News & Analysis as of

TortSource: Ransomware: A Reportable Breach?

In the past several years, a huge increase has occurred in the number of electronic attacks in the United States using ransomware, a form of malware that targets and encrypts critical data and systems for the purpose of...more

HIPAA Enforcement Update (October 2016 – January 2017)

Since October 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced four settlement agreements to resolve allegations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)...more

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

"Privacy & Cybersecurity Update - January 2017"

In this edition of our Privacy & Cybersecurity Update, we discuss how the prospect of a new chair and three new commissioners at the FTC may impact the agency's approach to cybersecurity regulation, a new Massachusetts...more

HHS Reaches $2.2 Million Settlement With Life Insurance Company For Impermissible Disclosure Of ePHI

On January 18, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“HHS OCR”) announced that it had agreed to a $2.2 million settlement with MAPFRE Life Assurance Company of Puerto Rico (“MAPFRE Life”),...more

Heighten Importance for March 1, 2017 HIPAA Small Breach Reporting Deadline

With OCR’s recent announcement of its first enforcement action for lack of timely breach notification and its increased focus on small breaches, the upcoming annual reporting deadline for small breaches takes on increased...more

Top 10 for 2017 – Happy Data Privacy Day

In honor of Data Privacy Day, we provide the following “Top 10 for 2017.”  While the list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide some hot topics for organizations to consider in 2017. ...more

Lessons Learned from Recent OCR Settlements

We can learn some valuable lessons about compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) from settlements that are announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office...more

Recent HIPAA Enforcement Actions

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced the first ever settlement related to a Covered Entity’s untimely breach notification in violation of HIPAA. Presence Health,...more

HHS Gets Agressive: HIPAA Audits from 2016

HHS has become more aggressive with audits, and with increased penalties, covered entities and business associates simply cannot afford an audit on HIPAA rules and regulations. In March of 2016, HHS's Office for Civil Rights...more

Time Waits for No One: OCR Announces First HIPAA Settlement for Lack of Timely Breach Notification

On Jan. 9, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced the first HIPAA enforcement action for failure to timely report a breach. Often investigating and making formal...more

Failure to Timely Notify Results in Enforcement Action and Significant Settlement

For the first time, on January 9, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (HHS/OCR) settled a HIPAA enforcement action based on the untimely reporting of a breach of unsecured protected...more

Breach of Privacy Prompts Breach of Etiquette: DHHS Sets New Precedent in Privacy Breach Enforcement

On January 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) took action against a health system for non-timely reporting of a breach of protected health information. It was the first...more

Time is of the Essence When Reporting a Breach of PHI

The failure to timely report a breach of unsecured protected health information (PHI) has cost Presence Health (one of the largest health systems in Illinois) almost half of a million dollars. Earlier this month,...more

Three-Month Delay Means Health Network Must Pay

A delay in reporting a HIPAA violation can result in a significant monetary penalty. That was the message sent by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which recently announced the first HIPAA settlement based on the untimely...more

HHS OCR Levies Significant HIPAA Penalties in a Series of Recent Settlements: Covered Entities and Business Associates Alike...

Between June and November 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) has announced seven high-dollar settlements to resolve alleged violations of the HIPAA privacy, security, and breach...more

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

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