News & Analysis as of

Employee Benefits Developments - September 2014

CASES - Post-Retirement Medical Benefits Under Siege. A recent spike in retiree benefit litigation is evidence of a growing interest among employers in strategies designed to contain, reduce, and eliminate the current...more

Mishandling Medical Records Turns Into an $800,000 HIPAA-Compliance Mistake

A non-profit healthcare company agreed to pay $800,000 as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for allegedly mishandling 71 boxes of medical records in violation of the privacy rule...more

Cybersecurity Litigation Monthly Newsletter

As we discussed in July, Tiversa, a “cyber-intelligence” company, notified the FTC in 2009 that a file containing the personal information of about 9,300 LabMD patients was available on a peer-to-peer file sharing network....more

Illinois Court Dismisses Plaintiffs Privacy Claims Arising out of HIPAA Breach

On July 10, 2014, a Kane County, Illinois Circuit Court granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice in favor of Advocate Health & Hospitals Corporation (Advocate) in a class action case arising out of a breach of patients'...more

Week in Review

Significant electronic data breaches made headlines again this week. Supervalu announced that millions of customer credit card numbers were stolen at various stores. ...more

Massive Data Breach Affects 4.5 Million Patients in 29 States

Community Health Systems, Inc. (the “Company”), one of the largest hospital organizations in the country, announced via a public filing (Form 8K) made yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Report”) that the...more

Class Action Plaintiffs Look to Fair Credit Reporting Act for Private Relief from Data Breaches Involving Health Information

A recent class action brought against the University of Miami (“University”) previews what could become an emerging trend among plaintiffs’ class action attorneys to seek damages for the unauthorized disclosure of personal...more

Hospital Operator Reports 4.5 Million Patients’ Data Stolen in Cyberattack

The Tennessee-based acute-care hospital chain Community Health Systems, Inc. (CHS), reported on August 18 that information on approximately 4.5 million patients was stolen from the company. CHS is one of the largest hospital...more

4.5 Million Patients’ Information Stolen by Hackers

Community Health Systems Inc. (“CHS”), a Tennessee-based hospital provider, has reported it was the target of data hackers who were able to obtain identification information belonging to approximately 4.5 million CHS...more

Community Health Systems' HIPAA Breach: Significant Lessons for Health Care and Non-Health Care Companies

On August 18, 2014, Community Health Systems, Inc. (CHS) publicly confirmed, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (CHS filing), that its computer network was attacked between April and June 2014 by hackers...more

Hospital Network Reports Large HIPAA Breach

Community Health Systems announced yesterday, August 18th, that hackers broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients. ...more

OCR to Begin Phase 2 of HIPAA Audit Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will soon begin a second phase of audits (Phase 2 Audits) of compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)...more

It’s No Surprise: Health Care Data Breaches Are on the Rise and So Is Government Enforcement

In This Issue: - The Take-Aways for Covered Entities and Business Associates - For More Information - Excerpt from The Take-Aways for Covered Entities and Business Associates: As a majority of the...more

Even in Privacy Cases, Risk of Injury Does not Always Equal Injury

It’s an ancient conundrum; if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Privacy litigation may well offer the closest jurisprudential equivalent; if data is stolen, but no one does...more

California Court Grants Hospital Summary Judgment on Data Breach Claim

In its recent decision in Eisenhower Medical Center v. Superior Court, 226 Cal. App. 4th 430(Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2014), the Court of Appeal of California, Fourth District, had occasion to consider whether a medical facility’s...more

A Whistleblower Hotline can protect against medical identity theft

Last year, medical identity theft affected nearly two million Americans - 32% more than the year before. This is a staggering number! And considering that today, medical identity theft accounts for 43% of all identity theft...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

HIPAA Data Breaches

HIPAA has been on the books since 1996. With the advent of electronic health records, HHS adopted security regulations to require covered entities to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of electronic...more

California Court Limits Liability for Loss of Certain Patient Information under CMIA

California appellate courts are clarifying potential liability under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 56 et seq. (“CMIA”) of health care providers, health plans, pharmaceutical...more

Health System Investigated for Leaving PHI in Doctor’s Driveway – Settles with OCR for $800K

While OCR enforcement activity has focused on a covered entity’s safeguarding of ePHI, organizations cannot forget about PHI in non-electronic form. To settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, Parkview Health...more

Five Lessons from OCR’s Report to Congress on Breaches and HIPAA Rules Compliance

Last week, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released two reports required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act: (i) the Annual Report to Congress on Breaches of Unsecured...more

FTC Uses Its "Unfair Acts" Power to Go After PHI Security Breach

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is moving forward with an administrative action against a small medical laboratory that suffered two data security breaches, resulting in its patients’ protected health information falling...more

Human Error Biggest Threat to Patient Data Security and Privacy

Human error remains the biggest threat to healthcare data privacy, according to the latest study on patient privacy and data security by the Ponemon Institute. Healthcare organizations also continue to struggle with...more

Florida Federal Judge Approves Settlement Agreement Providing Payments to All Victims of Data Breach, Even Those Who Suffered No...

On February 28, 2014, in Resnick et al. v. AvMed Inc., a Florida federal judge gave final approval to a groundbreaking settlement agreement in a data breach class action lawsuit. The settlement for the first time provides...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

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