Just like in any profession, there is a desire by the government to have whistle-blowers.
A whistle-blower makes the job of policing much easier for the government.
The whistle-blower will get job protection (if they want to stay on) and typically a percentage of any fines. Remember, HIPAA fines can be huge!
Let’s take a look at who might be a whistle-blower:
Patients – a patient who feels like there were slighted might desire to be a whistle-blower. We have a HIPAA Hotline on our website that is intended for physicians, but we regularly get patients calling, thinking we are the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
Employees – You don’t typically expect an employee to become a whistle-blower, but this can really become an issue when you let somebody go. You shouldn’t be too surprised after firing an employee to them reporting your practice for a violation…because I know 90%+ of offices have a violation – and once a HIPAA auditor arrives, they’ll find plenty of reason to stay…unless you have your act together.
Physicians – How many physicians do you compete against in your specialty area? If you know a physician is breaking HIPAA regulations…you have a fiduciary requirement to report them…don’t you?
The point here is, you should be paranoid about being HIPAA compliant. If you can’t answer quickly and with confidence about the level of your HIPAA compliance, they you have a problem.