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

Is Ransomware a Notifiable Data Breach Event?

There is no doubt that companies face unprecedented volume and variation in both disruptive and intrusive cyberattacks on their networks. Among the different attack methodologies today, ransomware is quickly becoming a major...more

Two Multi-Million Dollar HIPAA Settlements Emphasize Importance of a Comprehensive Security Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced two settlements of more than $2 million each with respect to alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and...more

Health Update - July 2016

The Vulnerability of Healthcare Information - According to a report the Brookings Institute issued in May 2016, 23% of all data breaches occur in the healthcare industry. Nearly 90% of healthcare organizations had some...more

Boosts in Ransomware Attacks Spark Multiple Government Agency Responses

Following a recent U.S. government interagency report indicating that, on average, there has been an alarming 300 percent spike in daily ransomware attacks since early 2016 as compared with 2015, the U.S. Department of Health...more

Unplanned EHR Disruptions–Common for Hospitals

The prevalence of ransomware attacks is increasing. In fact, “[o]n average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016,” according to a recent interagency government report. Given this...more

University of Mississippi Medical Center settles HIPAA violations for $2.75M

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has obtained another big settlement from a covered entity resulting from a data breach. This most recent settlement of fines and penalties and a Resolution Agreement is with the University of...more

OCR Makes It Official: Ransomware Attacks Are HIPAA Breaches

Ransomware attacks appear to be increasing in frequency as well as severity. Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts data until a ransom is paid to the hacker. For healthcare providers, the inability to access...more

HHS Releases Guidance On Ransomware And HIPAA

On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) published new guidance on the how HIPAA applies to ransomware prevention and attacks. Specifically, the guidance lays out...more

HHS: Ransomware Attacks Can Trigger Reporting Requirements

On July 11, 2016, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released new HIPAA guidance regarding ransomware. The Fact Sheet, issued by OCR on July 11, covers various issues relating to ransomware, including reporting...more

OCR’s Recent $2.7 Million Settlement with Oregon Health & Science University Highlights the Importance of HIPAA Compliance...

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) recently entered into a resolution agreement to settle potential violations of HIPAA’s Privacy and...more

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

Report Warns Providers of HIPAA Violations When Responding to Negative Online Reviews

ProPublica, a public interest investigative newsroom, recently identified more than 3,500 one-star medical reviews on Yelp in which patients complained about privacy issues. ProPublica determined that “in dozens of instances,...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

OCR Announces First HIPAA Enforcement Action against a Business Associate

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced an agreement with Catholic Health Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling allegations that CHCS violated the Health...more

Client Alert - The Government Makes a Business Associate Pay: What HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates Can Learn from...

The government has entered into its first settlement with a HIPAA business associate, including a $650,000.00 monetary penalty, ushering in a new period of enforcement for third parties who use Protected Health Information...more

HHS: Ransomware Attacks Likely HIPAA Breaches In Absence of Encryption

On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a Fact Sheet that provides guidance on (i) how HIPAA Security Rule compliance can assist health care organizations combat ransomware attacks, and...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

Ransomware Attacks on ePHI May Be a Data Breach Under HIPAA

On July 11, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) at the Department of Health and Human Services issued new HIPAA guidance regarding the growing epidemic of malicious computer software known as “ransomware”....more

Breach of ePHI Results in $2.7 Million Fine

Oregon Health & Science University (“OHSU”) has paid $2.7 million to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to settle allegations that it violated the Health Insurance Portability...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

Oregon Health & Science University pays $2.7M penalty for data breaches

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has agreed to settle alleged HIPAA violations involving two separate data breaches with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for $2.7 million. In the span of three months in 2013,...more

Recent Enforcement Action: Business Associates Not Off the Hook

Despite the fact that Business Associates have been directly subject to and liable under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations (HIPAA) since February 18, 2010 the...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

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