Protected Health Information

News & Analysis as of

Report Summarizes Healthcare Data Breaches in January 2017

Health care data breaches are not slowing. According to a report issued by Protenus, in conjunction with www.databreaches.net, the summary of healthcare data breaches in 2017 continues where 2016 left off. In January...more

Lessons Gleaned From Recent HIPAA Settlements: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: How Recent OCR Enforcement...

HIPAA enforcement has been on the rise during the last several years, and the dollar impact of those settlements has continued to grow significantly. The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR)...more

$5.5 Million HIPAA Settlement Underscores Importance of Audit Controls

On February 16, 2017, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) disclosed a $5.5 million settlement with Memorial Healthcare Systems (MHS) for HIPAA violations affecting the protected health information (PHI) of 115,143...more

What's "Hidden" in the 21st Century Cures Act for Health Care Entities

The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) was signed into law December 13, 2016. While the primary focus of the 996-page Act centered on biomedical innovation, several components of Cures have significant implications for health...more

$5.5 Million HIPAA Settlement Matches Largest Payment To-Date

On February 16, 2017, the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that Memorial Healthcare Systems of Florida (“MHS”) agreed to pay $5.5 million and enter into a...more

Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records - Final Rule Revising Regulations

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a final rule to update and modernize the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records regulations effective February 17, 2017. ...more

New HHS Secretary Delays Effective Date of Part 2 Final Rule

We previously reported that the 30 year old regulations (last updated in 1987) relating to the disclosure of substance abuse treatment information has been updated by SAMHSA to bring it into the modern world of electronic...more

HIPAA for HR - Some Good News for Employers

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that was enacted to ensure protection of individuals’ protected health information (PHI). The Standards for Privacy of Individually...more

Health Care E-Note - Februaury 2017

Ransomware: A Reportable Breach? In the past several years, a huge increase has occurred in the number of electronic attacks in the United States using ransomware, a form of malware that targets and encrypts critical...more

Technical Noncompliance with HIPAA Can Lead to Big Penalties

As discussed in prior client alerts, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the agency charged with HIPAA enforcement, has increased HIPAA compliance initiatives in recent months and is poised to continue its enforcement...more

To Settle or Not to Settle – That Is the Question Raised by Recent HIPAA CMPs

On February 1, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (“Children’s”) has paid a civil monetary penalty (“CMP”) of $3.2 million...more

TortSource: Ransomware: A Reportable Breach?

In the past several years, a huge increase has occurred in the number of electronic attacks in the United States using ransomware, a form of malware that targets and encrypts critical data and systems for the purpose of...more

HIPAA Enforcement Update (October 2016 – January 2017)

Since October 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced four settlement agreements to resolve allegations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)...more

Hospital pays $3.2M Resulting from HIPAA Security Rule Noncompliance

In one of the last health care related acts of President Obama’s administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), imposed a multimillion-dollar HIPAA civil money penalty (CMP)...more

Lack of Timely Action and Knowledge of Risk Results in $3.2 Million Civil Monetary Penalty for HIPAA Violations

Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (Children’s) was hit with a $3.2 million civil penalty from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for failing to take steps to properly protect...more

Children’s Medical Center of Dallas Clobbered by OCR

In a rare move by the OCR, it assessed a $3.2 million fine against Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (Children’s) after it issued a Notice of Proposed Determination against Children’s and Children’s failed to request a...more

Key HIPAA Settlement Agreements by HHS’s Office for Civil Rights in 2015 & 2016

The last time this blog presented an overview of key HIPAA settlement agreements at the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was a review of 2014. The number of complaints that year had...more

Heighten Importance for March 1, 2017 HIPAA Small Breach Reporting Deadline

With OCR’s recent announcement of its first enforcement action for lack of timely breach notification and its increased focus on small breaches, the upcoming annual reporting deadline for small breaches takes on increased...more

OCR settles with MAPFRE for $2.2 Million

MAPFRE Life Assurance Company of Puerto Rico learned the hard way about the risk of loss of patient information with portable devices like USBs, even when they are stored in the IT Department....more

What Did They Say About Cybersecurity in 2016? 8 Proclamations from Regulators and the Courts

There is no such thing as compliance with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (FTC). In September, the FTC dispelled a commonly held misconception regarding the NIST Framework: It “is not, and isn’t intended to be, a standard or...more

Cancer Services Provider Confronts Ransomware Bully

My newest hero in the fight against ransomware is Little Red Door Cancer Services of East Central Indiana (Little Red Door). I am sending a donation to it to celebrate its courage in the last few weeks. Little Red Door...more

Recent HIPAA Enforcement Actions

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced the first ever settlement related to a Covered Entity’s untimely breach notification in violation of HIPAA. Presence Health,...more

Tracking the Data Bandits

In the iconic western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch and Sundance are hard pressed to evade a posse led by the semi-mythical lawman, Joe Lefors, who is so adept that he manages to track them across solid rock. The...more

Data Breach Class Action Reinstated Against Horizon Healthcare Services Inc.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has vacated a district court's dismissal of a data breach class action filed against Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., in the wake of the 2013 theft of two computer laptops...more

HIPAA Breach? Notify Promptly or Face Significant Potential Fines from HHS OCR

On January 9, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR), which enforces the privacy requirements contained in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), announced a...more

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Cybersecurity

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