Data Security Office of Civil Rights

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

Business Associates Beware! OCR Means Business

In June 2016, OCR entered into its first settlement agreement with a business associate, Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (“CHCS”), for potential violations of the HIPAA Laws by failing 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

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

Record-Breaking HIPAA Settlement Sends Strong Message to Covered Entities

This month marked the largest HIPAA settlement to-date for a single entity. Advocate Health Care Network (“Advocate”) agreed to pay $5.5 million and adopt a corrective action plan after an investigation by the Department of...more

Largest HIPAA Settlement Announced Against A Single Entity: $5.55 Million

On August, 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that Advocate Health Care Network (Advocate) agreed to pay a settlement amount of $5.55 million and adopt a...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

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

Largest Health & Human Services HIPAA Settlement Wake-Up Call for Covered Entities to Evaluate and Mitigate Risks

On Thursday, August 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced the largest settlement ever with a single entity for multiple potential Health Insurance Portability and...more

Boosts in Ransomware Attacks Spark Multiple Government Agency Responses

Following a recent U.S. government interagency report indicating that, on average, there has been an alarming 300 percent spike in daily ransomware attacks since early 2016 as compared with 2015, the U.S. Department of Health...more

Unplanned EHR Disruptions–Common for Hospitals

The prevalence of ransomware attacks is increasing. In fact, “[o]n average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016,” according to a recent interagency government report. Given this...more

Breach of ePHI Results in $2.7 Million Fine

Oregon Health & Science University (“OHSU”) has paid $2.7 million to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to settle allegations that it violated the Health Insurance Portability...more

Waves of Guidance and Benefit Plan Developments Worth Watching

Notices on Second Round of Privacy and Security Audits are Out, Expat Plans, OON Surgery Center Billing Issues, and New Nondiscrimination Rules for Federal Contractors, New ERISA Civil Monetary Penalties, COBRA Notices and...more

[Webinar] Cloud licensing and health care data: Know the risks, learn the solutions - July 27th, 12:00pm CT

As identity theft and malicious attacks against clinical providers increase, more and more health care data is stored in the digital cloud. The health care industry is required to take special precautions when licensing...more

Business Associate Settles HIPAA Investigation for $650,000

The U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the agency responsible for enforcing the HIPAA Privacy and Security rules, has just sent a strong message that business associates are not immune from scrutiny. On June 24, 2016, in a...more

[Webinar] Cloud licensing and health care data: Know the risks, learn the solutions - July 13th, 12:00pm CT

As identity theft and malicious attacks against clinical providers increase, more and more health care data is stored in the digital cloud. The health care industry is required to take special precautions when licensing...more

OCR Warns of HIPAA Risks in Third-Party Apps

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued a warning regarding vulnerabilities in third-party applications used by entities covered by HIPAA. The OCR warning applies...more

Data Security Safeguards Can Help Healthcare Employers Withstand Cyberattacks—and Government Audits

The last couple of years have brought a steady rain of bad news for the healthcare industry when it comes to data security: Insurers faced with massive data breaches affecting thousands of health plans and millions of...more

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