Business Associates

Business Associates can refer broadly to individuals engaged in business relationships with one another. However, in the HIPAA context, the term has a specific statutory meaning and those characterized as... more +
Business Associates can refer broadly to individuals engaged in business relationships with one another. However, in the HIPAA context, the term has a specific statutory meaning and those characterized as business associates have expanded data protection obligations and duties. Essentially, a business associate under HIPAA is a person or entity that performs certain functions or services which necessitates exposure to protected health information on behalf of a covered entity. Typical business associate functions include: claims processing or administration, data analysis, billing, etc.    less -
News & Analysis as of

HHS OCR Guidance on Ransomware Attacks: They Constitute a “Security Incident” and Are Likely a Data Breach

On July 11, 2016, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance on HIPAA covered entities’ responsibilities in a ransomware attack, a type of cyber-attack that has targeted the health care sector extensively in...more

Report Warns Providers of HIPAA Violations When Responding to Negative Online Reviews

ProPublica, a public interest investigative newsroom, recently identified more than 3,500 one-star medical reviews on Yelp in which patients complained about privacy issues. ProPublica determined that “in dozens of instances,...more

Ransomware Attack is a Breach – Unless You Can Prove Otherwise

Ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat in the United States, targeting simple home computers to elaborate corporate IT networks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently reported an increase in ransomware...more

OCR Announces First HIPAA Enforcement Action against a Business Associate

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced an agreement with Catholic Health Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling allegations that CHCS violated the Health...more

Client Alert - The Government Makes a Business Associate Pay: What HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates Can Learn from...

The government has entered into its first settlement with a HIPAA business associate, including a $650,000.00 monetary penalty, ushering in a new period of enforcement for third parties who use Protected Health Information...more

Regulatory Authorities Launch The Second Phase Of The HIPAA Compliance Audit Program

As a part of its continued efforts to assess compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for...more

The Long Anticipated HIPAA Audits Are Here!

Phase 2 HIPAA Audits, which the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") announced had "launched" back in March of this year, have now officially begun. On Monday, July 11, 2016, the first round...more

Breach of ePHI Results in $2.7 Million Fine

Oregon Health & Science University (“OHSU”) has paid $2.7 million to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to settle allegations that it violated the Health Insurance Portability...more

OCR Issues New Guidance on Ransomware and HIPAA

In response to a rising number of ransomware attacks on healthcare systems, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued new ransomware guidance on the HIPAA obligations of...more

OCR Launches Phase 2 HIPAA Audits

On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) notified 167 covered entities of their selection for Phase 2 desk audits. The audits will examine compliance with the...more

OCR Begins HIPAA Phase 2 Audits

What covered entities and business associates can do to prepare for the next round of audits. On July 11, the HIPAA Phase 2 audits commenced when 167 covered entities received notice of a desk audit from the Department...more

New HIPAA Guidance on Ransomware Prevention and Recovery

A U.S. government interagency report indicates that there has been a 300 percent increase in the daily ransomware attacks in 2016 as compared to 2015. Ransomware is malicious software that, when introduced into a system,...more

Oregon Health & Science University pays $2.7M penalty for data breaches

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has agreed to settle alleged HIPAA violations involving two separate data breaches with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for $2.7 million. In the span of three months in 2013,...more

HIPAA Audit Program Update—HHS OCR Moves Forward with Desk Audits

As we previously reported, on March 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched the long-awaited Phase 2 of the audit program that is intended to assess compliance with...more

Recent Enforcement Action: Business Associates Not Off the Hook

Despite the fact that Business Associates have been directly subject to and liable under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations (HIPAA) since February 18, 2010 the...more

OCR Sends Notification Letters to Phase 2 HIPAA Auditees

On July 12, 2016, HHS’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) distributed an e-mail discussing recent developments in Phase II of its HIPAA audit program....more

BYOD Risks under HIPAA – Does Your HIPAA Compliance Program Adequately Address the Ever Increasing Use of Portable Electronic...

Many U.S. employers are now allowing employees to use their own personal handheld devices and laptop computers for work-related purposes. As the age of employer-provided devices is coming to an end and “bring your own device”...more

First Ever OCR Settlement of Enforcement Action against HIPAA Business Associate Due to PHI Breach

On June 30, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced the first HIPAA settlement agreement with a business associate. This follows recent settlements with two HIPAA covered entities under HIPAA due, in large part, to the...more

OCR Announces New HIPAA Guidance on Ransomware

In response to the increasing prevalence of ransomware cyber-attacks by hackers on electronic health information systems in hospitals and medical practices, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil...more

Entity Fined $650,000 in First HIPAA Settlement with a Business Associate

The possibility of business associates potentially being audited, investigated, and ultimately fined is now a reality. On June 24, 2016, the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights...more

OCR Update: HIPAA Phase 2 Audit Notices—Responses Due July 22, 2016

On July 11, 2016, e-mail notification was sent to 167 covered entities alerting them of their inclusion in the desk audit portion of OCR’s 2016 HIPAA audit program. Selected covered entities must respond no later than July...more

Just a Matter of Time: First-Ever Settlement of HIPAA Claims Against a Business Associate

On June 30, 2016, the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the first-ever settlement of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) claims against a business associate. According...more

Business Associates of HIPAA Covered Entities Beware!

If your organization is a business associate of a HIPAA covered entity (such as a health care provider or employee health benefit plan), you should know that the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights...more

Physical security still an issue: Pruitt Health suffers breach in break-in

The importance of physical security and the risk associated with the unauthorized access to or loss of paper records is clear from recent experiences of Pruitt Health in South Carolina. On March 2, 2016, an intruder...more

HHS Brings Landmark HIPAA Enforcement Action Against a Business Associate for Alleged Data Security Failures

On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a Resolution Agreement with Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling charges that CHCS failed to...more

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