Data Security Dept. of Health and Human Services

News & Analysis as of

$5.5 Million HIPAA Settlement Underscores Importance of Audit Controls

On February 16, 2017, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) disclosed a $5.5 million settlement with Memorial Healthcare Systems (MHS) for HIPAA violations affecting the protected health information (PHI) of 115,143...more

$5.5 Million HIPAA Settlement Matches Largest Payment To-Date

On February 16, 2017, the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that Memorial Healthcare Systems of Florida (“MHS”) agreed to pay $5.5 million and enter into a...more

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

HIPAA Small Breach Notification Due March 1: “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb” if You Submit Timely

March 1, 2017 is the date by which HIPAA covered entities must notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of “small” breaches of unsecured protected health information that were...more

2016 Edition of HIPAA Regulations Released

The Code of Federal Regulations has recently published the 2016 version of the HIPAA regulations. This is the most up-to-date “official” version of the HIPAA regulations....more

HHS Modifies Drug and Alcohol Abuse Confidentiality Regulations, Proposes Additional Revisions

On January 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a final rule (the Final Rule) modifying the federal regulations governing the...more

[Webinar] HIPAA in the Cloud – OCR Guidance on HIPAA and Cloud Service Providers - Jan. 31st, 1:00pm ET

As the health care sector further embraces the benefits of cloud computing, numerous challenges have arisen with applying HIPAA to cloud computing services....more

HHS Gets Agressive: HIPAA Audits from 2016

HHS has become more aggressive with audits, and with increased penalties, covered entities and business associates simply cannot afford an audit on HIPAA rules and regulations. In March of 2016, HHS's Office for Civil Rights...more

The Price of PHI – A $2.2 Million USB Drive

A stolen unencrypted USB drive led to a $2.2 million settlement and a Resolution Agreement. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced on January 18th a settlement with MAPFRE Life...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

Ransomware – A Significant Cybersecurity Concern

Over the past year, no information security threat has demanded more media and corporate attention than ransomware. The evolution of this threat from an ineffective nuisance to a sophisticated business model generating...more

HHS OCR Levies Significant HIPAA Penalties in a Series of Recent Settlements: Covered Entities and Business Associates Alike...

Between June and November 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) has announced seven high-dollar settlements to resolve alleged violations of the HIPAA privacy, security, and breach...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

Beware of Phishing Email Disguised as Official OCR Audit Communication

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has posted an alert (and a follow-up alert) warning health plans, health care providers, and their vendors of a mock communication...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

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

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

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 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

Now is a Good Time to Review Your HIPAA Policies

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced it is increasing its investigations of breaches of unsecured protected health information (PHI) affecting fewer than 500 individuals. As a reminder, the HIPAA Breach...more

$2.75 Million OCR Settlement Underscores the Importance of Risk Management and Analysis

How the theft of a single password-protected laptop turned into an enterprise-wide review of an organization’s data protection practices. Following the announcement of a recent settlement between the U.S. Department of...more

University of Mississippi to Pay $2.75 Million for Alleged HIPAA Violations

On July 21, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a settlement with the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), stemming from a 2013 breach of...more

Guidance on Ransomware Attacks under HIPAA and State Data Breach Notification Laws

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently issued guidance under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on what covered entities and business associates can do to prevent and...more

HIPAA News: HHS Getting Tough On ePHI Data Breaches

On August 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced a record-setting settlement with Advocate Health Care Network (Advocate) for multiple potential violations of HIPAA...more

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