Office of Civil Rights Healthcare

News & Analysis as of

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

Internet-Based Document Sharing Applications Scrutinized

On July 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (SEMC) located in Boston, Massachusetts entered into an agreement following an investigation...more

OCR Settlement with Massachusetts Hospital Over HIPAA Violations

On July 8, 2015, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”), which enforces federal privacy standards for protected health information (“PHI”), settled an enforcement action...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

Hospital Pays $218,400 to OCR for HIPAA Violations

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (“SEMC”), a tertiary care hospital in Brighton, Massachusetts, has agreed to pay $218,400 to the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to settle alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability...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

A New Era of HIPAA Enforcement

Traditionally, HIPAA enforcement is assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In November 2013, Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General sharply criticized OCR’s...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

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

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