Health Care Providers Office of Civil Rights

News & Analysis as of

Federal Court Enjoins Part of ACA Final Non-Discrimination Rule

On December 31, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction in Franciscan Alliance, Inc. v. Burwell, N.D. Tex., No. 16-cv-108, holding that portions of the final rule issued...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

Three-Month Delay Means Health Network Must Pay

A delay in reporting a HIPAA violation can result in a significant monetary penalty. That was the message sent by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which recently announced the first HIPAA settlement based on the untimely...more

Healthcare Provider Obligations For Individuals With Limited English Proficiency

This summer I wrote about the dangers of English-only policies in this age of multiculturalism. These policies tend to emerge more frequently in the healthcare workplace, the reason being – the provision of quality care is...more

Looking Back at the HIPAA Resolution Agreements in 2016

In 2016, Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the enforcement arm for HIPAA, continued robust enforcement efforts. There were 12 reported resolution agreements (RA) in 2016. An RA is a settlement...more

November the Worst Month Yet for Healthcare Breaches

We have repeatedly reiterated numerous warnings to the healthcare industry about malware and ransomware [see related posts here and here]. Our predictions have unfortunately become true, as November was the worst month ever...more

OCR’s 2016 Ransomware ‘Guidance’: A Health Care Provider’s New Best Friend?

Background on Ransomware Attacks - Doomsday-esque ransomware scenarios are having an increasing impact on the health care industry, becoming commonplace in 2016. Security experts and the media have reported that health...more

AGG Food and Drug Newsletter - December 2016

Arnall Golden Gregory LLP's Food and Drug Newsletter is a monthly update of legal and regulatory issues that affect the FDA-regulated community, including regular updates on legislative initiatives from AGG’s Washington, DC...more

Five Key Issues Impacting Health Care Employers

Employers in the health care industry are likely to face significant changes under President-elect Donald J. Trump’s administration and should expect a healthy dose of uncertainty for the next few months. During his campaign,...more

The Clock Is Ticking – ACA Nondiscrimination Rules Will Take Effect January 1

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) published a final rule to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most prominently, this rule...more

OCR Alerts Listservs About Fake Phishing Email to Covered Entities and Business Associates

On November 28, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued an Alert to its listservs that a phishing email is being circulated on “mock HHS Departmental letterhead under the signature of OCR”s Director, Jocelyn Samuels”...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 Stresses Importance of Authentication in Newsletter

In a recent newsletter, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) encourages health care organizations to review their procedures around authentication and “ensure that they have the appropriate safeguards in place.”...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

OCR Reminds Companies that Authentication is Key

In non-election news, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services recently released its November Cyber Awareness Newsletter. This month’s newsletter focuses on the topic of...more

HIPAA Audits – Phase 2: On-Site Audits Scheduled for First Quarter of 2017

Covered Entities and Business Associates may be ringing in the New Year with the prospect of responding to on-site HIPAA audits by federal regulators. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights...more

Health Care Group News: Section 1557's Nondiscrimination Mandates

Physicians and other health care providers receiving federal funding, including Medicaid but excluding Medicare Part B, are subject to new regulatory requirements implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act...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

Restrictions on Fees Permitted Under HIPAA for Copies of Medical Records

When health care providers provide copies of medical records to an individual patient or to third parties at the direction of that individual patient, they are permitted under HIPAA to recover “a reasonable, cost-based fee.”...more

Health Care System’s HIPAA Security Risk Results in $2.14 Million Fine

On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced that St. Joseph Health (SJH) agreed to settle allegations relating to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules,...more

St. Joseph Health Settles with OCR for $2.14 Million

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced that it has entered into a settlement with St. Joseph Health, which operates hospitals and nursing homes in California, Texas and New Mexico, for $2.14 million for alleged HIPAA...more

Failure Under the HIPAA Security Rule Costs $2.14 Million

On October 18, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced a $2.14 million settlement with St. Joseph Health (“St. Joseph”), a non-profit integrated Catholic healthcare delivery...more

What Physician Practices and Other Healthcare Providers Need to Know About the Posting and Grievance Obligations Set Forth in the...

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Recently, the Federal Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a Final Rule clarifying...more

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