hospital since then has implemented strict policies to strengthen its infrastructure to be in constant compliance with HIPAA regulations. For example, all employees including upper management are required to pass the biyearly educational and training courses about federal health regulationsthat are freely offered at the facility (B. Washington, personal communication, June 10, 2019). EvaluationStrengths and WeaknessOne of HIPAA’s strengths is that it provides personal privacy to patients. The HIPAA provides individuals with legal rights to control and access their sensitive medical history as wellas to whom the information should be disclosed too. Due to strict protocols, it limits random access to distributing health records. Another strength is that HIPAA prevents inequality in