Just a quick reminder to any dentists who may be thinking about selling their practices. Even when you are no longer in business, you are still responsible for protecting patient information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
A case reported on the website of the American Dental Association earlier this year sheds light on the consequences of what could happen. And yes, expect that somebody will end up paying.
"The careless handling of [patients' protected health information] is never acceptable," U.S. Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino said in a news release. "Covered entities and business associates need to be aware that OCR is committed to enforcing HIPAA regardless of whether a covered entity is opening its doors or closing them. HIPAA still applies."
The best protection against breaches and potential consequences: Protect privacy, not just because it's the law, but because it's the right thing to do. Above all, privacy is about upholding the trust of people who have entrusted their care to you.