News & Analysis as of

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

Ransomware and Malware Continue to Plague Health Care Organizations

We continue to warn health care organizations about the real and serious risks associated with ransomware and malware, but organizations don’t prepare for it adequately and are getting hit hard. Just this past week,...more

Office of Civil Rights Posts HIPAA Phase II Audit Guidance and Advocate Health Care Settlement Information

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently uploaded two items of interest: information regarding the largest penalty to date against a single entity, Advocate Health Care Network (Advocate), and HIPAA Phase II Desk Audit...more

Health Tech Podcast - Episode 2: Best Practices for Health App Development [Video]

Ian O’Neill, a shareholder in the firm’s Intellectual Property Department focusing on technology transactions, licensing, advanced media and privacy issues, and Emily Weber, a shareholder in the firm’s Health Care Group...more

Illinois’ Largest Health System Agrees to Stringent HIPAA Breach Settlement

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced on August 4, 2016, a settlement agreement with Advocate Health Care Network, an integrated healthcare system with ten hospitals and a...more

HSS Issues New Guidance on Ransomware Attacks Against HIPAA-Covered Entities

Ransomware attacks at hospitals and other healthcare facilities have dramatically increased over the last several years, putting healthcare providers in the uncomfortable position of having to consider paying thousands of...more

Record HIPAA Settlement Paid by Hospital Chain

Federal regulators announced last week that Illinois’ largest hospital chain would pay $5.5 million, a record payment under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), in connection with three 2013 data...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

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

Ransomware Reporting Requirements & New HHS Guidance

Ransomware is malicious software that denies access to data, usually by encrypting the data with a private encryption key that is only provided once a ransom is paid. Sometimes the ransomware will actually destroy, steal, or...more

Athens Orthopedic Clinic’s EMR compromised by hackers using vendor’s log-in credentials

Athens Orthopedic Clinic in Georgia reported on July 25, 2016, that a hacker gained access to its electronic medical record system at the end of June using the log-in credentials of a third-party vendor....more

Behavioral health provider StarCare Specialty notifies 2,900 patients of breach of PHI

StarCare Specialty Health System, located in Lubbock, Texas, is notifying 2,900 patients “who received Intellectual Developmental Disabilities program services, Behavioral Health program services, and Therapeutic Treatment...more

Hospital Text Messaging Rules Placed on Hold by Joint Commission

The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals and other health care organizations, hit pause on its prior May 2016 announcement to allow secure text messaging in hospitals and other health care organizations. The use of...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

DMEC Conference Focuses on Leaves and Reasonable Accommodation

Last week, the Disability Management Employer Coalition held its annual conference in New Orleans. The conference focused on how employers can bring individuals with disabilities into the workplace and manage their needs once...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

Healthcare Newsletter: Volume 6, Number 1

Recent Developments in Mental Health Benefit Denials - The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act) requires health plans to provide the same coverage for mental health conditions as they provide for...more

Report Warns Providers of HIPAA Violations When Responding to Negative Online Reviews

ProPublica, a public interest investigative newsroom, recently identified more than 3,500 one-star medical reviews on Yelp in which patients complained about privacy issues. ProPublica determined that “in dozens of instances,...more

Protected Health Information: Providers Must Proceed with Caution

Medical records are a powerful weapon in the courtroom. They may reveal the extent of an individual’s injury in a personal injury case or substantiate the severity of an individual’s mental illness when that mental illness is...more

OCR Announces First HIPAA Enforcement Action against a Business Associate

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced an agreement with Catholic Health Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling allegations that CHCS violated the Health...more

HHS: Ransomware Attacks Likely HIPAA Breaches In Absence of Encryption

On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a Fact Sheet that provides guidance on (i) how HIPAA Security Rule compliance can assist health care organizations combat ransomware attacks, and...more

Oregon Health & Science University pays $2.7M penalty for data breaches

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has agreed to settle alleged HIPAA violations involving two separate data breaches with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for $2.7 million. In the span of three months in 2013,...more

CMS Finalizes Plan to Expand Medicare/Private Claims Data Available for Care Improvement

CMS has published a final rule to allow organizations approved as “qualified entities” to confidentially share or sell analyses of Medicare and private-sector claims data to providers, employers, and other groups who can use...more

Facebook and HIPAA: Strange Bedfellows

As a social media user, you may have experienced Facebook’s targeted advertising. Mere moments after searching for a specific item on Google or visiting another website, your Facebook ads reflect your recent browsing history....more

Joint Commission Okays Texting of Patient Orders

The Joint Commission recently announced a change in its policies whereby it will now allow providers to communicate patient orders via text message. The policy applies to all Joint Commission accreditation programs. While the...more

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