Data Protection Protected Health Information

News & Analysis as of

HIPAA Enforcement Update (October 2016 – January 2017)

Since October 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced four settlement agreements to resolve allegations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)...more

Key HIPAA Settlement Agreements by HHS’s Office for Civil Rights in 2015 & 2016

The last time this blog presented an overview of key HIPAA settlement agreements at the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was a review of 2014. The number of complaints that year had...more

Cancer Services Provider Confronts Ransomware Bully

My newest hero in the fight against ransomware is Little Red Door Cancer Services of East Central Indiana (Little Red Door). I am sending a donation to it to celebrate its courage in the last few weeks. Little Red Door...more

HIPAA Breach? Notify Promptly or Face Significant Potential Fines from HHS OCR

On January 9, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR), which enforces the privacy requirements contained in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), announced a...more

Breach of Privacy Prompts Breach of Etiquette: DHHS Sets New Precedent in Privacy Breach Enforcement

On January 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) took action against a health system for non-timely reporting of a breach of protected health information. It was the first...more

5 Information Governance Predictions for 2017

Information is every organization’s greatest asset. It makes up intellectual property, trade secrets and many other vital corporate assets. It’s how we in corporate America conduct business. With that said, governing and...more

Over 3.1 Billion Records Breached So Far in 2016

The tally of records breached in 2016 (through November) globally was over 2.1 billion, according to IT Governance. With the announcement yesterday of Yahoo’s breach of another 1 billion records, that tally is now up to 3.1...more

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

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

OCR Releases HIPAA Guidance on Cloud Computing

On October 6, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released HIPAA guidance on cloud computing (Guidance). The Guidance is intended to help covered entities and business associates...more

Best Practices for Safeguarding Protected Health Information in Inclement Weather

As the East Coast prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, covered entities and business associates should take the opportunity to remind their workforce members to safeguard protected health information (PHI) that is...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

Agencies Encourage New Privacy Regulations to Close the mHealth Black Hole and Keep Pace with Evolving Technologies

On July 19, 2016, the ONC submitted a report to Congress which suggests that health privacy regulations soon may be revised to catch up with the universe of mHealth technologies that now use and share personal health data....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

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

Potential Risks and Rewards of Cybersecurity Information Sharing Under CISA

When President Obama signed into law the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, which was designed to facilitate information sharing on cybersecurity threats between the public and private sectors, proponents hailed it as “our best...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

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

$650k Lesson in HIPAA Compliance for Business Associates: Nursing Home Management Company Settles With Government

Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS) settled potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule after the theft of a CHCS mobile...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

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