News & Analysis as of

OCR Examines Hybrid Entity Designation in Latest HIPAA Settlement

On November 22, 2016, the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) agreed to pay $650,000 and enter into a corrective action plan to settle allegations that it violated the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules in connection...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

HIPAA Settlement Emphasizes Importance of Accurate Hybrid Entity Designations

On November 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced that University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMA) agreed to settle allegations relating to the HIPAA Privacy...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

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

Orleans Medical Clinic Notifies 6,890 Patients of Data Breach

Orleans Medical Clinic (Orleans) in Indiana has notified the Office for Civil Rights that the protected health information of 6,890 patients was compromised as a result of an upgrade to its server. Orleans is in the process...more

OCR: No privacy breach is too small

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) HIPAA enforcement efforts are continuing to increase. This year, the OCR has already announced 10 HIPAA enforcement actions involving fines, which is a 67 percent increase from last year and...more

HIPAA Breaches: Size Doesn't Necessarily Matter

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) made headlines this month with a record $5.55 million HIPAA settlement reached with Advocate Health Care System, Illinois’ largest health care...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

Client Alert: The Government Enters into Largest HIPAA Settlement to Date; What HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates...

Advocate Health Care Network, which operates 12 hospitals and more than 200 other treatment centers in Chicago and central Illinois, has agreed to the largest settlement to date with the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) for...more

HIPAA Hat Trick: Security Violations Lead to Three Major Settlements

Look no further than the last three weeks for proof that HIPAA enforcement is on the rise. Failure to maintain the security of information systems containing patient information has cost healthcare providers over $10...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

OCR’s Recent $2.7 Million Settlement with Oregon Health & Science University Highlights the Importance of HIPAA Compliance...

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) recently entered into a resolution agreement to settle potential violations of HIPAA’s Privacy and...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

Ex-Husband's Revenge Leads to HHS Trophy

Patient care is not confined to a single office or exam room, or a single physician or other provider. Caring for patients these days now includes complex coordination among physicians, nurse, technicians, staff, management,...more

One Week, $5.45 Million in Resolution Agreements for HIPAA Violations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) continued its run of resolution agreements for HIPAA violations, pulling in $5.45 million from just two entities, North Memorial Health Care of...more

Hollywood Presbyterian Concedes to Hacker’s Demands in Ransomware Attack

In a chain of events that should be a wake-up call to any entity using and storing critical health information, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (“HPMC”) has announced that it paid hackers $17,000 to end a malware attack...more

Stolen, Unencrypted Laptop Leads to $850,000 Settlement and Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan for Massachusetts Teaching...

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR), has announced a settlement with Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (Lahey) that arose out of a HIPAA breach involving a stolen laptop. The...more

Lahey Hospital agrees to pay a whopping $850,000 to OCR for stolen laptop

Just before Thanksgiving, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (Lahey) has agreed to pay $850,000 in fines and penalties to the OCR and enter into a resolution agreement following...more

OIG Reports Insufficient Oversight Of HIPAA Compliance

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) must improve its oversight and enforcement of patient information privacy and security rules by “covered entities” and their business associates under the Health Information Portability...more

Cure of Security Rule Violations Following Breach of EPHI Cannot Save Covered Entities from $750,000 Settlement; Non-Breach...

More than three years after the Cancer Care Group, P.C. (“CCG”) notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) of a breach of unsecured electronic protected health...more

Don't Wait for It; Recent HIPAA Enforcement Action Signal More to Come in Phase 2 Audits

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) have recently selected a vendor to conduct the second wave of HIPAA audits. These so-called "Phase 2 Audits" are set to commence...more

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