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

No More Excuses: Encrypt Your Laptops or Pay Big $

Two companies were hit with fines equaling a total of almost $2 million to settle alleged Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations involving stolen, unencrypted laptops, the U.S. Department of...more

To Encrypt or Not to Encrypt—A $2 Million Question with a Simple Answer, HHS Says

The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) just announced a pair of settlements arising out of the theft of two laptops containing protected health information (“PHI”). Two entities, Concentra Health Services...more

Minimum Necessary and the Breach Standard

When the new HITECH rules came out OCR specifically said, “...uses or disclosures that impermissibly involve more than the minimum necessary information...may qualify as breaches.” But what exactly is the minimum necessary...more

Treating Mental Illness? Special Privacy Considerations Apply to Healthcare Providers

Decisions and unresolved questions about when and how to share information about mental illness treatment continue to make headlines. A variety of groups, including health care providers, law enforcement and mental health...more

OCR Announces the Results from it's Pilot Audit and it's Plans For Next Year

The Office of Civil Rights Audit Pilot Program has come to an end with 115 audits, primarily in person, having been completed. The Pilot Program had multiple revelations in privacy, some of which were probably, not so...more

HIPAA Impaired Providers and the ER - What Happens When Your Employee Becomes Your Patient?

I was speaking this week at IAHIMA’s Annual Conference on the issues relating to HIPAA audits and recent updates from OCR and ONC. As part of my program we typically solicit questions prior to the presentation, most of which...more

Free HIPAA Help

Health care providers, health plans, business associates, and other entities affected by the federal HIPAA privacy and security regulations are quickly running out of excuses for not having a robust HIPAA compliance program...more

OCR Releases Information on What Phase 2 HIPAA Audits Will Look Like

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently presented information about the new look of its Phase 2 audit program. The new audits will look little like the old ones, with OCR conducting the audits itself and focusing on...more

New Round of HIPAA Audits To Begin Later This Year

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced it will resume its HIPAA compliance audit program — launched as a pilot program in 2012 — on a permanent basis in 2014. In...more

Hot Off the Press: Tool to Help Providers Conduct Security Risk Assessments

What’s Happening? The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in collaboration with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently released a jointly developed tool designed to assist...more

HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool Released by HHS

HIPAA security risk assessment (SRA) tool was recently made available through HHS. The tool was developed as a collaborative effort between the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC),...more

OCR Clarifies Permitted Disclosures, Including Mental Health Care

The disclosure of mental health records and other disclosure-related issues tends to be less than clear for providers in their efforts to comply with the federal privacy rules. Such issues relate to appropriate disclosures to...more

OCR to Resume HIPAA Audits. Get Ready Now!

In a Feb. 24 notice in the Federal Register, the HHS's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced its intention to resume its HIPAA Audit Program. By and large, the audit program has been inactive since December 2012, when OCR...more

Compliance is No Joke: OCR Releases Security Risk Assessment Tool

On March 28, 2014, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced the release of an online and iPad app-based security risk assessment (SRA) tool. The tool is intended to help health care providers in small to medium sized...more

HHS's New Security Risk Tool for HIPAA Compliance

On March 28, 2014, the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in conjunction with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), released a Security Risk Assessment tool (SRA tool) to assist...more

Government Releases New Tool to Assist with HIPAA Security Rule Risk Assessments

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), in collaboration with the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Office of General Counsel (OGC), released a new security risk assessment (SRA)...more

OCR Preparing For Next Round of HIPAA Audits

In a February 24, 2014 notice published in the Federal Register, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a pre-audit survey of HIPAA covered entities and business associates. The information collected will...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

Health Care Law Alert: Skagit County Fined $215,000 for HIPAA Violations

Skagit County in northwest Washington state has been fined $215,000 for violations of the HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification rules. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights...more

OCR Settles Potential HIPAA Violations with County Government for $215,000

To start 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued its first resolution agreement of the year and its first settlement with a county government – signaling that even local...more

HIPAA Housekeeping - Don't Forget Your Annual Report of Small Breaches

If you are a "covered entity" under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") and suffer a breach of protected health information, one of your first reactions should be to count the number of affected...more

HHS Extends Patient Access To Laboratories

On February 6, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Final Rule amending regulations implementing the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and the Health Insurance...more

CMS Finalizes HIPAA and CLIA Amendments Intended to Increase Patient Access to Test Results

Yesterday the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finally published the long-awaited final rule amending the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and the Health Insurance Portability and...more

Foundations in HIPAA - Building Blocks of Health Law

Recent enforcement actions and the new Omnibus Rule implementing several HITECH obligations highlighted the need for a new look at HIPAA obligations for covered entities and now business associates. HITECH not only raised the...more

Be Prepared – HIPAA Audits are Coming in 2014

Later this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) is expected to launch its permanent HIPAA Audit Program. The HIPAA Audit Program is authorized under Section 13411 of the HITECH Act, and is designed to...more

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