Office of Civil Rights Healthcare

News & Analysis as of

A Year in Review: Key HIPAA Settlement Agreements by HHS’s Office for Civil Rights

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights had another busy year in 2014. More resolution agreements were signed by HHS and Covered Entities than in the previous year, and several Covered...more

Healthcare Fraud Initiatives in 2015

In order to predict what 2015 will look like in the war against health care fraud, it is necessary to quickly review what happened in 2014. In 2014, the government’s health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts...more

OCR Announces Settlement and Corrective Action Plan with Pharmacy Stemming from Alleged Violations

On April 24, 2015, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) once again stressed the importance of properly disposing of protected health information (“PHI”) when it announced its settlement and corrective action plan with...more

Blog: Updated Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Information Released by ONC and OCR

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in collaboration with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released its new updated guidance for the privacy and security of electronic...more

Delays Continue for OCR’s 2015 HIPAA Audits

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) continues to delay implementation of Phase 2 of its HIPAA Audit Program (“Phase 2”), which will build on OCR’s pilot audit program that concluded in...more

Meaningful Use Stage 3 Proposed Rule: Security Risk Analysis and Patient Access

Where HIPAA and Meaningful Use intersect, does the newly released Meaningful Use Stage 3 proposed rule provide greater clarity or create more confusion? As discussed in our earlier advisory, the Meaningful Use Stage 3...more

HIPAA and “Meaningful Use” Audits: Issues to Consider and How to Prepare

As more and more providers adopt electronic health records (“EHRs”) systems (and with new regulations concerning their required use for purposes of Medicare billing for chronic care management, their popularity can only...more

HIPAA in the Time of Ebola

Ebola has recently been the source of much concern, and health care providers and hospitals are taking steps to prepare themselves for the possibility of treating patients with Ebola. In addition to all of the medical...more

Ebola or Not, Patient Privacy Must Be Protected: Office for Civil Rights Issues Bulletin on HIPAA Requirements in Emergency...

In the wake of the recent Ebola cases, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a new bulletin reminding HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates that the...more

Starting Oct. 6, Patients Can Access Test Reports Directly From Clinical Laboratories

On Oct. 6, 2014, a final rule issued jointly by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will require all HIPAA-covered labs...more

OCR Reveals Information about Upcoming HIPAA Audits

At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (“HIMSS”) Privacy and Security Forum this week, health information privacy senior advisor for the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) Linda Sanches revealed certain...more

HIPAA Violations Will Soon Be More Expensive

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) intends to use higher fines and a new round of audits to send a strong message to the healthcare industry about complying with the Health Insurance Portability and...more

HIPAA Violation Results in $4.8 Million Settlement

While most healthcare providers know to pay close attention to the HIPAA rules when setting up their information technology systems, recent events have demonstrated that this close scrutiny should also be applied to computer...more

New HIPAA Reports to Congress Shed Light on OCR Enforcement

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued two reports to Congress, as required by the HITECH Act. The compliance report details OCR’s enforcement activities for 2011 and 2012 and...more

D’oh! OCR Confirms that Medical Records Should Not be Left in the Driveway

The most recent Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) HIPAA enforcement action serves as an important reminder to health care providers of the security risks associated with a mishandled medical records custody transfer and the...more

Failure to Encrypt Mobile Devices = Nearly $2 Million in Settlements

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settled for the collective amount of $1,975,220 with Concentra Health Services (Concentra) and QCA Health Plan, Inc. (QCA). The settlements stem...more

“Cha-Ching” – HIPAA Settlement Reaches New Heights and Signals More To Come

In the largest HIPAA enforcement action to date, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) extracted $4.8 million from two leading New York institutions, New York-Presbyterian Hospital...more

New York Hospitals to Pay Record $4.8 Million for HIPAA Data Breach

In the largest Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) settlement to date, two New York hospitals have agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle allegations that they failed to secure thousands of patients’...more

HHS OCR Settles Post-Data Breach Investigation for Record $4.8M

On May 7, 2014, HHS OCR announced a pair of resolution agreements with New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) and Columbia University (CU) totaling $4.8 million dollars—the highest settlement amount to date. These resolution...more

The Downside To Sharing – Two Hospitals To Pay Largest HIPAA Fine Yet

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") announced the largest settlement to date under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"). New...more

Physical Therapy Provider Enters into HIPAA Settlement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced yet another enforcement action. Specifically, OCR opened a compliance review of Concentra Health Services (Concentra) upon...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

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