Health Information Technologies Office of Civil Rights

News & Analysis as of

Data-Harvesting Zombie Hackers, Blood-Thirsty Auditors, and Other Reasons to be Scared on Halloween

This Halloween, the scariest monsters might not be in your closet or under your bed. They may be overseas, orchestrating intrusions into your electronic medical record. Or they may be lurking in your own workforce, carrying...more

OCR Launches Platform for Developer HIPAA Questions

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has released a new platform to provide mobile health developers (and any other interested stakeholders) a sounding board to ask questions, voice concerns, and “spitball” ideas about HIPAA...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

Is Your HIPAA Compliance Program Ready for the FTC?

Everyone in healthcare knows that the next round of HIPAA audits is coming. Covered entities and business associates have long been advised to review and update their HIPAA security risk analyses, have business associate...more

OIG Calls for Stronger HIPAA Compliance Efforts

The OIG has issued two reports calling for stronger ONC oversight of covered entity compliance with HIPAA standards. In the first report, “OCR Should Strengthen Its Oversight of Covered Entities’ Compliance with the HIPAA...more

Time for a HIPAA Security Check-Up!

The 2015 HIPAA Security conference held by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) kicked off last week with OCR’s...more

Cloud Sharing Apps Scrutinized for ePHI

In a relatively short time period, the direct costs of document storage have dropped precipitously, and cloud-based document storage has become ubiquitous. Clearly, this is a wave of the future. But a recent settlement...more

HIPAA Settlement Regarding Use of Internet Applications

On July 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a settlement agreement with St. Elizabeth's Medical Center (SEMC) in Brighton, Massachusetts, regarding potential...more

Recent HHS Settlement Highlights Risks of Electronically-Sharing Protected Health Information

On July 10, 2015, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced its second settlement of the year for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act...more

A Year in Review: Key HIPAA Settlement Agreements by HHS’s Office for Civil Rights

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights had another busy year in 2014. More resolution agreements were signed by HHS and Covered Entities than in the previous year, and several Covered...more

ONC Releases Privacy and Security Guidance Geared Toward Small Providers

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”) recently released a new and improved version 2.0 of their Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information. This revamped...more

Privacy and Security Alert: January 9th, 2014

On December 5, 2013, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported on the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) compliance as of May 2011 with oversight and enforcement of the Security Rule and compliance with federal cybersecurity...more

Health Law Alert: Deficient Data Security On Mobile Devices Leads To First HIPAA Breach Settlement Involving Less Than 500...

On January 2, 2013, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced its first HIPAA breach settlement involving less than 500 patients. OCR took action against a hospice provider in...more

First HHS OCR Settlement for HIPAA Breach Involving Less Than 500 Patients Sends Message to Providers

On January 2, 2013, HHS announced that the Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) agreed to pay $50,000 and enter into a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) as part of a settlement involving a breach of unsecured electronic protected health...more

First-Ever HIPAA Settlement Involving Fewer Than 500 Patients Announced

On January 2, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a settlement with the Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) for potential HIPAA violations....more

Are Your Mobile Devices HIPAA Compliant? Practical Steps to Ensure Compliance

Mobile device use is becoming more commonplace in health care. Health care professionals use text messaging to communicate with each other about patient status. Medical schools now provide residents tablets to use as...more

First OCR Settlement Involving a “Small” Breach Focuses on Mobile Device Security

In what is best understood as a follow-up to both the recent settlement with MEEI and the release of its mobile device security guidance, HHS OCR recently released details of a settlement reached with the Hospice of Northern...more

De-Identifying Protected Health Information: OCR Issues Long-Awaited Guidance

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is intended to protect individually identifiable health information by limiting its use and disclosure. But the Privacy Rule expressly permits the de-identification of that information, and in doing so...more

Reminder Annual OCR Breach Reporting is Due March 1, 2013

The breach notification interim final rule requires covered entities to submit to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notice of breaches of unsecured protected health information (PHI) (45 C.F.R. 164.408) by March 1, 2013....more

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