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									  NEWS | Technology

ITUpdate
» The Department of Health and
                                             Games offer residents more
Human Services has finalized rules
that increase penalties for violations
of the Health Insurance Portability
and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
                                             than just a Wii bit of exercise
                                             By John O’Connor
Covered entities could be liable for         For many activity directors,
a broad range of penalties—$100 to           keeping residents healthy
$50,000—for a HIPAA violation in             and engaged is an ongoing
four categories. The lowest $100-per-        challenge. But thanks to the
violation penalty could be assessed in       Nintendo Wii, an increasing




                                                                                                                                                               Photo: National Senior League
cases where entities were not aware          number of residents are still
of or would not have known about a           bowling, boxing and playing
violation even through “the exercise of      tennis, even if it is in a “vir-
reasonable diligence,” according to the      tual” setting.
rule. In cases where violations are due         Nintendo Wii games are
to willful neglect but are corrected, the    popular across the entire age        Wii games are popular across the age spectrum, but they have proven a
minimum penalty for each violation           spectrum, but they have prov-        particularly good fit for seniors, especially those with limited mobility.
is $10,000. However, a provider could        en an especially good fit for
also bar the imposition of a civil money     seniors, who can combine com-        pete against other communities.        ing communities and senior
penalty by demonstrating that it was         petition with camaraderie.           It’s not uncommon to see resi-         centers currently are in a quest
unaware of a HIPAA violation.                   At first glance, the pairing of   dents wearing matched bowl-            to make the national playoffs.
                                             old people and a cutting edge        ing shirts while they play.            The tournament will crown a
» Provider groups are endorsing              game might seem odd. But                 The game is easy to use, is        national champion following
the so-called “no harm provision”            operators say residents have         mentally stimulating, encour-          its title matchup the week of
in the breach notification interim           continued to fall in love with       ages social interaction and deliv-     Dec. 14.
final rule that would exempt entities        the games and the supporting         ers a low-impact workout.                 “We’re thrilled to have so
from requirements under the Health           technology, which uses hand              Recently, a National Senior        many teams bowling their way
Information Technology for Economic          devices to mimic traditional,        League Tournament was                  toward a true national crown,”
and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to          low-tech games.                      established to give residents          said Dennis Berkholtz, found-
report cases of breached health data.           In fact, many communities         a competitive outlet. Teams            er of Atlanta-based National
Provider comments suggest that               have formed teams that com-          representing 105 senior liv-           Senior League. n
without such an exception, individuals
needlessly would be alerted about                                                 always practical or easy.
breaches that did not cause problems.                                                That’s why Lori Sto-
                                                                                  rey, general manager of
» Robb Miller, a director with CMS’s                                              Columbus, OH-based
Medical Integrity Group, sa
								
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