Who is liable under the HIPAA Privacy Rule where multiple covered entities have signed on to a single business associate agreement and one member breaches the agreement?
The Privacy Rule is flexible enough to allow multiple covered entities to exchange information with each other in an electronically networked environment upon entering into a single, multi-party business associate agreement. Regardless of the number of signatories, the obligations in a multi-party business associate agreement will be largely bi-directional. Covered entities will still be accountable for the actions of their workforce, as well as the contents and enforcement of its business associate agreement with the health information organization (HIO). See 45 C.F.R. §§ 164.530(b),(e) and 164.504(e). Covered entities will not be liable, however, for the violations of other participants in the HIO’s health information exchange.