HIPAA case highlights patient legal vulnerability

The recent indictment of a former Florida employee for conspiracy to commit health care fraud with the personal information of more than 1,100 Florida patients probably won't result in big civil fines against the hospital by the federal government--which has yet to sanction a hospital or other health care entity for patient privacy breaches--says a news article in the Florida Naples News.

The case is potentially precedent-setting as it is the first in South Florida to be prosecuted for violating the federal law protecting patients' privacy rights and the third such case nationally, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami. But patients may be left out in the cold because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as the federal law doesn't allow individuals to pursue legal action when there's been a breach of their personal health information, privacy rights and HIPAA attorneys told the Naples News.

For more on the case:
- Read the story at the Naples News here