Business Associates Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

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

OCR Issues Alerts Regarding Phishing Email Disguised as Official OCR Audit Communication

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published an alert on November 28 describing a phishing email being circulated on mock HHS departmental letterhead under the signature of OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels. The email prompts...more

UMass Amherst Settles HIPAA Violations with OCR for $650,000

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced that the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) has agreed to settle an investigation against it as a result of a malware infection for $650,000, along with implementing a...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

Additional Clarification regarding HHS OCR Phishing Email Alert

More information from HHS OCR about the phishing threat... ..On November 28, 2016, the HHS Office for Civil Rights issued a listserv announcement warning covered entities and their business associates about a phishing...more

OCR Alerts Listservs About Fake Phishing Email to Covered Entities and Business Associates

On November 28, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued an Alert to its listservs that a phishing email is being circulated on “mock HHS Departmental letterhead under the signature of OCR”s Director, Jocelyn Samuels”...more

OCR Issues Alert Regarding Phishing Email Disguised as Official OCR Audit Communication

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published an alert on Nov. 28 describing a phishing email being circulated on mock HHS departmental letterhead under the signature of OCR...more

HHS OCR Alert: Phishing Email Disguised as Official OCR Audit Communication

This alert just in from HHS OCR: “It has come to our attention that a phishing email is being circulated on mock HHS Departmental letterhead under the signature of OCR’s Director, Jocelyn Samuels. This email appears to...more

OCR Warns of Phishing Campaign Disguised as Official OCR Communication

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published an alert on Monday describing a phishing campaign disguised as an email from OCR. The email is being circulated on mock HHS...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

OCR Stresses Importance of Authentication in Newsletter

In a recent newsletter, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) encourages health care organizations to review their procedures around authentication and “ensure that they have the appropriate safeguards in place.”...more

OCR Guidance Underscores Importance of Authentication under HIPAA

In its tenth OCR Cyber Awareness Newsletter of the year (Newsletter), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reminded HIPAA-covered entities and business associates of the importance of selecting an appropriate authentication...more

OCR Reminds Companies that Authentication is Key

In non-election news, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services recently released its November Cyber Awareness Newsletter. This month’s newsletter focuses on the topic of...more

HIPAA Audits – Phase 2: On-Site Audits Scheduled for First Quarter of 2017

Covered Entities and Business Associates may be ringing in the New Year with the prospect of responding to on-site HIPAA audits by federal regulators. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights...more

2016 End of Year Plan Sponsor “To Do” List: Health & Welfare

As 2016 comes to an end, we are pleased to present you with our traditional End of Year Plan Sponsor “To Do” Lists. Like last year, we are presenting our “To Do” Lists in three separate Employee Benefits Updates. Part 1 of...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 Issues Compliance Guidance for Organizations that Share and Collect PHI

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued Guidance to remind HIPAA compliant organizations that share and collect protected health information (PHI) for commercial activities that they must also comply with FTC Act...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

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

Clouding the Issue: Impact of Cloud-Based Software Service Providers on HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates

The message from patients to healthcare providers is clear: increase the quality of health services while decreasing cost.  The message from the federal government to healthcare providers and their business associates is even...more

How to Avoid Being the Next OCR Target for a HIPAA CMP

In 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) imposed civil monetary penalties (“CMPs”) of over $22.8 million on 12 entities, including a business associate. The most frequent violations of the Health Insurance Portability and...more

New HIPAA Guidance Sheds Light on Existing Rules

Recently, regulators issued new guidance related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), Pub.L. 104–191, 110 Stat. 1936, enacted August 21, 1996. Specifically, on October 6, 2016, the Department...more

OCR Explains How Information Blocking Violates HIPAA

The US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights recently posted guidance clarifying that a business associate such as an information technology vendor generally may not block or terminate access by a...more

HHS Publishes New Guidance on HIPAA and Cloud Computing

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a new guidance regarding HIPAA compliance and the use of cloud computing solutions. The guidance is intended to assist covered entities...more

HHS Issues Guidance Regarding Importance of Business Associate Agreements Between Covered Entities and Cloud Services Vendors

The Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued guidance regarding the importance of covered entities and cloud service vendors maintaining business associate agreements (BAAs) where electronic...more

Five Highlights from OCR Guidance On HIPAA Compliance In Cloud Computing

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued guidelines for HIPAA-covered entities that utilize cloud computing in processing electronic protected health information (ePHI). The...more

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