Report on Patient Privacy Volume 19, Number 11. Privacy Briefs: November 2019

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
Contact

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

[author: Jane Anderson]

Report on Patient Privacy Volume 19, Number 11. (November 2019)

The biggest threat to protected health information comes from carelessness within your organization, according to a brief from the Clearwater CyberIntelligence Institute. The brief found that 59% of all security incidents and breaches – both malicious and inadvertent – stemmed from carelessness by trusted insiders, not from outside forces. The three top vulnerabilities created by so-called “careless users” include: endpoint data loss (data losses caused by the use of desktops, laptops, cellphones and other electronics); susceptibility to malware and phishing attacks caused by untrained and untested staff; and facilitating improper access to sensitive application and devices due to weak passwords. “Careless Users are certainly not a new phenomenon in health care,” the report concludes, while noting that health care entities need to strengthen their security controls. Download the full report at https://bit.ly/31V8xbk.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology have released version 3.1 of the popular HHS Security Risk Assessment (SRA) Tool. The tool is designed to aid small- and medium-sized health care organizations in their efforts to assess security risks and help reduce the chance of being impacted by malware, ransomware and other cyberattacks. The current version of the SRA Tool includes functionality updates based on public input. New features include: threat and vulnerability validation; improved asset and vendor management (multi-select and delete functions added); incorporation of National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework references; capability to export the detailed report to Excel; addition of question flagging and a Flagged Report; bug fixes and improved stability. Download version 3.1 of the SRA Tool and view the answers to additional questions at https://bit.ly/32faqzK.

Officials at a St. Louis health center that serves needy, uninsured residents say a ransomware cyberattack caused a data breach that potentially affected 152,000 people. The Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Center said Friday that the attack involved patient information, including addresses and Social Security numbers, but did not include patient medical records. Information on medical providers and health center employees also was breached, according to the health center. The incident locked data, but the center said it has refused to pay the ransom. The health center’s CEO said there’s no way to know if information was viewed or accessed. Read more at https://bit.ly/2BN29bx.

Protected information on some 130,000 patients might have been exposed following a summer phishing attack and data breach at Kalispell Regional Healthcare in Montana. The health center said several of its employees were victims of what it called “a well-designed email” that tricked them into providing their hospital log-in credentials to hackers. Although the attack began last spring and summer, the hospital just learned a few weeks ago exactly which patients had been involved. The information exposed may have involved names, Social Security numbers, email addresses, medical history and health insurance information. See the story at https://bit.ly/2BQ3r5H.

Saco, Maine-based nonprofit mental health care provider Sweetser has notified 22,000 current and former clients that their sensitive personal and medical information may have been stolen by hackers in an email breach in June. The organization provides a variety of mental health services to children and adults including individual and group therapy, psychiatry and substance abuse counseling services. Based on a forensic firm’s findings, it was determined that Sweetser employee email accounts were accessed from roughly June 18 through June 27. On Sept. 10, the investigation showed that data containing personal information, including names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, health insurance information and identification numbers, driver’s license numbers, Medicare and Medicaid information, payment or claims information, diagnostic codes, and information regarding medical conditions and treatment could have been accessed. Notification letters have been sent to potentially impacted clients, according to Sweetser, which said it doesn’t know whether the intent of the breach was to steal clients’ personal information. Learn more at https://bit.ly/2MRuyne.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic are warning that it’s possible to identify patients from MRI scanning data, leading to a potential new privacy threat. In a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers said they recruited 84 volunteers between the ages of 34 and 89, and photographed each participant’s face from five slightly varying angles. Each participant had undergone an MRI of the head within the previous three months. The researchers then asked a computer to match the photos to the MRIs. For 70 of the 84 participants (83%) the software chose the correct MRI scan as the most likely match for their photos. When asked to choose the top five most likely matches, the computer was correct 95% of the time. In previous studies, 40% of human visual raters could match MRI face reconstructions to photographs with greater-than-chance success rates. “The current standard of removing only metadata in medical images may be insufficient to prevent reidentification of participants in research,” the study concludes. “Further research is needed to develop improved deidentification methods for medical imaging that contains facial features.” View the study at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1908881.

