Florida Data Breach Law states that each covered entity, governmental entity, or third-party agent shall take reasonable measures to protect and secure data in electronic form containing personal information.
- A covered entity shall provide notice to the department of any breach of security affecting 500 or more individuals in this state. Such notice must be provided to the department as expeditiously as practicable, but no later than 30 days after the determination of the breach or reason to believe a breach occurred. A covered entity may receive 15 additional days to provide notice as required in subsection (4) if good cause for delay is provided in writing to the department within 30 days after determination of the breach or reason to believe a breach occurred.
- A covered entity shall give notice to each individual in this state whose personal information was, or the covered entity reasonably believes to have been, accessed as a result of the breach. Notice to individuals shall be made as expeditiously as practicable and without unreasonable delay, taking into account the time necessary to allow the covered entity to determine the scope of the breach of security, to identify individuals affected by the breach, and to restore the reasonable integrity of the data system that was breached, but no later than 30 days after the determination of a breach or reason to believe a breach occurred unless subject to a delay authorized under paragraph (b) or waiver under paragraph (c).
- A covered entity required to provide notice to an individual may provide substitute notice in lieu of direct notice if such direct notice is not feasible because the cost of providing notice would exceed $250,000, because the affected individuals exceed 500,000 persons, or because the covered entity does not have an e-mail address or mailing address for the affected individuals.
- In the event of a breach of security of a system maintained by a third-party agent, such third-party agent shall notify the covered entity of the breach of security as expeditiously as practicable, but no later than 10 days following the determination of the breach of security or reason to believe the breach occurred. Upon receiving notice from a third-party agent, a covered entity shall provide notices required under subsections (3) and (4). A third-party agent shall provide a covered entity with all information that the covered entity needs to comply with its notice requirements.
In general, State laws that are contrary to the Privacy Rule are preempted by the federal requirements, which means that the federal requirements will apply.
- Each covered entity, with certain exceptions, must provide a notice of its privacy practices. The Privacy Rule requires that the notice contain certain elements. The notice must describe the ways in which the covered entity may use and disclose protected health information. The notice must state the covered entity’s duties to protect privacy, provide a notice of privacy practices, and abide by the terms of the current notice. The notice must describe individuals’ rights, including the right to complain to HHS and to the covered entity if they believe their privacy rights have been violated. The notice must include a point of contact for further information and for making complaints to the covered entity. Covered entities must act in accordance with their notices. The Rule also contains specific distribution requirements for direct treatment providers, all other health care providers, and health plans.
- A covered entity must develop and implement written privacy policies and procedures that are consistent with the Privacy Rule.
- A covered entity must train all workforce members on its privacy policies and procedures, as necessary and appropriate for them to carry out their functions. A covered entity must have and apply appropriate sanctions against workforce members who violate its privacy policies and procedures or the Privacy Rule.
- OCR may impose a penalty on a covered entity for a failure to comply with a requirement of the Privacy Rule. Penalties will vary significantly depending on factors such as the date of the violation, whether the covered entity knew or should have known of the failure to comply, or whether the covered entity’s failure to comply was due to willful neglect. Penalties may not exceed a calendar year cap for multiple violations of the same requirement.
For violations occurring prior to 2/18/2009
For violations occurring on or after 2/18/2009
Up to $100
$100 to $50,000 or more
Calendar Year Cap
- A person who knowingly obtains or discloses individually identifiable health information in violation of the Privacy Rule may face a criminal penalty of up to $50,000 and up to one-year imprisonment. The criminal penalties increase to $100,000 and up to five years imprisonment if the wrongful conduct involves false pretenses, and to $250,000 and up to 10 years imprisonment if the wrongful conduct involves the intent to sell, transfer, or use identifiable health information for commercial advantage, personal gain or malicious harm.
The Security Rule requires covered entities to maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for protecting e-PHI.
Specifically, covered entities must:
- Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI they create, receive, maintain or transmit;
- Identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity of the information;
- Protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures; and
- Ensure compliance by their workforce.
- The Privacy Rule requires that a covered entity obtain satisfactory assurances from its business associate that the business associate will appropriately safeguard the protected health information it receives or creates on behalf of the covered entity. The satisfactory assurances must be in writing, whether in the form of a contract or other agreement between the covered entity and the business associate.
- A “business associate” is a person or entity that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of, or provides services to, a covered entity.
If you believe that a HIPAA-covered entity or its business associate violated your (or someone else’s) health information privacy rights or committed another violation of the Privacy, Security, or Breach Notification Rules, you may file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).