Data Protection Dept. of Health and Human Services

News & Analysis as of

New FTC Data Breach Response Guidelines

Cybersecurity should always be at the top of any retailer’s priority list—and even more so as the holiday shopping season gets underway. To that end, the Federal Trade Commission’s newly-released Data Breach Response...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

GAO Report Criticizes HHS’ HIPAA Cybersecurity Guidance and Program

Recently, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) security and privacy oversight and identified significant gaps in the cybersecurity guidance provided by...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

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

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

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

GAO Study Slams HHS For Lack of Guidance to Covered Entities

We watch closely for any guidance to HIPAA covered entities and business associates from the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS/OCR). Why? Because there is so little of it. Lately, the only...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

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

Healthcare Compliance: Juggling Risk Mitigation Strategies

Healthcare organizations – ranging from physician practice groups to large, multi-state hospital systems – face a variety of risks, including fraud and abuse, as well as HIPAA privacy issues. Starting from a baseline risk...more

OCR to Increase Efforts to Investigate Breaches Affecting Fewer Than 500 Individuals

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency tasked with investigating data breaches involving protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and...more

Illinois Revises Data Privacy Statute

Earlier this year, Illinois enacted a number of changes to the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). The amendments to PIPA, among other things, expand the definition of personal information subject to...more

Cybersecurity in life sciences: what is your duty of care?

Cybersecurity continues to be headline-grabbing news, particularly following recent reports of high-profile cyber attacks on a number of major well-known corporations. Conscious of their fiduciary duties, boardrooms of global...more

Health Update - July 2016

The Vulnerability of Healthcare Information - According to a report the Brookings Institute issued in May 2016, 23% of all data breaches occur in the healthcare industry. Nearly 90% of healthcare organizations had some...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

Bad News for HIPAA Business Associates: HHS OCR Announces $650,000 Settlement for BA Breach

Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (“CHCS”), a HIPAA business associate, has agreed to pay the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) $650,000 in connection with a...more

HHS guidance seeks to clarify scope of PSQIA

On May 24, 2016, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued guidance (Guidance) to health care providers and patient safety organizations (PSOs) in an attempt to clarify the definition of patient safety work...more

House Energy And Commerce Committee Reviews Cybersecurity Practices At HHS

On May 25, 2016, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine the Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) cybersecurity responsibilities. The hearing focused on legislation that...more

Bipartisan House Bill Would Elevate Chief Information Security Officer At HHS

On April 26, 2016, House Representatives Billy Long (R-MO) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the HHS Data Protection Act, legislation aimed at improving cybersecurity at the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). ...more

Help with HIPAA!

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has published answers to some frequently asked questions about an individual’s right to access identifiable health information. Are the FAQs boring? Absolutely. But are they...more

HIPAA and Text Messaging

Text messaging is pervasive. Doctors and other health care providers, covered entities, and business associates currently use (and embrace) the technology. Texting is easy, fast and efficient. It doesn’t require a laptop...more

HHS’ Selection of Contractor Provides Latest Update on Impending Second Round of HIPAA Audits

On October 27, 2015, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) official stated that the agency has hired FCi Federal, a provider of management and professional services to government agencies in Ashburn, VA, to...more

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