Data Protection Dept. of Health and Human Services

News & Analysis as of

HIPAA Settlement Regarding Use of Internet Applications

On July 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a settlement agreement with St. Elizabeth's Medical Center (SEMC) in Brighton, Massachusetts, regarding potential...more

Recent HHS Settlement Highlights Risks of Electronically-Sharing Protected Health Information

On July 10, 2015, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced its second settlement of the year for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act...more

A New Era of HIPAA Enforcement

Traditionally, HIPAA enforcement is assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In November 2013, Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General sharply criticized OCR’s...more

Employee Benefits Developments - April 2015

Health Insurance Company’s HIPAA Breach Affects Millions. At the end of January, a national BlueCross BlueShield affiliate, Anthem, Inc., discovered that its information technology systems were hacked. The information...more

Also In the News - Data, Privacy, & Security Practice Report - February 2015

OMB Receives Final Rule Permitting Disclosure To NICS --According to reginfo.gov, the White House Office of Management and Budget received a final rule from HHS that would modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule to expressly permit...more

Pressure Points: OCR Enforcement Activity in 2014

During 2014, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services initiated six enforcement actions in response to security breaches reported by entities covered by the Health Insurance...more

Grand Theft PHI – Are Vendors Putting You at Risk for a HIPAA Breach?

Your vendor’s employee goes home after a long day of collecting wellness questionnaires and biometric screening results only to wake up the next day to discover that her car has been stolen from her driveway. As you can...more

HIPAA in the Time of Ebola

Ebola has recently been the source of much concern, and health care providers and hospitals are taking steps to prepare themselves for the possibility of treating patients with Ebola. In addition to all of the medical...more

Ebola or Not, Patient Privacy Must Be Protected: Office for Civil Rights Issues Bulletin on HIPAA Requirements in Emergency...

In the wake of the recent Ebola cases, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a new bulletin reminding HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates that the...more

Blog: Federal Advisory Group Considers Patient Data Standards

This week, the Privacy and Security Workgroup within the Health IT Policy Committee was tasked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to discuss certain patient data protections. Specifically, they were...more

Government Conference Highlights Need for Protecting Health Information

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently highlighted the importance of protecting health information at the...more

Company Claims “HIPAA Has No Teeth”, Will Start Notifying Affected Individuals of Security Breaches and Vulnerabilities that Have...

A company named SLC Security, LLC (“SLC”), recently announced that it will begin notifying individuals if it believes it has identified a security breach or vulnerability of a company and it has not received a satisfactory...more

Recent Trends in HIPAA Liability

Since the passage of the 2013 HIPAA Omnibus Rule, there has been a substantial increase in HIPAA enforcement actions brought by the Department of Health and Human Services, including an increase in so-called “high-impact...more

WEBINAR: Breach, Enforcement and Beyond: HIPAA Breach Notification Analysis and OCR Enforcement Activities

The Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Health and Human Services revised the breach notification regulations last year in order to make the analysis of whether a breach occurred more objective. In addition, OCR...more

HIPAA For Lawyers And Law Firms: What you need to know to prevent your law firm from paying MILLION$

For years now lawyers and law firms providing professional services to health care providers or health insurance plans should have had in place essential safeguards to meet the responsibilities and requirements as business...more

OIG Report Takes Issue With Oversight of Security Controls for Electronic Health Records

HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released a report concluding that the entity responsible for overseeing the testing and certification process for electronic health records (EHRs) did not fully ensure that...more

News from the Health Law Gurus™

Former Walmart Exec to Help Manage HHS — Leslie Dach, former Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Walmart, will assume the role of Senior Counsel of the HHS, according to a press release on Wednesday. ...more

New HIPAA Reports to Congress Shed Light on OCR Enforcement

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued two reports to Congress, as required by the HITECH Act. The compliance report details OCR’s enforcement activities for 2011 and 2012 and...more

HHS Attorney: Major HIPAA Fines and Enforcement Coming

As regularly blogged about on the Data Privacy Monitor, the past 12 months have seen record-breaking HIPAA enforcement activity by HHS OCR. But according to recent remarks by a high-ranking HHS attorney, if you thought these...more

Enforcement Action – FTC Is Not Backing Down and Laboratory Company Goes After a Cyber-Intelligence Company

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is not the only government arm that enforces data breaches. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has broad authority to regulate the security of...more

Proposed modifications to EHR Incentive Programs

Last year, HHS revised policies and definitions surrounding what constitutes certified EHR technology—required for meaningful use incentive program payment eligibility—from the 2011 Edition criteria to the 2014 Edition...more

Failure to Encrypt Mobile Devices = Nearly $2 Million in Settlements

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settled for the collective amount of $1,975,220 with Concentra Health Services (Concentra) and QCA Health Plan, Inc. (QCA). The settlements stem...more

Advertising Law - May 2014

Here Today, Still Here Tomorrow: FTC Settles With Snapchat - Now you see it … and now it’s still there. Mobile messaging app Snapchat went with a catchier slogan, promising consumers that pictures and videos...more

Policyholders Face Heightened Scrutiny Under OCR’s New Permanent Audit Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has notably increased enforcement of compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and Health Information...more

Regulatory double jeopardy? FTC enforcement of privacy and security in healthcare

How should health care companies strengthen their HIPAA compliance programs to manage the risk of a potential FTC investigation? While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights...more

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