News & Analysis as of

Physicians Must Be Cautious When Responding To A Subpoena or Request for Medical Records

Doctors must educate themselves and particularly their staff on the legal obligations to protect the confidentiality of medical records and how to properly respond to subpoenas and requests for patients’ health information....more

Department of Education Issues New Guidance on Disclosure of Student Medical Records

The Family Policy Compliance Office at the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) recently released "significant guidance" on the application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to the release of...more

Healthcare Records Held Hostage: When ransomware attacks

Imagine for a moment that your hospital or physician practice suddenly cannot access its electronic medical records. There hasn’t been a natural disaster. No, instead you are inexplicably staring at a computer screen from an...more

Protected Health Information: Providers Must Proceed with Caution

Medical records are a powerful weapon in the courtroom. They may reveal the extent of an individual’s injury in a personal injury case or substantiate the severity of an individual’s mental illness when that mental illness is...more

OCR Continues to Emphasize Individuals’ Rights to Access Health Information

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the release of three YouTube videos and an infographic on individuals’ rights to access health information. In...more

OCR Releases Video Guidance on Provision of Medical Records

The summer movie season is now officially in full swing, with the release of three informational videos regarding HIPAA and the right of individuals to access their medical records, published by the Office of Civil Rights of...more

The Paper Trail: The Potential Data-Breach Sitting in your Printer

In April 2016, the sensitive personal medical information of NFL players was stolen from the car of a trainer who had left the files in a backpack in his locked car. In 2014, Safeway, Inc. settled charges brought by the...more

Joint Commission lifts ban on physicians texting patient orders

The Joint Commission, which is the national accrediting organization for health care organizations, has long banned physicians using text messages to place orders for patient care due to data security concerns. In 2011, the...more

SAMHSA Proposes Changes to Substance Use Disorder Treatment Confidentiality Regulations

On February 5, 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) released a long-awaited proposed rule to modify the confidentiality rules that apply to patient identifying information generated by federally...more

New HIPAA Guidance on Patients’ Right to Records and Appropriate Fees for Copies

OCR issued new HIPAA guidance yesterday that reiterates patients’ right to access health information and clarifies appropriate fees providers can charge for copies. In its clarification, OCR emphasized its view that the...more

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back: Proposed Changes to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Confidentiality Rule

On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule putting forth amendments to the Alcohol...more

SAMHSA Proposes Updates to Substance Abuse Records Security and Confidentiality Regulations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released proposed changes to the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records...more

OCR Announces Guidance on Individual's Right to Access Health Information Under HIPAA

On January 7, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services released a fact sheet and the first of a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to explain an individual’s rights under...more

Making it easier to get your own medical records

Getting a copy of your own medical records is supposed to be easy and inexpensive. It also can be essential for ensuring the best medical care. But many hospitals and doctors have made it difficult and pricey, and the federal...more

U.S. must crack down on small but hugely painful patient privacy breaches

Although Americans may live in dread about large-scale data breaches by big corporations, instances in which health care personnel inappropriately peek and tell information from patients’ private medical records can be...more

Confusion Continues Over Medical Identity Theft Victim Rights under HIPAA

In a Nov. 10, 2015 letter, the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Committee on Finance raised concerns with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services...more

Higher Education Highlights - Fall 2015

Risk managers who also happen to be attorneys are not always protected by the attorney-client privilege, according to a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In Casey v. Unitek...more

Are Attorneys Entitled to “HIPAA Rate”?

Over the past year, numerous lawsuits and complaints to the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) have been filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys over a seemingly obscure HIPAA issue – the rate that health care providers and their...more

HIPAA Lessons from the Warner Chilcott Settlement

Last week, the US Attorney’s Office in Boston announced that drug company Warner Chilcott agreed to plead guilty to health care fraud and pay $125 million to resolve criminal and civil liability arising out of allegations...more

EEOC Grapples with Proposed Rule Comments on Wellness Program; Additional Guidance Expected Soon

As we previously reported, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released Proposed Rules on April 16, 2015 to provide guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on permissible employer incentives...more

Comment period extended for NIST Cybersecurity Practice Guide

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced that due to stakeholder feed-back, the period to submit comments for the draft guide, “Securing Electronic Health Records on Mobile Devices” has been extended...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19253 - RBC Nice Bearings, Inc. v. SKF USA, Inc. [An important decision on contract waiver but one all attorneys should recall from the UCC or Contracts course we took...more

Time for a HIPAA Security Check-Up!

The 2015 HIPAA Security conference held by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) kicked off last week with OCR’s...more

Oregon Amends Data Breach Law — Companies Can Expect More Enforcement Actions

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown recently signed into law amendments to the state’s data breach law. These amendments recognize the growing definition of data, expand the role of the Attorney General in addressing data breaches,...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

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