HIPAA Data Breaches

by Michael Volkov
Contact

HIPAA has been on the books since 1996. With the advent of electronic health records, HHS adopted security regulations to rehipaa7quire covered entities to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of electronic personal health information (PHI).

The Security Rule was adopted in 2003 and includes data breach notification requirements. The Office of Civil Rights at HHS is responsible for enforcing the Security Rule and other HIPAA requirements.

The definition of a covered entity includes health plans, health care clearinghouses, and any health care provider who transmits health information in electronic form.

The Security Rule requires covered entities to maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for protecting e-PHI. Covered entities must (1) ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI they create, receive, maintain or transmit; (2) identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity of the information; (3) protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures; and (4) ensure compliance by their workforce.4

HHS recognizes that covered entities range from the smallest provider to the largest, multi-state health plan. The Security Rule is flexible and scalable to allow covered entities to analyze their own needs and implement solutions appropriate for their specific environments based on the following factors: (1) size, complexity, and capabilities; (2) technical, hardware, and software infrastructure; (3) costs of security measures, and (4) the likelihood and possible impact of potential risks to e-PHI.

A breach is an impermissible use or disclosure under the Privacy Rule that compromises the security or privacy of the protected health information.hipaa3

An impermissible use or disclosure of protected health information is presumed to be a breach unless the covered entity or business associate demonstrates that there is a low probability that the protected health information has been compromised based on a risk assessment of the following factors: (1) the nature and extent of the protected health information involved, including the types of identifiers and the likelihood of re-identification; (2) the unauthorized person who used the protected health information or to whom the disclosure was made; (3) whether the protected health information was actually acquired or viewed; and (4) the extent to which the risk to the protected health information has been mitigated.

Since 2008, HHS has reported that there have been over 800 breaches involving over 500 or more individuals, and 92,000 breaches involving fewer than 500 individuals. The total civil monetary penalties and resolution agreements total $18.6 million.

hipaa2Interestingly, almost half of all the significant breaches have been the result of theft; almost 20 percent were the result of unauthorized access or disclosure, and 11 percent were caused by the loss of laptops, paper records, desktop computers or portable electronic devices.

In 2013, the five largest data breaches involved:

People Affected

Cause

4,029,000

4 laptops stolen

729,000

2 laptops stolen

277,000

Microfiche improperly disposed

187,500

Patient information mailed to other patients

32,100

Business Associate stored data on non-secured website

The average cost of a general US data breach is approximately $200 per record.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Michael Volkov, The Volkov Law Group | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Michael Volkov
Contact
more
less

The Volkov Law Group on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.