Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Office of Civil Rights

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1996 to provide greater protection for individual's medical information and prescribe standards for the... more +
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1996 to provide greater protection for individual's medical information and prescribe standards for the manner in which healthcare professionals gather, use, and maintain health information.  less -
News & Analysis as of

Back to School – HIPAA 101

After a summer that saw major data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management and UCLA Health System, this fall is a great time to take your organization back to school on HIPAA compliance and data security. Here are...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

OCR Settlement with Massachusetts Hospital Over HIPAA Violations

On July 8, 2015, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”), which enforces federal privacy standards for protected health information (“PHI”), settled an enforcement action...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

Hospital Pays $218,400 to OCR for HIPAA Violations

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (“SEMC”), a tertiary care hospital in Brighton, Massachusetts, has agreed to pay $218,400 to the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to settle alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability...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

Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best: Why You Must Have a HIPAA Risk Assessment

When the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) auditor drops by your health facility to ensure that you are complying with HIPAA, one thing is for certain: he will be asking to see your Risk Assessment. Do you have one? Is it...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

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

Healthcare Fraud Initiatives in 2015

In order to predict what 2015 will look like in the war against health care fraud, it is necessary to quickly review what happened in 2014. In 2014, the government’s health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts...more

OCR Launches Phase 2 HIPAA Audit Program with Pre-Audit Screening Surveys

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) covered entities have reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently sent pre-audit screening surveys...more

OCR Announces Settlement and Corrective Action Plan with Pharmacy Stemming from Alleged Violations

On April 24, 2015, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) once again stressed the importance of properly disposing of protected health information (“PHI”) when it announced its settlement and corrective action plan with...more

Pharmacy Settles HIPAA Investigation for $125,000

On April 22, 2015, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) entered into its first HIPAA violation settlement in 2015. The settlement requires Cornell Prescription Pharmacy, a small pharmacy located in the Denver area to pay the OCR...more

Blog: Updated Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Information Released by ONC and OCR

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in collaboration with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released its new updated guidance for the privacy and security of electronic...more

Delays Continue for OCR’s 2015 HIPAA Audits

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) continues to delay implementation of Phase 2 of its HIPAA Audit Program (“Phase 2”), which will build on OCR’s pilot audit program that concluded in...more

OCR Transmits Pre-Audit Screening Surveys to Covered Entities for Phase 2 HIPAA Compliance Audits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently transmitted HIPAA pre-audit screening surveys to covered entities that may be selected for a second phase of HIPAA compliance audits...more

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