Protected Health Information Health Care Providers

News & Analysis as of

Medical Malpractice and Healthcare Quarterly - Summer 2016

AFFIDAVIT OF MERIT NOT REQUIRED AS TO CLAIMS AGAINST DENTISTS - Limiting the scope of the affidavit of merit statute, the Superior Court recently held that an affidavit of merit was not required where a plaintiff filed a...more

HHS: Ransomware Attacks Likely HIPAA Breaches In Absence of Encryption

On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a Fact Sheet that provides guidance on (i) how HIPAA Security Rule compliance can assist health care organizations combat ransomware attacks, and...more

Oregon Health & Science University pays $2.7M penalty for data breaches

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has agreed to settle alleged HIPAA violations involving two separate data breaches with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for $2.7 million. In the span of three months in 2013,...more

CMS Finalizes Plan to Expand Medicare/Private Claims Data Available for Care Improvement

CMS has published a final rule to allow organizations approved as “qualified entities” to confidentially share or sell analyses of Medicare and private-sector claims data to providers, employers, and other groups who can use...more

Recent Enforcement Action: Business Associates Not Off the Hook

Despite the fact that Business Associates have been directly subject to and liable under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations (HIPAA) since February 18, 2010 the...more

OCR Sends Notification Letters to Phase 2 HIPAA Auditees

On July 12, 2016, HHS’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) distributed an e-mail discussing recent developments in Phase II of its HIPAA audit program....more

BYOD Risks under HIPAA – Does Your HIPAA Compliance Program Adequately Address the Ever Increasing Use of Portable Electronic...

Many U.S. employers are now allowing employees to use their own personal handheld devices and laptop computers for work-related purposes. As the age of employer-provided devices is coming to an end and “bring your own device”...more

Check Your Desk: HIPAA Audits for Covered Entities Have Arrived

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services has moved forward with Phase 2 of its Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) audit program. On Monday, July 11,...more

Entity Fined $650,000 in First HIPAA Settlement with a Business Associate

The possibility of business associates potentially being audited, investigated, and ultimately fined is now a reality. On June 24, 2016, the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights...more

“Your Money or Your PHI”: OCR Releases Guidance on Ransomware

On July 11, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released important new guidance on ransomware for hospitals and other healthcare providers and finally addressed the question of whether electronic protected health...more

OCR levies first fine ever directly against business associate

Our predictions that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will become more aggressive with audits, investigations, and fines against HIPAA business associates has come true. On June 24, 2016, the OCR announced that it has...more

Massachusetts General Hospital vendor Patterson Dental Supply reports breach of 4,300 patient records

Patterson Dental Supply, Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) vendor that provides software to the hospital to manage dental practice information, has reportedly admitted that approximately 4,300 of MGH’s patient records...more

Health Alert (Australia) July 4, 2016

In This Issue: - Judgments; Legislation; and Reports. - Excerpts from Judgments: Victoria 24 June 2016 - Inquest into the death of Graeme John Jennings - On 17 April 2012, Mr Jennings was involved...more

Exploring the Causes of Healthcare Data Breaches

Pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), covered entities (e.g. healthcare providers and health plans) must notify the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) of breaches...more

HIPAA Compliance: Navigating a Health Care Minefield

In the two decades since its original passage, complying with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) hasn’t gotten any easier. Enacted with the primary goal of protecting the confidentiality,...more

HIPAA Does Not Preempt Statutory Right to Ex Parte Interviews of Treating Physicians in Tennessee Health Care Liability Actions

A key tool for the defense of medical providers in Tennessee facing malpractice liability has been held to be not preempted by federal law. On June 3, 2016, the Tennessee Court of Appeals, in Caldwell v. Baptist Memorial...more

Data Security Safeguards Can Help Healthcare Employers Withstand Cyberattacks—and Government Audits

The last couple of years have brought a steady rain of bad news for the healthcare industry when it comes to data security: Insurers faced with massive data breaches affecting thousands of health plans and millions of...more

Health Care E-Note - June 2016

In an effort to review and examine compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations ("HIPAA"), the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil...more

HHS guidance seeks to clarify scope of PSQIA

On May 24, 2016, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued guidance (Guidance) to health care providers and patient safety organizations (PSOs) in an attempt to clarify the definition of patient safety work...more

Responding to ransomware attacks: A guide for health care providers

As if data privacy and HIPAA concerns were not enough for health care entities to fret over, enter another data threat that has already caught many health care systems off guard – ransomware attacks....more

Burr Alert: Phase 2 HIPAA Audits

In an effort to review and examine compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations ("HIPAA"), the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil...more

Employer breached OHSA, collective agreement by sharing employee’s medical information with another employer

An arbitrator has decided that an operator of a long term care facility violated both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the collective agreement by sharing an employee’s medical information with another employer,...more

Newest Ponemon study released on health care data breaches

The Ponemon Institute has recently released its Sixth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy & Security of Healthcare Data. The study has included business associates for the past two years. The study included information received...more

Recent Settlements and Upcoming Audits Highlight the Continuing Need to Focus on Core HIPAA Compliance Measures

Recent settlements and initiatives conducted by the Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services highlight the continuing need for focus on compliance with the privacy and security...more

Joint Commission lifts ban on physicians texting patient orders

The Joint Commission, which is the national accrediting organization for health care organizations, has long banned physicians using text messages to place orders for patient care due to data security concerns. In 2011, the...more

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