This is from an overview of the IG's findings:
CMS had no effective mechanism to ensure that covered entities were complying with the HIPAA Security Rule or that electronic protected health information was being adequately protected. We noted that CMS had an effective process for receiving, categorizing, tracking, and resolving complaints.
We recommended that CMS establish policies and procedures for conducting HIPAA Security Rule compliance reviews of covered entities. CMS did not agree with our findings because it believed that its complaint-driven enforcement process has furthered the goal of voluntary compliance. However, CMS agreed with our recommendation to establish specific policies and procedures for conducting compliance reviews of covered entities. We maintain that adding these reviews to its oversight process will enhance CMS's ability to determine whether the HIPAA Security Rule is being properly implemented.
The HIPAA Security Rule is fairly simple: entities that manage patient data need to protect that data by making sure it stays confidential, that it isn't altered, and can't be accessed by those not authorized.
Hospitals knew these rules were coming since 1996. And while the final HIPAA rules went into effect in April 2005 for large health organizations, protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information should be considered basic due diligence. And it's time, in my opinion, that any organization that has failed to put in place the most basic of measures to secure patient privacy be fined.
You can find a copy of the full IG report here.