Dept. of Health and Human Services Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health

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

New HIPAA Reports to Congress Shed Light on OCR Enforcement

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued two reports to Congress, as required by the HITECH Act. The compliance report details OCR’s enforcement activities for 2011 and 2012 and...more

OCR Annual Report Highlights Breaches Of Unsecured Protected Health Information

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act ("HITECH") requires Covered Entities and Business Associates to provide notification of breaches of unsecured Protected Health Information. The Department...more

HHS Reports to Congress highlight HIPAA Compliance and Breach Activities

On June 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued two reports to Congress summarizing activities in calendar years 2011 and 2012. The Annual Report to Congress on...more

The ONC’s Health IT Vision Plan: A Building Under Construction

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) released its report “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure” (the “Vision Plan”) last week to help...more

Health Law Alert: HIPAA Enforcement on the Rise, as OCR Audit Program Moves Forward

A recent settlement from New York—involving the largest fine levied to date in the history of HIPAA enforcement, a staggering $4.8 million imposed on two public hospitals—should remind health care providers, health plans and...more

DHHS Gearing Up to Begin HIPAA Audits of Business Associates

The office of US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recentlyannounced plans to perform "pre-audit" HIPAA compliance surveys of 800 Covered Entities and 400 Business Associates. Under the...more

Get Ready! HHS OCR Announces Next Round of HIPAA Audits

To combat new risks associated with rapidly evolving health information technology, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act...more

HIPAA Audits Set to Begin in 2014: Another Enforcement Mechanism for HIPAA Compliance

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to launch its long-awaited HIPAA audit program sometime in 2014. The audit program will be run by HHS’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which is likely eager to get...more

Covered Entity Fined $150,000 For Stolen Unencrypted Thumb Drive

HHS recently announced that it fined a dermatology practice $150,000 for failing to reasonably safeguard an unencrypted thumb drive and failing to conduct an accurate and thorough risk analysis of electronic PHI....more

HHS Announces First HIPAA Settlement Based on Lack of Breach Notification Policies and Procedures

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the first settlement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) based on violations of the law's privacy, security,...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

Looking At The Past To Predict The Future Of HIPAA/HITECH Enforcement

2013 was a busy year for the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). On January 17, 2013, HHS issued its Final Omnibus Rule, substantially modifying the Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules promulgated by the...more

Settlement Reached Regarding Dermatology Practice’s HIPAA Violation

Adult and Pediatric Dermatology (A&P Dermatology) of Concord, Massachusetts has entered into a resolution agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance...more

Providers: Prepare Your Breach Notification Policy!

On December 26, 2013, Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, a dermatology practice located in Massachusetts, agreed to pay a $150,000 fine after it lost an unencrypted thumb drive containing over 2,000 patients’ health records, and...more

HHS Gives A Thumbs Down For Stolen Thumb Drive

On December 26, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS) announced that it had reached an agreement with a Northeastern dermatology practice to settle potential HIPAA violations...more

Medical practice agrees to payment due to HIPAA data breach

One day after Christmas, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that a Massachusetts-based dermatology practice (Practice) agreed to a $150,000 payment and entered into a...more

HHS Closes Out 2013 with 6th Resolution Agreement

Throughout 2013, HHS OCR has stated that covered entities of all sizes need to give priority to securing ePHI. In addition, HHS OCR has recommended that covered entities identify and mitigate risks before an incident occurs....more

On the First Day of Privacy, The OCR Gave to Me...

Welcome to our series, “The 12 Days of Privacy” as we look to “gifts” that may be received this season and some of the big issues ahead …. Day One – - HIPAA 2014 – Where will the Audit Trail Lead? The year 2013...more

HHS Delays NPP Amendment Requirement for Laboratories Regulated Under CLIA

Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, a Covered Entity is required to revise its notice of privacy practices (“NPP”) where there is a material change to any of its privacy policies. The HIPAA/HITECH Omnibus Final Rule (the “Omnibus...more

Refill Reminder Exception to the Privacy Rule Created by the HITECH Act

The passing of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) resulted in multiple changes regarding existing protection of protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance...more

Hearing to Address HIPAA Accounting of Disclosures

The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee’s Privacy and Security Tiger Team will hold a virtual, public hearing on Monday, September 30 from 11:45 a.m. to...more

It's Never Too Late To Give Guidance: OCR Starts Releasing HIPAA Omnibus Rule Guidance In Anticipation Of September 23 Compliance...

This has been a busy week for the Department of Health and Human Services / Office for Civil Rights (HHS/OCR). It has started releasing guidance on various provisions of the Omnibus HIPAA final rule (the "Final Rule") in...more

Days Before Enforcement Date OCR Issues New Guidance

Just days before the September 23, 2013 enforcement date for the new HITECH Act Omnibus rules, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights has published several new guidance tools and documents. On...more

HHS Office of Civil Rights Releases Several Model Notices of Privacy Practices

The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently released several versions of a model Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) for use by covered entity health plans and health care providers. The notices have been written specifically...more

HHS To Revamp Limits On Payments To Pharmacies For Refill Reminder Programs

The HIPAA Privacy Regulations have long required covered entities to seek a patient authorization in order to use or disclose protected health information ("PHI") for marketing purposes. However, the Office for Civil Rights...more

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