News reports of security risks, hackings and breaches caused by individuals, terror groups or even countries around the world certainly are important and can be unsettling. But, for many organizations, including healthcare providers and business associates, a significant and perhaps more immediate area of data risk rests with an organization’s workforce members. An organization’s information… Continue Reading
As we reported, state Attorneys General have authority to enforce the privacy and security regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), pursuant to the authority granted under the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health (HITECH) Act. Shortly after announcing plans to seek legislation requiring stronger protections for personal and financial… Continue Reading
Some have called 2014 the “Year of the Data Breach.” That may be true given the steady stream of large-scale data breaches affecting tens of millions of individuals. We do not know if this time next year commentators will be saying the same thing about 2015, but there are signs pointing to a significant tightening… Continue Reading
Since mid-2013, the Department of Health and Human Services has recovered more than $10 million from numerous entities in connection with alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). However, during a recent American Bar Association conference, Jerome B. Meites, a chief regional civil rights counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”)… Continue Reading
An Office for Civil Rights (OCR) report issued this month reveals some interesting details about data breach activity under HIPAA, as well as some helpful reminders and recommendations for covered entities and business associates. Section 13402(i) of the HITECH Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a report to various Senate… Continue Reading
A report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) concludes that the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) did not meet all of its federal requirements for oversight and enforcement of the HIPAA Security Rule. While the report noted OCR met some of these requirements, it also found that:… Continue Reading
Will NY’s highest court allow patients to sue medical practices for fiduciary duty breaches when their non-physician employees disclose confidential medical records?
Under the HITECH Act, business associates are subject to the HIPAA privacy and security rules (the "HIPAA Rules") virtually to the same extent as covered entities. In addition to implementing this change for business associates ("BAs"), and providing additional guidance concerning what entities are business associates, the final HIPAA regulations issued last week also treat certain subcontractors of BAs as BAs directly subject to the… Continue Reading
Final HIPAA regulations are out…
Is your cloud service provider HIPAA-compliant?
HIPAA data breach affecting 441 patients leads to investigation resulting in $50K in penalties due to alleged lapses in security compliance.
HIPAA audit following breach reported to OCR results in findings of noncompliance, settlement payment of $1.7 million and a three-year corrective action plan.
As we previously discussed, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) continues to push forward with the HIPAA audits required by the HITECH Act. To this end, the OCR recently posted the protocol which is used to conduct the HIPAA audits on its website. The HITECH Act requires HHS to provide for periodic audits to ensure covered… Continue Reading
Federal HIPAA enforcement agency adds new online tool to train State Attorneys General to enforce HIPAA.
Massachusetts service provider contract deadline – March 1, 2012 – should be a reminder to revisit all contracts with third party vendors to ensure they require the vendor to safeguard personal information.
If you have an interest in the role the growing use of mobile communications devices (smartphones, iPads, iPhones, etc.) will play in how personal health information is exchanged in the health care industry, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is seeking your input. According to a notice published Nov. 1, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 67455), comments are due Dec. 31.
While years of lax enforcement may have lulled many HIPAA covered entities and business associates to not take HIPAA seriously, recent activities by HHS, including the recently announced nationwide enforcement training program for State Attorneys General should spur renewed efforts toward compliance.
CDPH’s data privacy enforcement activity continues, this time affecting 6 hospitals and a nursing home with total penalties approaching $800,000.
Indiana recently enacted a new law which grants authority to the Indiana Office of the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit to obtain and secure abandoned records with personally identifying information, including health records, and either destroy them or return them to their owners. Additionally, the new law sets fines and other legal ramifications for violations of… Continue Reading
The Department of Health and Human Services announced this morning that it will be issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to begin implementing the recent statutory amendments under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“the HITECH Act”). According to HHS, the proposed regulations (pdf), set to be published July 14, 2010, are designed to strengthen the… Continue Reading
Have you noticed that negotiating that business associate agreement has gotten a lot more difficult? Many companies that serve health care providers and health plans, generally known as business associates, have noticed. These companies include software vendors, benefits brokers, cloud computing providers, data storage/destruction companies, and accountants, among others. The clients of these companies are… Continue Reading
On January 29, 2009, I had the opportunity to attend a brief presentation sponsored by Minnesota CLE entitled, “Corporate Data Privacy & Security: 10 Legal Practice Tips,” given by Brad Bolin, Senior Corporate Counsel for Best Buy, Inc. a Fortune 500 electronics retailer headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. Bolin is a specialist in information security and privacy… Continue Reading
A British TV station investigation into India’s medical transcription industry, known as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), uncovered unsettling news for British subjects, as well as American citizens. Medical records sent to India to be transcribed and computerized are being sold. The Economic Times report on the investigation out of New Delhi suspects a "hardening of stance on the… Continue Reading