Ransomware attacks at three hospitals in Alabama forced the hospitals to divert to other facilities in the area before the health system reportedly paid the ransom. The attacks on DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Fayette Medical Center, and Northport Medical Center occurred early on Oct. 1. “Our hospitals have implemented our emergency procedures to ensure safe and efficient operations in the event technology dependent on computers is not available,” DCH Health Systems wrote in a statement. “That said, we feel it is in the best interest of patient safety that DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center and Fayette Medical Center are closed to all but the most critical new patients.” The hospitals did not transfer patients during the incident. The Tuscaloosa News reported that the health system paid the hackers and obtained a key to unlock its files. See more details at https://bit.ly/2NmLst5.

Nearly 58,000 prescription records of customers at a Smith’s Food and Drug store in Henderson, Nevada, were improperly thrown out in the trash, the company says. The retailer said in a statement that an employee in late July discarded 12 boxes of pharmacy records in the store’s trash compactor, which includes all waste, including food, from the store. The incident was discovered on Aug. 29, and the employee since has been terminated, according to Smith’s. The discarded records were at least 11 years old and might have included a patient’s first name, last name, gender, date of birth, home address, phone number, drug name, prescription number and third-party payer information. Smith’s said it’s unable to identify the patients involved. Read the story at https://bit.ly/2BQ12rH.

UAB Medicine in Birmingham, Ala., is notifying 19,557 affected patients that hackers recently gained access to certain employee email accounts containing patient information. The hackers sent an email created to look like an authentic request from an executive asking employees to complete a business survey. Despite anti-phishing training, a number of employees accessed the survey and provided their username and password to the hackers. UAB Medicine discovered emails had been compromised in the phishing attack on Aug. 7. The investigation revealed the cybercriminals were attempting to divert employees’ automatic payroll deposits to an account controlled by the hackers. There’s no evidence the hackers were looking for, accessed or stole any protected health information, but UAB Medicine said that limited amounts of PHI including medical record numbers, birth dates, dates of service, location of service, diagnosis and treatment information, could have been viewed by the hackers while they had access to the affected email accounts. Social Security numbers were included for a small subset of patients, who have been specifically notified. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3416IeC.

Indiana-based Goshen Health has begun notifying patients about a security incident that occurred more than a year ago after it went back and re-evaluated the incident and determined that a breach may have occurred. According to the hospital, an unauthorized third party may have had access to the email accounts of two Goshen Health employees for 11 days in August 2018. After an investigation that stretched over a year, Goshen Health determined that the accounts contained personal information for some 9,160 patients. The information varied for each individual, but may have included names, addresses, dates of birth, physician names, health insurance information, limited clinical information, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. Goshen will provide complimentary identity theft protection services for those individuals whose Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers were involved. Get more information at https://bit.ly/36gq9lI.

Geisinger Health Plan has notified more than 5,000 members that some of their protected health information may have been affected by a breach at a business associate. Magellan National Imaging Associates, a vendor hired by the health plan to manage radiology benefits, discovered in July that the email account of one of its employees had been sending out large volumes of spam email. The investigation revealed that several unauthorized mailbox authentications and connections originating from outside the United States had been occurring on this employee’s email account since May. The vendor said the hackers likely obtained the email log-in credentials via a phishing attack or “other fraudulent means,” Geisinger said. Geisinger was alerted to the issue in late September, and says it no longer uses Magellan as a vendor. Read Geisinger’s statement at https://bit.ly/2q0ytoI.

[View source.]

Written by:

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
Contact
more
less

Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) 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:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. 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. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at privacy@jdsupra.com.

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our 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 are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com. We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy 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 our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

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

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit legal.hubspot.com/privacy-policy.
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit www.newrelic.com/privacy.
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit www.google.com/policies. To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit http://www.aboutcookies.org which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.