News & Analysis as of

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

HIPAA and Jason Pierre-Paul’s Medical Chart – Setting the Record Straight

Last night, ESPN reporter Adam Schefter tweeted a photo of New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s medical chart, which chart indicated that Pierre Paul had his index finger amputated. The amputation was apparently...more

An Unforgiving NLRB Holds That Protecting Patient Data Under HIPAA Can Still Violate Section 7 Rights

It would make sense that the systems housing patient records at a physician’s office should be protected by a robust duty on the part of the physician’s employees to keep such records confidential. The purpose, of course, is...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

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

$125k HIPAA settlement for small, single-location pharmacy

A settlement announced this week by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) reminds us of the importance of properly disposing of paper medical records. OCR and Cornell Prescription...more

Data Breach Nightmare Scenario: News Affiliate Reports Improper Disposal of Patient Information

A tip from a local Denver news outlet lead to a compliance review, investigation and ultimately a resolution agreement between the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) and Denver-based...more

EEOC Issues Proposed Regulations on Wellness Programs and the ADA

On April 20, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued highly anticipated proposed regulations addressing the application of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to workplace wellness programs. In...more

Physician Practices Be Alert: You Might Be Violating HIPAA If You Produce Medical Records In Response To State Court Subpoenas

Over the past months, my experiences with physician practices have made me realize that many practices do not understand how HIPAA applies to subpoenas for medical records. More worrisome, I suspect that many practices...more

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