Tag Archives: HITECH

HHS Issues Cloud Computing Guidance Which Is Helpful To All Users of Cloud Services

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) provided guidance for HIPAA covered entities and business associates that use or want to use cloud computing services involving protected health information (PHI). Covered entities and business associates seeking cloud services often have many concerns regarding HIPAA compliance, and this guidance … Continue Reading

Smaller HIPAA Breaches To Get More Attention by Office for Civil Rights

The HIPAA breach notification rule has two buckets for classifying data breaches – those that involve “protected health information” (PHI) of 500 or more individuals and those that involve fewer than 500 individuals. Since the breach notification rule became effective, the Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) focus has been on the 500 and over bucket. But … Continue Reading

Check Your Spam Filter, You Might Have Been Selected for a HIPAA Audit!

Yesterday, the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced Phase 2 of its HIPAA Audit Program (Program). In its announcement, the OCR reports that the Program is underway and provides some helpful FAQs for covered entities and business associates about the Program. Preparation is critical and there are some key points covered entities and business … Continue Reading

HIPAA Covered Entities Not Responsible For Intercepted Transmission of PHI When Individual Requested Unsecured Transmission, Office for Civil Rights Concludes

Earlier this month, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance on an individual’s right to access the individual’s health information. That an individual has a broad right to access has been recognized in the HIPAA privacy regulations since they became effective in 2003. OCR has found, however, that individuals are facing obstacles to accessing their … Continue Reading

Healthcare Providers and Business Associates: Don’t Ignore the Insider Threats

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

Indiana Attorney General Enforces HIPAA For First Time – Another Lesson for Small Business

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

Data Security in 2015 for Banks, HIPAA Covered Entities, and Small Businesses Too

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

Prepare For Increased HIPAA Fines

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

OCR Provides HIPAA “Lessons Learned” In Data Breach Report to Congress

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

OCR Responds To Critical OIG Report About the Extent of OCR’s HIPAA Enforcement

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

Final HIPAA Regulations: “Business Associates” Include Subcontractors, Data Storage Companies (Cloud Providers?)

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

OCR Issues Protocol For HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Audit Program

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

Third Party Vendors Equal Data Breach Risk, Massachusetts Vendor Contract Deadline Approaches – March 1, 2012

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.… Continue Reading

Provide Feedback to Government on Exchanging Health Information on Mobile Communications Devices

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.… Continue Reading

Attorney General Securing Personal Data in Indiana

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

HHS to Issue Proposed Regulations Concerning HITECH

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
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