Health Care Providers Office of Civil Rights

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

HHS Issues Final Non-Discrimination Rules for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers and others who receive federal financial assistance are now subject to new non-discrimination rules and notice requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The new regulation prohibits discrimination in...more

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act Requires Healthcare Providers to Take Certain Steps in 2016 to Promote Equity

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act aims to advance healthcare equity. This statutory provision provides that current non-discrimination laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, will now apply to individuals and...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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Enforcement Action: Business Associates Not Off the Hook

Despite the fact that Business Associates have been directly subject to and liable under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations (HIPAA) since February 18, 2010 the...more

OCR Sends Notification Letters to Phase 2 HIPAA Auditees

On July 12, 2016, HHS’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) distributed an e-mail discussing recent developments in Phase II of its HIPAA audit program....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

Check Your Desk: HIPAA Audits for Covered Entities Have Arrived

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services has moved forward with Phase 2 of its Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) audit program. On Monday, July 11,...more

Entity Fined $650,000 in First HIPAA Settlement with a Business Associate

The possibility of business associates potentially being audited, investigated, and ultimately fined is now a reality. On June 24, 2016, the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights...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

[Event] HIPAA Compliance: The Current Audit and Enforcement Environment - August 4th, Richmond, VA

Featuring Iliana L. Peters, J.D., LL.M., Senior Advisor for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement at the HHS Office for Civil Rights, and Members of Williams Mullen’s Health Care Practice...more

“Your Money or Your PHI”: OCR Releases Guidance on Ransomware

On July 11, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released important new guidance on ransomware for hospitals and other healthcare providers and finally addressed the question of whether electronic protected health...more

Business Associates of HIPAA Covered Entities Beware!

If your organization is a business associate of a HIPAA covered entity (such as a health care provider or employee health benefit plan), you should know that the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights...more

OCR levies first fine ever directly against business associate

Our predictions that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will become more aggressive with audits, investigations, and fines against HIPAA business associates has come true. On June 24, 2016, the OCR announced that it has...more

Major Changes To Nondiscrimination Requirements Under ACA Effective Soon: Are Covered Entities Ready?

The HHS Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) published a final rule May 18, 2016, broadening the nondiscrimination requirements applicable to all health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance from HHS, those...more

HHS Issues Final Rule On Nondiscrimination In Health Programs And Activities

On May 18, 2016, the United States Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") issued a Final Rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), which prohibits...more

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