Data Breach Office of Civil Rights

News & Analysis as of

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

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

Confusing Joint Guidance published by OCR and FTC on HIPAA Authorization Forms

There are arguments that there is a dearth of guidance by both the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), so when guidance comes out, we listen. But the most recent guidance jointly issued by 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

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

Health Care System’s HIPAA Security Risk Results in $2.14 Million Fine

On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced that St. Joseph Health (SJH) agreed to settle allegations relating to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules,...more

St. Joseph Health Settles with OCR for $2.14 Million

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced that it has entered into a settlement with St. Joseph Health, which operates hospitals and nursing homes in California, Texas and New Mexico, for $2.14 million for alleged HIPAA...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

GAO Calls on HHS to Strengthen Electronic Health Info Security, Privacy Guidance and Oversight

In light of recent health information data breaches, the Government Accountability Office has issued a report examining whether HHS security and privacy guidance for electronic health records (EHRs) are consistent with...more

Blog: GAO Criticizes HHS In Health Information Cybersecurity Report

On Monday, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released a report (the “Report”) criticizing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) security and privacy guidance and oversight in protecting...more

Small-Breach Focus Shows Growing Scope Of HIPAA Probes

Flexing yet more enforcement muscle under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, on Aug. 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights announced that it will more widely...more

Don’t Ignore Ransomware Vulnerabilities; You Could Be Violating FTC Act

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission convened a ransomware workshop to discuss the rising epidemic of attacks against U.S. businesses and individuals. In a ransomware attack, a malicious actor tricks a user into...more

OCR Continues to Strengthen HIPAA Enforcement Efforts

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") sent a strong HIPAA enforcement message this summer, entering four resolution agreements, including the highest financial settlement to...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

Orleans Medical Clinic Notifies 6,890 Patients of Data Breach

Orleans Medical Clinic (Orleans) in Indiana has notified the Office for Civil Rights that the protected health information of 6,890 patients was compromised as a result of an upgrade to its server. Orleans is in the process...more

OCR Announces Initiative to Amplify Investigations of Breaches Affecting Fewer than 500 Individuals

Taking another step toward more aggressive enforcement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), on August 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil...more

OCR: No privacy breach is too small

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) HIPAA enforcement efforts are continuing to increase. This year, the OCR has already announced 10 HIPAA enforcement actions involving fines, which is a 67 percent increase from last year and...more

HIPAA Breaches: Size Doesn't Necessarily Matter

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) made headlines this month with a record $5.55 million HIPAA settlement reached with Advocate Health Care System, Illinois’ largest health care...more

Corporate E-Note - August 2016

In a “Table of Experts” series published on July 15, 2016 by the Birmingham Business Journal, Ed Christian provides his insight into a series of questions related to mergers and acquisitions. Please see full E-note below...more

OCR to Increase Investigations Of Smaller PHI Breaches

Healthcare providers and other covered entities must report breaches of unsecured protected health information (“PHI”) to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in accordance with the Breach Notification Rule of the...more

Small Breaches Matter Too: OCR Broadens HIPAA Breach Investigations

The Regional Offices of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) already investigate every reported Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) breach affecting 500 or more...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 Security Rule Compliance for Providers & Business Associates in Three Easy Steps

On August 4, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the U.S. Health & Human Services Department (“HHS”) announced a $5.55 million HIPAA settlement with Advocate Health Care Network (“Advocate”), the largest...more

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