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To Settle or Not to Settle – That Is the Question Raised by Recent HIPAA CMPs

On February 1, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (“Children’s”) has paid a civil monetary penalty (“CMP”) of $3.2 million...more

The Price of PHI – A $2.2 Million USB Drive

A stolen unencrypted USB drive led to a $2.2 million settlement and a Resolution Agreement. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced on January 18th a settlement with MAPFRE Life...more

2017 Health Information Privacy and Security New Year’s Resolutions

To start off the New Year, here are some potential health information privacy and security resolutions. You can use these Annual, Quarterly, and Monthly lists to map out your privacy and security tasks for the year, and then...more

OCR Sets Sights on Smaller HIPAA Breaches

Covered entities and business associates can expect increased scrutiny for breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting fewer than 500 individuals. Starting August 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human...more

HIPAA Audit Check-Up – Where We Are and What’s to Come

Phase 2 of the HIPAA audits is fully underway, and covered entities now can take a breath if they have not received a desk audit request. But we still are at the beginning of Phase 2, with more to come. ...more

It’s Not the Olympics, but OCR Sets New HIPAA Settlement Records

Athletes at the Rio Olympics aren’t the only ones setting records this year. Hoping to send a “strong message” about the importance of safeguarding electronic protected health information (PHI) and conducting mandated risk...more

Business Associates Beware: First HIPAA Settlement with Business Associate

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has entered into a Resolution Agreement with a business associate over allegations that it potentially violated the Health...more

7/7/2016  /  Business Associates , HHS , HIPAA , OCR , PHI

HIPAA Enforcement Actions by the Numbers

Protecting patient information is a central duty for both covered entities and business associates under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Should a HIPAA-subject entity ever fail to protect...more

6/29/2016  /  Breach Notification Rule , HHS , HIPAA , OCR , PHI

OCR Phase 2 HIPAA Audits Are Here: What to Expect While You’re Expecting (an Audit)

The Phase 2 audit program for HIPAA compliance is under way. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it had launched the Phase 2 audits to examine and assess how covered...more

Second CMP Assessed for HIPAA Violations: Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

For only the second time in its history, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has imposed a civil money penalty (CMP) on a covered entity for allegedly violating the HIPAA...more

Be Careful with Information Destruction: Another Medical Record Disposal HIPAA Settlement

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) recently announced a new settlement with a small pharmacy, Cornell Prescription Pharmacy (“Cornell”). OCR alleged that Cornell was disposing of...more

Latest HIPAA Settlement: Compliance is an Ongoing Process

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued its first settlement under new OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels earlier this month. This latest settlement serves as a reminder that a...more

Ebola or Not, Patient Privacy Must Be Protected: Office for Civil Rights Issues Bulletin on HIPAA Requirements in Emergency...

In the wake of the recent Ebola cases, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a new bulletin reminding HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates that the...more

11/13/2014  /  Data Protection , Ebola , EHR , Healthcare , HHS , HIPAA , OCR , PHI

CMS Reopens the Medicare Payment Adjustment Hardship Exception Application Submission Period for Certain Providers and Hospitals

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the reopening of the submission period for hardship exception applications for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals that have been unable to fully...more

Good News: California Extends Its Medical Data Breach Notification Requirement From 5 to 15 Days

On Sept. 18, 2014, California’s governor approved Assembly Bill 1755, extending California’s stringent breach notification deadline for medical information breaches from five business days to 15 business days for clinics,...more

Starting Oct. 6, Patients Can Access Test Reports Directly From Clinical Laboratories

On Oct. 6, 2014, a final rule issued jointly by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will require all HIPAA-covered labs...more

10/2/2014  /  CDC , Clinical Laboratories , CMS , EHR , Healthcare , HIPAA , OCR , PHI , Popular

Rhode Island Hospital’s Breach of Health Information Leads to Settlement with Massachusetts Attorney General

On July 23, 2014, the Massachusetts attorney general announced a settlement with Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (WIH) over the loss of unencrypted backup tapes. WIH agreed to pay $150,000 and undertake numerous...more

8/6/2014  /  Data Protection , EHR , HIPAA , Hospitals , PHI , Settlement

Appellate Court Rules Medical Information Must Actually Have Been Viewed by an Unauthorized Person for a Plaintiff to Recover...

The California Court of Appeal recently held that in order to recover under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA), Civ. Code §§ 56 et seq., a plaintiff must plead and prove that the “stolen medical...more

7/29/2014  /  CMIA , Data Protection , EHR , PHI

OCR Releases Information on What Phase 2 HIPAA Audits Will Look Like

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently presented information about the new look of its Phase 2 audit program. The new audits will look little like the old ones, with OCR conducting the audits itself and focusing on...more

4/14/2014  /  Audits , Data Protection , EHR , HHS , HIPAA , OCR , PHI

FTC Files Complaint Against Lab Over Failed Health Information Security

In a reminder that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), with its HIPAA security requirements and enforcement authority, is not the only game in town when it comes to health information privacy, the...more

Under HIPAA, You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Last week a regional California medical center entered a $275,000 settlement for disclosing patient information to the media, spotlighting HIPAA’s tight reign over covered health providers even when they try to defend their...more

Time to Take Advantage of HIPAA Omnibus Rule's "Good News": Fundraising, Research, and Student Immunization Records

The Omnibus Rule went into effect on March 26, 2013. While covered entities and business associates have until Sept. 23, 2013, to comply with new restrictions and obligations, they can take advantage of the rule’s benefits...more

New Omnibus Rule Released: HIPAA Puts on More Weight

On Jan. 17, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the long-awaited “Omnibus Rule,” which amends the administrative simplification provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability...more

HIPAA Omnibus Rule Released

At long last, after much delay and speculation, the HIPAA Omnibus Rule has been placed on display at the Federal Register in preparation for formal publication....more

Escaping HIPAA: New Guidance on De-Identifying Health Information

HIPAA places tight restrictions on the use and disclosure of protected health information, but there are many ways to “de-identify” it, freeing it from HIPAA’s constraints. Covered entities and business associates can use...more

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