News & Analysis as of

OCR’s Recent $2.7 Million Settlement with Oregon Health & Science University Highlights the Importance of HIPAA Compliance...

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) recently entered into a resolution agreement to settle potential violations of HIPAA’s Privacy and...more

HHS OCR Guidance on Ransomware Attacks: They Constitute a “Security Incident” and Are Likely a Data Breach

On July 11, 2016, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance on HIPAA covered entities’ responsibilities in a ransomware attack, a type of cyber-attack that has targeted the health care sector extensively in...more

Report Warns Providers of HIPAA Violations When Responding to Negative Online Reviews

ProPublica, a public interest investigative newsroom, recently identified more than 3,500 one-star medical reviews on Yelp in which patients complained about privacy issues. ProPublica determined that “in dozens of instances,...more

Protected Health Information: Providers Must Proceed with Caution

Medical records are a powerful weapon in the courtroom. They may reveal the extent of an individual’s injury in a personal injury case or substantiate the severity of an individual’s mental illness when that mental illness is...more

Ransomware Attack is a Breach – Unless You Can Prove Otherwise

Ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat in the United States, targeting simple home computers to elaborate corporate IT networks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently reported an increase in ransomware...more

OCR Announces First HIPAA Enforcement Action against a Business Associate

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced an agreement with Catholic Health Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling allegations that CHCS violated the Health...more

Client Alert - The Government Makes a Business Associate Pay: What HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates Can Learn from...

The government has entered into its first settlement with a HIPAA business associate, including a $650,000.00 monetary penalty, ushering in a new period of enforcement for third parties who use Protected Health Information...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

Regulatory Authorities Launch The Second Phase Of The HIPAA Compliance Audit Program

As a part of its continued efforts to assess compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for...more

Ransomware Attacks on ePHI May Be a Data Breach Under HIPAA

On July 11, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) at the Department of Health and Human Services issued new HIPAA guidance regarding the growing epidemic of malicious computer software known as “ransomware”....more

Breach of ePHI Results in $2.7 Million Fine

Oregon Health & Science University (“OHSU”) has paid $2.7 million to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to settle allegations that it violated the Health Insurance Portability...more

OCR Issues New Guidance on Ransomware and HIPAA

In response to a rising number of ransomware attacks on healthcare systems, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued new ransomware guidance on the HIPAA obligations of...more

HHS Issues New Guidance on Ransomware

On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued guidance on ransomware attacks. The guidance clarified that a ransomware attack involving electronic protected...more

House of Representatives Approves Mental Health System Reform Bill

The House of Representative has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill (H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act) to reform the nation’s mental health care system. Key provisions of the legislation...more

OCR Begins HIPAA Phase 2 Audits

What covered entities and business associates can do to prepare for the next round of audits. On July 11, the HIPAA Phase 2 audits commenced when 167 covered entities received notice of a desk audit from the Department...more

New HIPAA Guidance on Ransomware Prevention and Recovery

A U.S. government interagency report indicates that there has been a 300 percent increase in the daily ransomware attacks in 2016 as compared to 2015. Ransomware is malicious software that, when introduced into a system,...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

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

OCR Releases Guidance on Ransomware & HIPAA

On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued guidance (the “Guidance”) for health care entities relating to ransomware and the Health Insurance Portability and...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

First Ever OCR Settlement of Enforcement Action against HIPAA Business Associate Due to PHI Breach

On June 30, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced the first HIPAA settlement agreement with a business associate. This follows recent settlements with two HIPAA covered entities under HIPAA due, in large part, to the...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

Just a Matter of Time: First-Ever Settlement of HIPAA Claims Against a Business Associate

On June 30, 2016, the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the first-ever settlement of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) claims against a business associate. According...more

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