Frequently Asked Questions

SECURETexas is a state program administered by the THSA offering health care entities privacy and security certification for compliance with state and federal medical privacy and security laws.
See the THSA’s page on SECURETexas Certification Pricing. Please note that certification pricing is in addition to the price of conducting an assessment with a preferred vendor.
Steps to attaining SECURETexas certification:
  1. Are you eligible? Determine whether your organization is an entity who should get certified.
  2. Review the certification standards. Does your entity have policies and procedures covering each of the SECURETexas certification standards?
  3. Conduct a SECURETexas assessment. Contact one of our SECURETexas Preferred Vendors to conduct an assessment of your organization’s compliance against the SECURETexas standards.
  4. Certify your assessment. Once the preferred vendor completes your assessment, the vendor will refer the assessment to the THSA for review and certification.
  5. Re-Certify. SECURETexas certification lasts for two years, at which time the covered entity will re-assess and re-certify their compliance with the SECURETexas standards.
Pursuant to 45 C.F.R. 160.408(c), in determining the amount of a civil money penalty, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will consider mitigating factors, including the covered entity’s “history of prior compliance with the administrative simplification provisions.” The SECURETexas standards cover the HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification regulations (i.e., the administrative simplification provisions). Therefore, certification provides the covered entity with evidence displaying this prior compliance, thus potentially reducing any civil money penalties under HIPAA:
  • Between $100-$50,000 for each violation up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for all violations of an identical provision in a calendar year, if the entity did not know of the violation.
  • Between $1,000-$50,000 for each violation up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for all violations of an identical provision in a calendar year, if there was a reasonable cause for the violation.
  • Between $10,000-$50,000 for each violation up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for all violations of an identical provision in a calendar year, if there was a willful neglect but the organization too corrective action.
  • $50,000 for each violation up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for all violations of an identical provision in a calendar year, if there was willful neglect and the organization did not take corrective action.
Pursuant to Texas Health and Safety Code Section 181.201(b), the Texas Office of the Attorney General may institute an action for civil penalties against a Texas covered entity for violation of the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act not to exceed:
  • $5,000 for each violation that occurs in one year, regardless of how long the violation continues during that year, committed negligently.
  • $25,000 for each violation that occurs in one year, regardless of how long the violation continues during that year, committed knowingly or intentionally.
  • $250,000 for each violation in which the covered entity knowingly or intentionally used PHI for financial gain.
  • Up to $1,500,000 if the court finds that the violations have occurred with a frequency to constitute a pattern or practice.
  However, pursuant to Sections 181.201 and 181.205, Health & Safety Code, when imposing civil or administrative penalties against a Texas covered entity for a violation of the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act, the court must consider six factors, including whether the covered entity maintained the SECURETexas certification at the time of the violation. Furthermore, SECURETexas may help prove another mitigating factor – the covered entity’s compliance history – that will reduce the amount of the civil or administrative penalty. The results of the certification can act as evidence of the covered entity’s compliance with the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act.
The Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) was established by the Texas Legislature for the purpose of promoting, implementing, and facilitating the secure electronic exchange of health information. The THSA accomplishes this purpose through its health information exchange (HIE) and privacy and security certification and supporting programs.