Dept. of Health and Human Services Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

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

Impending Deadline: CMS Issues Proposed Rule Reform for Long Term Care Facilities – Part 3 of 4

On July 16, 2015, the Federal Register published Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule to reform the requirements for Long Term Care Facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid. CMS will be...more

HIPAA Security Requirements Aren't Cloudy, Especially to Whistleblowers

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) announced that it had entered into a settlement agreement with St. Elizabeth's Medical Center (SEMC) in Brighton,...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

Internet-Based Document Sharing Applications Scrutinized

On July 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (SEMC) located in Boston, Massachusetts entered into an agreement following an investigation...more

Hospital’s Cloud-Based Document-Sharing Practices Lead to $218,400 HIPAA Settlement

On July 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a substantial settlement with St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (SEMC). Under the terms of the settlement, the hospital...more

Don't Fumble Your HIPAA Obligations: Ensure Your HIPAA Playbook Implements Appropriate Protections for Patients

The injuries suffered by a professional football player brought the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations ("HIPAA") onto center stage of the media during the days...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

Use of File-Sharing Service Leads To $218,400 Fine For HIPAA Violations

Internet-based file-sharing services such as Dropbox and Google Drive can be easy and convenient to use, whether via the touch of an app on a mobile device or by opening a browser on a PC. Healthcare professionals are often...more

Massachusetts Hospital Agrees to Six-Figure Payment Related to HIPAA Compliance Allegations

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (SEMC), a tertiary care hospital based in Brighton, Mass., agreed to pay $218,400 to address deficiencies in its HIPAA compliance activities. The SEMC settlement continues a pattern of...more

OCR Enforcement Trends

On April 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a resolution agreement with Cornell Prescription Pharmacy (CPP) pursuant to which CPP paid a $125,000...more

A New Era of HIPAA Enforcement

Traditionally, HIPAA enforcement is assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In November 2013, Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General sharply criticized OCR’s...more

Upcoming HIPAA Audits May Target Financial Institutions—Here’s How to Prepare

Much like a tornado watch, the conditions appear to be right for a coming storm: the upcoming Phase 2 HIPAA audits. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has begun verifying contact...more

Deeper Dive: Healthcare Incidents Involving More Than 500 Individuals Are Investigated 100 Percent of the Time

We have released the inaugural BakerHostetler Data Security Incident Response Report, which provides insights generated from the review of more than 200 incidents that our attorneys advised on in 2014. The report confirms the...more

HHS Solicits Comments on Use of Health Plan Identifier in E-Health Transactions

Today HHS published a request for public comments regarding the health plan identifier (HPID), including the requirements regarding health plan enumeration, and the requirement to use the HPID in electronic health care...more

Blog: HIPAA FAQ Series: Are Covered Entities and Business Associates Required to Encrypt PHI?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates that both Covered Entities and Business Associates protect the security of Protected Health Information (PHI) in a variety of ways. Specifically,...more

EEOC Proposes Regulatory Clarification on the Application of the ADA to Employer Wellness Program Incentives

Action Item: Employers who already have, or are considering implementing, wellness programs that involve cost-sharing reductions or other financial incentives for participants should carefully review their programs given the...more

EEOC Proposes Wellness Program Rule

In April 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a proposed rule that would amend the regulations and interpretive guidance implementing Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as they...more

New HIPAA Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently released Version 2.0 of its Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information (Guide)....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

OCR Enforcement of HIPAA Affects Entities of all Sizes Small Pharmacy Enters into Latest Settlement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced late last week that Cornell Prescription Pharmacy (Cornell) agreed to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996...more

OCR Announces Another HIPAA Settlement and Warns Not to Forget About Paper Records

On April 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that Cornell Prescription Pharmacy (“Cornell Pharmacy”) had entered into a resolution agreement to settle,...more

HIPAA Rules and Procedures in the Event of a Data Breach, Part Two

My last post focused on the discovery and investigation of a data security breach to determine if breach notification is needed. Today’s post now turns to the requirements of breach notification triggered by a data security...more

OCR Settles Alleged HIPAA Violations with Small, Single Location Pharmacy for $125,000 – Emphases Importance for Secure Disposal...

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced yesterday a new settlement relating to potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996...more

Colorado Compounding Pharmacy Enters Six-Figure Settlement Agreement to Settle Alleged HIPAA Privacy Rule Violations

On April 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Cornell Prescription Pharmacy (CPP), a single-location pharmacy in the Denver, Colo. metropolitan area, agreed to settle alleged HIPAA...more

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