News & Analysis as of

2016 Breach Roundup, Part I: U.S. State Data Breach Notification Laws Highlights and Trends

In many respects, 2016 has been a remarkable year, but one constant with recent history is that multiple states (six this year) amended their breach notification statutes. As is commonly stated, the U.S. ...more

HHS Issues Warning About Phishing Campaign Disguised As Official Communication

As part of its efforts to assess compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) engages in audits of covered...more

More on HIPAA Audits for 2016 and 2017–Desk Audits and On-Site Audits

As part of the ongoing HHS OCR HIPAA audit initiative, it is conducting “HIPAA desk audits.” These audits don’t involve auditors coming in your facility. Instead, covered entities are being asked to submit documents on...more

Cloud Service Providers Beware, You May Be Subject to HIPAA Without Knowing It

The use of cloud service providers has exploded in the past several years. According to estimates from Gartner, the market for cloud services is expected to reach $204 billion in 2016. But the use of cloud service providers...more

FTC Provides Nonbinding Materials to Help Businesses Defend Against and Respond to Data Breaches

On October 25, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its nonbinding “Data Breach Response” guide with an accompanying blog post and video, all directed to help businesses prepare a data breach response plan. The...more

HHS Designates Cloud Service Providers as Business Associates Under HIPAA

Cloud service providers that process electronic protected health information (ePHI) are business associates under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), even if the PHI is encrypted and the...more

Into the Cloud: New Guidelines for HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates

The advent of cloud computing has raised questions about how companies subject to HIPAA can take advantage of the technology while still complying with their privacy and security obligations under federal law. In response,...more

Recent HIPAA Settlements Highlight Importance Of Business Associate Agreements

Two related healthcare companies were forced to pay settlements with the federal government totaling over $500,000 over allegations relating to a data breach involving patient health information. Much of the negative...more

"Privacy & Cybersecurity Update - October 2016"

In this edition of our Privacy & Cybersecurity Update, we take a look at the FCC's new rules for broadband privacy, the FTC's new playbook for data breach response and notification, the NHTSA's voluntary guidance for...more

HHS-OCR Announces Guidance On HIPAA Compliance And Cloud Computing

On October 6, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued guidance on complying with HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification rules when using cloud computing technology...more

Healthcare Data Breach Enforcements and Fines At A Glance

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) is responsible for enforcing the Privacy and Security Rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”)....more

Taking Measure of HIPAA Enforcement

Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the largest settlement to date for alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)....more

September Privacy and Security Updates

Although National Cyber Security Month isn’t until October, September has brought plenty of privacy and security updates that health care companies need to be aware of. In this post, we review guidance from the Office for...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

OCR to Focus More Investigative Resources on Smaller HIPAA Breaches with Less Than 500 Individuals Affected

The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced it will devote more resources to investigate smaller HIPAA breaches. Before this announcement, OCR typically opened...more

OCR to Investigate More HIPAA Breaches Affecting Fewer Than 500 Individuals

On August 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced plans to expand its investigations of reported breaches of the Health Insurance Portability and...more

HIPAA Phase 2 Audits: What Has OCR Requested from Auditees to Date?

In our April 8, 2016, advisory, we discussed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) “Phase 2” audit program. Then, we could only make educated guesses about what documents OCR...more

Ransomware May Be a Reportable HIPAA Breach

In 2016, more than 4000 ransomware or other malware attacks are occurring daily, a 300% increase since 2015. There have been reports of six hospitals that have been victims of ransomware in 2016. Ransomware is a type of...more

Smaller HIPAA Breaches To Get More Attention by Office for Civil Rights

The HIPAA breach notification rule has two buckets for classifying data breaches – those that involve “protected health information” (PHI) of 500 or more individuals and those that involve fewer than 500 individuals. Since...more

HSS Issues New Guidance on Ransomware Attacks Against HIPAA-Covered Entities

Ransomware attacks at hospitals and other healthcare facilities have dramatically increased over the last several years, putting healthcare providers in the uncomfortable position of having to consider paying thousands of...more

University of Mississippi to Pay $2.75 Million for Alleged HIPAA Violations

On July 21, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a settlement with the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), stemming from a 2013 breach of...more

Guidance on Ransomware Attacks under HIPAA and State Data Breach Notification Laws

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently issued guidance under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on what covered entities and business associates can do to prevent and...more

Advocate Health Care Network Agrees to Pay $5.55 Million to Settle Potential HIPAA Penalties

On August 4, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that Advocate Health Care Network (“Advocate”), Illinois’ largest fully-integrated health care system, has agreed to pay a record-breaking $5.55 million to...more

Largest Health & Human Services HIPAA Settlement Wake-Up Call for Covered Entities to Evaluate and Mitigate Risks

On Thursday, August 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced the largest settlement ever with a single entity for multiple potential Health Insurance Portability and...more

Ransomware Reporting Requirements & New HHS Guidance

Ransomware is malicious software that denies access to data, usually by encrypting the data with a private encryption key that is only provided once a ransom is paid. Sometimes the ransomware will actually destroy, steal, or...more

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