Rebecca L. Williams

Rebecca L. Williams

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

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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

10/19/2016 - Business Associates Covered Entities Cybersecurity HHS HIPAA HIPAA Audits OCR

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

9/8/2016 - Breach Notification Rule Business Associates Covered Entities Data Breach Data Security HHS HIPAA OCR PHI

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

8/29/2016 - Business Associates Covered Entities HIPAA HIPAA Audits OCR PHI Risk Management

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

8/15/2016 - Business Associates Covered Entities Data Breach HHS HIPAA OCR PHI Risk Management Settlement

On the Trail for Pokémon – and HIPAA Compliance

Pikachu, Alakazam, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle can teach us a few things about HIPAA privacy. Pokémon GO is a recent craze encouraging people to try to catch’em all. As a result, employees, clients, and patients are...more

8/11/2016 - Business Associates Covered Entities HIPAA Mobile Devices PHI Pokemon

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

8/3/2016 - Business Associates Covered Entities Data Breach Enforcement Actions Financial Institutions HHS HIPAA OCR PHI Popular Settlement Agreements

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

4/12/2016 - Business Associates Covered Entities HHS HIPAA HIPAA Audits OCR

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

3/29/2016 - Breach Notification Rule Business Associates Covered Entities Health Care Providers HIPAA HIPAA Audits HIPAA Breach OCR PHI

February 2016: The Month of Groundhog Day, Super Bowl 50, Valentine’s Day … and HIPAA Breach Notifications

Feb. 29, 2016, a/k/a Leap Day, 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...more

2/22/2016 - Data Breach Health Care Providers HIPAA OCR PHI Reporting Requirements

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back: Proposed Changes to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Confidentiality Rule

On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule putting forth amendments to the Alcohol...more

2/16/2016 - Confidential Documents Drug & Alcohol Abuse Health Care Providers HIPAA Medical Records Privacy Rule SAMHSA

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

2/10/2016 - ALJ Civil Monetary Penalty Corporate Counsel Covered Entities HHS HIPAA OCR PHI Privacy Rule

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

6/23/2015 - Audits Covered Entities Financial Institutions HHS HIPAA OCR Popular Risk Assessment Strategic Enforcement Plan

Premera Cyber-Attack Announced: Defining Your Obligations as an Employer

On March 17, 2015, Premera announced a data breach involving the personal information of more than 11 million individuals resulting from what it characterized as a sophisticated, targeted cyber-attack. Employers and plan...more

3/19/2015 - Breach Notification Rule Corporate Counsel Cyber Attacks Data Breach Employer Liability Issues HIPAA Popular Premera Blue Cross

Employers: What the Anthem Breach Means to You

On Feb. 4, 2015, Anthem announced a data breach involving the personal information of more than 80 million individuals resulting from what it characterized as a sophisticated, targeted cyber-attack. Group health plans may be...more

2/10/2015 - Anthem Insurance Best Practices Breach Notification Rule Corporate Counsel Cyber Attacks Cybersecurity HIPAA Personally Identifiable Information

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

12/18/2014 - Healthcare Facilities HIPAA OCR Patient Confidentiality Breaches PHI Popular Settlement

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

Looming HIPAA Deadline: Update Business Associate Agreements by Monday, September 22, 2014

Business associate agreements that have not already been updated as required by the HIPAA Omnibus Rule should be updated by September 22, 2014. The Omnibus Rule changed and added mandatory language for valid business...more

9/23/2014 - Business Associates Deadlines HIPAA HIPAA Omnibus Rule

$4.8 Million – Largest HIPAA Settlement to Date

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a press release announcing that two health care organizations—New York and Presbyterian Hospital (“NYP”) and Columbia...more

5/9/2014 - Covered Entities Data Breach Electronic Medical Records HIPAA Hospitals Non-Judicial Settlement Agreements OCR Patient Confidentiality Breaches

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

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

2/28/2014 - Healthcare HHS HIPAA Mental Health Mental Health Parity Rule Mental Illness

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

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

9/26/2013 - Clinical Laboratories HHS HIPAA HIPAA Omnibus Rule Notice of Privacy Practices

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

2/26/2013 - Data Breach HHS HIPAA HIPAA Omnibus Rule Notice Requirements

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