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Tick Tock Tick Tock, When a Breach Occurs, You’re on the Clock!

As a reminder that state attorneys general have enforcement authority over breach notifications, the New York Attorney General recently announced a $130,000 settlement for a failing to provide breach notification in a...more

Public Still Must be Kept Private under HIPAA

A not-for-profit health care system recently agreed to pay the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $2.4 million as part of a settlement over potential Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)...more

5/17/2017  /  Data Protection , HHS , HIPAA , PHI

HIPAA Small Breach Notification Due March 1: “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb” if You Submit Timely

March 1, 2017 is the date by which HIPAA covered entities must notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of “small” breaches of unsecured protected health information that were...more

[Webinar] HIPAA in the Cloud – OCR Guidance on HIPAA and Cloud Service Providers - Jan. 31st, 1:00pm ET

As the health care sector further embraces the benefits of cloud computing, numerous challenges have arisen with applying HIPAA to cloud computing services....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

No Phishing: OCR Warns of Phishing Attempts Disguised as Official HIPAA Audit Program Emails

What’s worse than receiving an email indicating that you have been selected for an audit by your favorite government regulator? Clicking on a link in the email and discovering that it is a phishing attack that has just...more

Just Around the Corner – HIPAA Audits for Business Associates

Financial organizations that are business associates can expect a wave of HIPAA desk audits to evaluate the HIPAA compliance efforts of business associates. These audits have a limited focus and are conducted by the U.S....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

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

HIPAA Wake-Up Call for Financial Institutions: First HIPAA Settlement with Business Associate

It’s a HIPAA first. A business associate has settled a direct enforcement action over allegations that it potentially violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This settlement portends future...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

The Audit Protocol is Released, and Other Updated HIPAA Audits News

As we previously reported, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched Phase II of its audit program on March 21. Since that time, a significant amount of new information has emerged, including details regarding the...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

Upcoming HIPAA Audits May Target Financial Institutions—Here’s How to Prepare

Much like a tornado watch, the conditions appear to be right for a coming storm: the upcoming Phase 2 HIPAA audits. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has begun verifying contact...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

New HIPAA Reports to Congress Shed Light on OCR Enforcement

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued two reports to Congress, as required by the HITECH Act. The compliance report details OCR’s enforcement activities for 2011 and 2012 and...more

Confidentiality of Substance Abuse Treatment Information: HHS Considers Changes to the Part 2 Regulations and Requests Comment

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is considering significant changes to the “Part 2” regulations (the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse...more

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

Future OCR Audits Have Little in Common With Previous Round—Here’s How to Prepare

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

HIPAA and Mental Health Information: HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance Addressing Mental Health Information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently issued new guidance clarifying how the HIPAA Privacy Rule strikes the balance of protecting individuals’ privacy of mental health information and communicating...more

It’s Not Enough to Notify: Don’t Forget the Policies, Risk Analyses, and Training

HIPAA compliance ended with a bang in 2013, with the feds issuing the first settlement involving a health provider’s failure to have breach notification policies and procedures in place. On Dec. 24, 2013, the Department of...more

1/8/2014  /  Compliance , HHS , HIPAA , OCR , Security Rule , Training

The Long Sunset: EHR Donations May Continue Until 2021 (With a Few Changes)

Under long-awaited final rules recently published by the federal government, hospitals and other “protected donors” may continue to “donate” interoperable electronic health record items and services without incurring...more

HHS Delays Require Changes to Notice of Privacy Practices for Certain Clinical Laboratories

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced that it has postponed the Sept. 23, 2013, HIPAA Omnibus Rule deadline for many clinical laboratories to revise their notices of privacy practices...more

Deadline Approaches for Reporting 2012 Small Breaches

HIPAA covered entities have through Friday, March 1, 2013, to report small breaches of unsecured protected health information that occurred in calendar year 2012 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A...more

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