Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights

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

$3.2M Fine for Failure to Protect Electronic Records

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) fined a Texas hospital $3.2 million for its impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information (ePHI) and non-compliance...more

Lessons Gleaned From Recent HIPAA Settlements: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: How Recent OCR Enforcement...

HIPAA enforcement has been on the rise during the last several years, and the dollar impact of those settlements has continued to grow significantly. The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR)...more

$5.5 Million HIPAA Settlement Underscores Importance of Audit Controls

On February 16, 2017, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) disclosed a $5.5 million settlement with Memorial Healthcare Systems (MHS) for HIPAA violations affecting the protected health information (PHI) of 115,143...more

$5.5 Million HIPAA Settlement Matches Largest Payment To-Date

On February 16, 2017, the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that Memorial Healthcare Systems of Florida (“MHS”) agreed to pay $5.5 million and enter into a...more

Want to Know Why Memorial Healthcare Systems Is Paying HHS OCR $5.5 Million?

On February 16, 2017, HHS OCR announced that Memorial Healthcare Systems (MHS) had paid the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $5.5 million to settle potential violations of HIPAA’s Privacy and Security Rules...more

HIPAA Enforcement Update (October 2016 – January 2017)

Since October 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced four settlement agreements to resolve allegations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)...more

HIPAA Small Breach Notification Due March 1: “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb” if You Submit Timely

March 1, 2017 is the date by which HIPAA covered entities must notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of “small” breaches of unsecured protected health information that were...more

Hospital pays $3.2M Resulting from HIPAA Security Rule Noncompliance

In one of the last health care related acts of President Obama’s administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), imposed a multimillion-dollar HIPAA civil money penalty (CMP)...more

Lack of Timely Action and Knowledge of Risk Results in $3.2 Million Civil Monetary Penalty for HIPAA Violations

Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (Children’s) was hit with a $3.2 million civil penalty from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for failing to take steps to properly protect...more

HHS Reaches $2.2 Million Settlement With Life Insurance Company For Impermissible Disclosure Of ePHI

On January 18, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“HHS OCR”) announced that it had agreed to a $2.2 million settlement with MAPFRE Life Assurance Company of Puerto Rico (“MAPFRE Life”),...more

Key HIPAA Settlement Agreements by HHS’s Office for Civil Rights in 2015 & 2016

The last time this blog presented an overview of key HIPAA settlement agreements at the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was a review of 2014. The number of complaints that year had...more

What Did They Say About Cybersecurity in 2016? 8 Proclamations from Regulators and the Courts

There is no such thing as compliance with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (FTC). In September, the FTC dispelled a commonly held misconception regarding the NIST Framework: It “is not, and isn’t intended to be, a standard or...more

Tracking the Data Bandits

In the iconic western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch and Sundance are hard pressed to evade a posse led by the semi-mythical lawman, Joe Lefors, who is so adept that he manages to track them across solid rock. The...more

AGG Food and Drug Newsletter - January 2017

Arnall Golden Gregory LLP's Food and Drug Newsletter is a monthly update of legal and regulatory issues that affect the FDA-regulated community, including regular updates on legislative initiatives from AGG’s Washington, DC...more

Time is Money: HIPAA Enforcement Action for Untimely Breach Notice Settles for $475,000

Many New Year’s Resolutions focus on actions intended to save money and reduce stress. Organizations, especially those in the health care industry, should consider a resolution to review their breach notification procedures...more

HIPAA Breach? Notify Promptly or Face Significant Potential Fines from HHS OCR

On January 9, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR), which enforces the privacy requirements contained in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), announced a...more

HHS Gets Agressive: HIPAA Audits from 2016

HHS has become more aggressive with audits, and with increased penalties, covered entities and business associates simply cannot afford an audit on HIPAA rules and regulations. In March of 2016, HHS's Office for Civil Rights...more

The Price of PHI – A $2.2 Million USB Drive

A stolen unencrypted USB drive led to a $2.2 million settlement and a Resolution Agreement. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced on January 18th a settlement with MAPFRE Life...more

Federal Court Enjoins Part of ACA Final Non-Discrimination Rule

On December 31, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction in Franciscan Alliance, Inc. v. Burwell, N.D. Tex., No. 16-cv-108, holding that portions of the final rule issued...more

Failure to Timely Notify Results in Enforcement Action and Significant Settlement

For the first time, on January 9, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (HHS/OCR) settled a HIPAA enforcement action based on the untimely reporting of a breach of unsecured protected...more

Breach of Privacy Prompts Breach of Etiquette: DHHS Sets New Precedent in Privacy Breach Enforcement

On January 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) took action against a health system for non-timely reporting of a breach of protected health information. It was the first...more

Time is of the Essence When Reporting a Breach of PHI

The failure to timely report a breach of unsecured protected health information (PHI) has cost Presence Health (one of the largest health systems in Illinois) almost half of a million dollars. Earlier this month,...more

Healthcare Provider Obligations For Individuals With Limited English Proficiency

This summer I wrote about the dangers of English-only policies in this age of multiculturalism. These policies tend to emerge more frequently in the healthcare workplace, the reason being – the provision of quality care is...more

Portions of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act Enjoined by Texas Federal Court – Majority of Regulation Remains Intact.

In May 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) issued a Final Rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Section 1557 prohibits “covered...more

Looking Back at the HIPAA Resolution Agreements in 2016

In 2016, Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the enforcement arm for HIPAA, continued robust enforcement efforts. There were 12 reported resolution agreements (RA) in 2016. An RA is a settlement...more

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