Privacy Rule

News & Analysis as of

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing to Discuss FCC’s Proposed Privacy Rules

On May 11, the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law of the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled “Examining the Proposed FCC Privacy Rules.” Present at the hearing were witnesses FCC Chairman Thomas...more

Disclosure of Substance Use Disorder Records Enters the 21st Century: SAMHSA Proposes Changes to Part 2, But Do They Go Far...

Background - As many health care practitioners, health information management professionals, and health lawyers know, balancing patients’ privacy interests with the need to access accurate, up-to-date medical information can...more

OCR Issues New Guidance on “Reasonable and Cost-Based” Fees Associated with Medical Record Copying and Access

On February 25, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a set of FAQs directed at healthcare providers and plans that are required to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule (the Privacy Rule). The guidance emphasizes that...more

Privacy Regulation Regime Change: Bad or Good for ISPs?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is on the verge of proposing new federal privacy regulations for internet broadband service providers (“ISPs”). ISPs were previously policed by the Federal Trade Commission...more

Physical therapy provider’s patient testimonials lead to $25,000 OCR settlement and admission of civil liability

On February 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it had entered into an agreement with Complete P.T., Pool & Land Physical Therapy, Inc. (CPT), a physical...more

More Than a Family Affair: Six-Figure HIPAA Penalty Upheld for Unrepentant Home Care Agency due to PHI Access by Spurned Spouse of...

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Public Law 104-191 and the regulations promulgated thereunder (“HIPAA”) should be now well-known to health care providers and health plans. Under HIPAA’s...more

Help with HIPAA!

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has published answers to some frequently asked questions about an individual’s right to access identifiable health information. Are the FAQs boring? Absolutely. But are they...more

HHS Fact Sheet on Your Employees’ and Clients’ Rights under HIPAA to Access their Health Information

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, contains extensive rules designed to limit access by non-health plan entities to certain individually identifiable health...more

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back: Proposed Changes to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Confidentiality Rule

On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule putting forth amendments to the Alcohol...more

Government Investigations Into Cybersecurity Breaches In Healthcare

In September 2015, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), report found that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the agency charged with ensuring compliance with the Health...more

Second CMP Assessed for HIPAA Violations: Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

For only the second time in its history, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has imposed a civil money penalty (CMP) on a covered entity for allegedly violating the HIPAA...more

OCR issues new guidance on individuals’ access to PHI: Is your access policy compliant?

On Jan. 7, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued new guidance (Guidance) on the right of individuals under the HIPAA Privacy Rule to access their protected health information (PHI). In the Guidance, the OCR indicated...more

HHS issues new guidance on individual access to PHI under HIPAA

On January 7, 2015, HHS issued new guidance (Guidance) regarding an individual’s right to access his or her health information under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. The Guidance emphasizes that HIPAA, while protecting the privacy and...more

HIPAA Privacy Rule Now Permits Reporting for Firearms Background Checks

On January 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule that modifies the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. This modification expressly...more

HIPAA Privacy Rule Amended To Permit Reporting of Firearm Background Check Information

The January 6, 2016 Federal Register included a final rule (“Final Rule”) amending the HIPAA Privacy Rule to expressly permit certain “covered entities” to disclose to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System...more

OIG Emphasizes Proactive Enforcement of Privacy Rule and Monitoring of Repeat Offenders

The Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recently released Privacy Standards report assessed the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) oversight of covered entities’ compliance with the Privacy Rule as well as the extent to which...more

Are Attorneys Entitled to “HIPAA Rate”?

Over the past year, numerous lawsuits and complaints to the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) have been filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys over a seemingly obscure HIPAA issue – the rate that health care providers and their...more

OIG report spurs OCR to announce phase 2 audits

On September 29, it was revealed that the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will commence Phase 2 of its HIPAA audit program in “early 2016.” OCR’s revelation regarding the Phase 2 audits, which had been the subject of...more

Reports Instruct Office of Civil Rights to Increase HIPAA Enforcement Activities

On September 29, 2015, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two reports that reviewed the Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The...more

Don’t Wait for It; Recent HIPAA Enforcement Action Signal More to Come in Phase 2 Audits

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) have recently selected a vendor to conduct the second wave of HIPAA audits. These so-called “Phase 2 Audits” are set to commence...more

Don't Wait for It; Recent HIPAA Enforcement Action Signal More to Come in Phase 2 Audits

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) have recently selected a vendor to conduct the second wave of HIPAA audits. These so-called "Phase 2 Audits" are set to commence...more

OCR settlement reiterates importance of proactive security rule compliance

On September 2, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced that Cancer Care Group, P.C. (CCG), a physician practice located in Indiana, agreed to pay $750,000 as part of a settlement to resolve...more

Data Breach Nightmare Scenario: News Affiliate Reports Improper Disposal of Patient Information

A tip from a local Denver news outlet lead to a compliance review, investigation and ultimately a resolution agreement between the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) and Denver-based...more

OCR’s New Bulletin on Ensuring Privacy in Public Health Emergencies

This week, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a bulletin (Bulletin) to remind covered entities and business associates that “the protections of the Privacy Rule are not set aside during an emergency.” The...more

Privacy Australia: What Do Death, Taxes and Deactivated Online Accounts Have in Common?

Australia recently joined the growing ranks of countries that take privacy seriously - so seriously that a breach of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) can now result in a...more

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