Dept. of Health and Human Services Business Associates

The United States Department of Health and Human Services is a federal executive department established in 1953, as part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The Agency became independent in 1980... more +
The United States Department of Health and Human Services is a federal executive department established in 1953, as part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The Agency became independent in 1980 and was renamed The Department of Health and Human Services at that time. HHS is charged with protecting and improving the health of the American population, as well as providing essential services.    less -
News & Analysis as of

HHS OCR Guidance on Ransomware Attacks: They Constitute a “Security Incident” and Are Likely a Data Breach

On July 11, 2016, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance on HIPAA covered entities’ responsibilities in a ransomware attack, a type of cyber-attack that has targeted the health care sector extensively in...more

Ransomware Attack is a Breach – Unless You Can Prove Otherwise

Ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat in the United States, targeting simple home computers to elaborate corporate IT networks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently reported an increase in ransomware...more

Regulatory Authorities Launch The Second Phase Of The HIPAA Compliance Audit Program

As a part of its continued efforts to assess compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for...more

The Long Anticipated HIPAA Audits Are Here!

Phase 2 HIPAA Audits, which the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") announced had "launched" back in March of this year, have now officially begun. On Monday, July 11, 2016, the first round...more

OCR Issues New Guidance on Ransomware and HIPAA

In response to a rising number of ransomware attacks on healthcare systems, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued new ransomware guidance on the HIPAA obligations of...more

OCR Begins HIPAA Phase 2 Audits

What covered entities and business associates can do to prepare for the next round of audits. On July 11, the HIPAA Phase 2 audits commenced when 167 covered entities received notice of a desk audit from the Department...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

OCR Announces New HIPAA Guidance on Ransomware

In response to the increasing prevalence of ransomware cyber-attacks by hackers on electronic health information systems in hospitals and medical practices, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil...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

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

HHS Brings Landmark HIPAA Enforcement Action Against a Business Associate for Alleged Data Security Failures

On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a Resolution Agreement with Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling charges that CHCS failed to...more

Business Associates Beware: First HIPAA Settlement with Business Associate

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has entered into a Resolution Agreement with a business associate over allegations that it potentially violated the Health...more

Business Associate Enters Into Mid Six-Figure HIPAA Settlement

On June 30, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that a business associate providing management services to nursing homes in the Philadelphia, Pa. region agreed to...more

HIPAA Enforcement on the Rise

After a number of years of little HIPAA enforcement activity, the tides appear to be turning. From September 2015 through April 2016, HIPAA settlements have averaged more than one a month. The dollar amounts involved are...more

HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance for Mobile Health Apps

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued guidance to help mobile application developers analyze whether the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) may apply to them....more

HHS Releases HIPAA Privacy and Security Audit Guidelines as it Starts its Second Round of Audits and Continues Enforcement Efforts

During April 2016 the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) posted lengthy audit guidelines for HIPAA Privacy and Security on its website (over 400 pages). As HHS starts its audits of health care providers, health...more

Check Your Inbox: OCR Continues to Verify Entity Contact Information for Phase 2 HIPAA Audits

Covered Entities need to continue to check their inboxes for emails from the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) requesting verification of contact information in connection with Phase 2 of the HIPAA Audit Program. OCR...more

Coming Soon to Your Inbox! Phase 2 of OCR's Audit Program for HIPAA Compliance

On March 21, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it was ready to begin Phase 2 of its audit program for HIPAA compliance, which will include auditing...more

Health Law Wire: Recent HIPAA Settlements Highlight the Importance of Business Associate Agreements (5/16)

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services that enforces the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, recently sent a clear message about the importance of business...more

Settlements reached for PHI Disclosures

In the last two months, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced two settlement agreements involving the disclosure of protected health information ("PHI"). In both instances, the health care...more

Two Additional HIPAA Settlements Demonstrate Breadth of HIPAA Enforcement Activity

During the week of April 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced two significant settlements with a large New York City hospital and a North Carolina orthopaedic...more

Department of Health and Human Services Cracks Down on Vendor Oversight in Recent Hospital Settlements

From the rise in ransomware attacks to inadvertent disclosure of information by subcontractors, the health services industry is reminded that a potential consequence of a data breach is the threat of a regulatory enforcement...more

Not a Check-the-Box Exercise: Failure to Have Signed BAA Results in Substantial Fine

A group practice that was the victim of a silver-harvesting scam has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) $750,000 to settle charges that it released protected health information (“PHI”) of...more

The Audit Protocol is Released, and Other Updated HIPAA Audits News

As we previously reported, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched Phase II of its audit program on March 21. Since that time, a significant amount of new information has emerged, including details regarding the...more

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Advisory: So You Heard About HIPAA Phase 2 Audits. What Should You Do Now?

As you may have recently read (for example, “HHS/OCR Announces Launch of HIPAA Audit Program Phase 2”), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has started “Phase 2” of its audit...more

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