Patient Privacy Rights

News & Analysis as of

Facebook, Healthcare Provider Websites and HIPAA

In a class action Complaint filed in the Northern District of California on March 15, 2016, Kiesel Law LLP, on behalf of primary plaintiff Winston Smith and a potential class of others, alleges that Facebook received...more

Two Additional HIPAA Settlements Demonstrate Breadth of HIPAA Enforcement Activity

During the week of April 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced two significant settlements with a large New York City hospital and a North Carolina orthopaedic...more

Lights, Camera, Settlement: OCR says a picture is worth $2.2 million

A New York hospital has settled with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) for $2.2 million after allowing a TV crew for the ABC documentary series “NY Med” to film patients...more

Not Everyone Wants to Be on TV

It turns out that not everyone wants to be on television. New York-Presbyterian found that out the hard way. Back in 2011 the hospital allowed a television camera crew inside treatment areas to record footage for the...more

Proposed Changes to the Part 2 Regulations: Another Example of Necessary Flexibility in the Wake of Changes to Health Care...

On February 9, 2016, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a proposed rule to update and modernize the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations governing...more

Latest "Ransomware" Attack Affects Hospital Data – How Secure Are Your Patient Data?

Several high-profile attacks on health insurance companies and health systems have taught us that health care entities are vulnerable to hackers, who hope to make substantial profit on pilfered health information. The recent...more

Will "Open Source" be the Future of Genetic Diagnostics?

One of the effective arguments made by the ACLU in the AMP v. Myriad case was that somehow permitting patents on genes implicated a patient's privacy right in her genetic material. This was also the theme of their public...more

Social Media for Physicians: Facebook or Faceplant?

Ever hear the one about the physician in an impaired provider program who appears in a Flickr photo with a martini in hand? How about the one about the physician's office manager who makes a comment on a patient's Facebook...more

Beware of Violating Patient Privacy Laws in Bankruptcy Claim Filings

Recent court filings highlight the need for health care providers to protect patient privacy by implementing specific procedures when filing claims in bankruptcy cases of their patients, as a matter of federal bankruptcy and...more

Provider Confusion and Interoperability Concerns Prompt OCR and ONC to Release Guidance on PHI Sharing

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (“ONC”) and the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) released two fact sheets regarding permitted uses and disclosures...more

SAMHSA Proposes Major Changes to Federal Substance Abuse Privacy Rule

On February 9, 2016, almost thirty years after the last substantive change to the federal regulations governing the confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services...more

A sick use of cellphone pics, social media: staffers’ abuse of aged patients

Not all care-giving positions carry high status or lavish compensation. Still, why would anyone take on any health care work lacking basic common sense and the tiniest bit of compassion? That’s what you might be asking after...more

You Can’t Take It with You – NY Attorney General Reaches Settlement over Exiting Clinician Taking Patient List

It may not be a big dollar amount ($15,000), but a recent New York Attorney General settlement represents a big issue—interpreting that HIPAA prohibits a health care professional who is changing practices from taking a...more

PHI on the Cloud and White Label Covered Entities: HIPAA Challenges for Telemedicine Providers

Both telemedicine providers and technology companies that serve the telehealth industry face some unique and sometimes complicated challenges dealing with HIPAA, especially as it relates to the storage, transmission, and use...more

Connecticut AG Enforces HIPAA Privacy Rules Against Hospital and its Business Associate

Last week, the Connecticut Attorney General’s office announced that it had entered into a settlement agreement with the Hartford Hospital and its business associate vendor, the EMC Corporation (EMC), to resolve claims arising...more

Lab tech indicted for identity theft

A lab tech working at a Las Vegas pediatric cardiology practice has been indicted on one count of illegal use and disclosure of patient health information and one count of aggravated identity theft. The lab tech had...more

DWT Releases Latest Health Care Breach Charts

Safeguarding patient information is at the core of responsibilities for health care entities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). But safeguarding patient information isn’t just a regulatory...more

Health Alert (Australia) - November 9, 2015

In This Issue: -Judgments; Legislation; and Reports -Excerpt from Judgments Queensland 13 October 2015 - Chaudhry v Medical Board of Australia [2015] QCAT 414 The Queensland Civil and...more

Mental health center hacked

Not-for-profit mental health center Emergence Health Network, located in El Paso, Texas, has announced that its computer servers were compromised “through an unauthorized internet connection” from as far back as 2012....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

Data-Harvesting Zombie Hackers, Blood-Thirsty Auditors, and Other Reasons to be Scared on Halloween

This Halloween, the scariest monsters might not be in your closet or under your bed. They may be overseas, orchestrating intrusions into your electronic medical record. Or they may be lurking in your own workforce, carrying...more

HHS’ Selection of Contractor Provides Latest Update on Impending Second Round of HIPAA Audits

On October 27, 2015, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) official stated that the agency has hired FCi Federal, a provider of management and professional services to government agencies in Ashburn, VA, to...more

The Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner is seeking comments on a series of new draft health privacy resources

Health information is highly sensitive and Australia's privacy law extends to health information a higher level of protection than other forms of personal information. Yet the existing health privacy guidance in Australia is...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

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