Office of Civil Rights Compliance

News & Analysis as of

Title IX Implications of the O'Bannon Decision

The recent federal appellate decision in O'Bannon v. NCAA may have profound implications for colleges obligated to ensure gender equity in athletics under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). In the...more

OCR portal designed for medical mobile app developers

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services has launched a web based portal so medical mobile app developers can ask their “burning” questions about HIPAA compliance....more

Privacy, Security, Risk: What You Missed At IAPP Conference

Earlier this month, privacy and security professionals from around the globe gathered for “Privacy. Security. Risk. 2015”—the second joint conference between the International Association of Privacy Professionals and the...more

HIPAA Fine Underscores OCR’s Focus on Physician Group Compliance

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced a $750,000 fine and resolution agreement, including a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), for Cancer Care Group, P.C. (CCG), a...more

OIG Reports Insufficient Oversight Of HIPAA Compliance

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) must improve its oversight and enforcement of patient information privacy and security rules by “covered entities” and their business associates under the Health Information Portability...more

Is Your HIPAA Compliance Program Ready for the FTC?

Everyone in healthcare knows that the next round of HIPAA audits is coming. Covered entities and business associates have long been advised to review and update their HIPAA security risk analyses, have business associate...more

OIG report spurs OCR to announce phase 2 audits

On September 29, it was revealed that the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will commence Phase 2 of its HIPAA audit program in “early 2016.” OCR’s revelation regarding the Phase 2 audits, which had been the subject of...more

OIG Calls for Stronger HIPAA Compliance Efforts

The OIG has issued two reports calling for stronger ONC oversight of covered entity compliance with HIPAA standards. In the first report, “OCR Should Strengthen Its Oversight of Covered Entities’ Compliance with the HIPAA...more

Reports Instruct Office of Civil Rights to Increase HIPAA Enforcement Activities

On September 29, 2015, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two reports that reviewed the Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The...more

OCR announces launch of Phase 2 of HIPAA audits

Although the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has indicated in the past that it would start its next round of HIPAA audits, apparently it means business now. In the wake of an Inspector General report that the OCR was merely...more

SEC’s Increased Cybersecurity Enforcement and How to Reduce Your Risks

The SEC announced last week that an investment adviser had agreed to settle charges that it failed to take required steps to protect against and respond effectively to a cybersecurity breach. The action comes on the heels of...more

HHS Proposes Rules for Nondiscrimination in Health Care

On September 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) proposed new regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Section 1557 prohibits...more

Don’t Wait for It; Recent HIPAA Enforcement Action Signal More to Come in Phase 2 Audits

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) have recently selected a vendor to conduct the second wave of HIPAA audits. These so-called “Phase 2 Audits” are set to commence...more

OCR Enters into $750,000 Settlement with Physician Practice for HIPAA Violations

On September 2, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced a settlement with Cancer Care Group, P.C., a thirteen-physician oncology practice in Indiana related to violations of the...more

OCR settlement reiterates importance of proactive security rule compliance

On September 2, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that Cancer Care Group, P.C. (CCG), a physician practice located in Indiana, agreed to pay $750,000 as part of a settlement to resolve...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

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

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

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

“Enough is Enough” Legislation Becomes Law: New York Education Law Article 129-B Establishes New Requirements for New York State...

On July 7, 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation that will, once again, change the way public and private colleges and universities in New York (“higher education institutions”) must respond to...more

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