The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is raising new legal fears for health care providers in light of tougher government enforcement and recent court rulings that could trigger private lawsuits.

Labor and employment attorneys who represent health care providers are especially concerned about the prospect of private HIPAA litigation because the law does not currently provide a private right of action. But plaintiffs appear to be getting around that. They say that courts in recent years have begun letting plaintiffs use HIPAA standards to prove liability in privacy lawsuits alleging that their sensitive medical records were inadequately protected.

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