Archives: HIPAA

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Connecticut on its Way to an Enhanced Data Breach Notification Law

UPDATE: On June 16, Gov. Ned Lamont signed HB 3510 into law which becomes effective October 1, 2021. State legislatures across the nation are prioritizing privacy and security matters, and Connecticut is no exception. This week, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced the passage of An Act Concerning Data Privacy Breaches, a measure that will … Continue Reading

Long-Term Care Facilities Must Educate, Offer, and Report on COVID-19 Vaccinations for Residents and Staff, According to CMS Interim Rule

On May 11, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services published an interim final rule/guidance to establish COVID-19 vaccination requirements for Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities. The requirements are applicable to both residents and staff. LTC facilities have already been managing COVID-19 vaccination requirements both … Continue Reading

DOH Employee Error Causes Breach of COVID-19 and Other Health Data Affecting Nearly 165,000 Individuals

In a recent post, we highlighted the need for a privacy and cybersecurity training program, one not solely focused on spotting phishing attempts (although that is quite important as well). A primary reason, quite simply, is that employees continue to be a leading cause of data breaches. This fact was reaffirmed for the Wyoming Department … Continue Reading

Developing a Privacy and Cybersecurity Training Program for Employees

Increased remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated privacy and cybersecurity concerns, and likely has not changed the finding in Experian’s 2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast: Employees and negligence are the leading cause of security incidents but remain the least reported issue. A more recent state of the industry report … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Vaccination: Setting Up An On-site Program

The Biden administration reportedly has called for all people at least 18 to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, 2021, two weeks earlier than its prior goal of May 1, and less than a week away. Most states have already done so. Without the barriers created by state-by-state priority rules, the rate … Continue Reading

Utah is the 2nd State to Create a Safe Harbor for Companies Facing Data Breach Litigation

In mid-March, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed into law the Cybersecurity Affirmative Defense Act (HB80) (“the Act”), an amendment to Utah’s data breach notification law, creating several affirmative defenses for persons (defined below) facing a cause of action arising out of a breach of system security, and establishing the requirements for asserting such a defense. … Continue Reading

Colorado Introduces a Comprehensive Consumer Privacy Bill

Colorado recently became the latest state to consider a comprehensive consumer privacy law.  On March 19, 2021, Colorado State Senators Rodriguez and Lundeen introduced SB 21-190, entitled “an Act Concerning additional protection of data relating to personal privacy”. Following California’s bold example of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) effective since January 2020, Virginia recently … Continue Reading

Small NJ Medical Practice Becomes 18th Target of OCR’s HIPAA Right of Access Enforcement Initiative

A small New Jersey plastic surgery practice, Village Plastic Surgery (“VPS”), has become the eighteenth HIPAA covered entity to face an enforcement action under the Office for Civil Right’s HIPAA Right of Access Initiative. According to the OCR’s announcement, VPS agreed to a two-year corrective action plan and pay $30,000 to settle a potential HIPAA … Continue Reading

California State Healthcare Worker Accesses COVID-19 Data on More Than 2,000 Patients and Employees

As we noted in late January 2020, the spread of infectious disease raises particular concerns for healthcare workers who want to do their jobs and care for their patients, while also protect themselves and their families. Perhaps the desire to protect one’s self and family is what motivated a California state healthcare worker to access … Continue Reading

FDA Names First Acting Director of Medical Device Cybersecurity

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) named University of Michigan Associate Professor Kevin Fu Acting Director of Medical Device Security in its Center for Devices and Radiological Health. This is a newly created 12-month post in which Fu will “work to bridge the gap between medicine and computer science and help manufacturers protect medical … Continue Reading

Maryland Joins New York with a BIPA-like Biometric Privacy Bill

On January 13, House Delegate Sara Love Introduced the “Biometric Identifiers and Biometric Information Privacy Act” (the “Act”) substantially modeled after the Biometric Information Privacy Act in Illinois, 740 ILCS 14 et seq. (the “BIPA”). Enacted in 2008, the Illinois BIPA only recently triggered an avalanche of class actions in Illinois, spurring other legislative activity, including … Continue Reading

Comprehensive State Privacy Laws On the Move, How Should Organizations Evaluate Them?

Virginia may be the first state to follow California’s lead on consumer privacy legislation, but it certainly will not be the last. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) observed, “State-Level momentum for comprehensive privacy bills is at an all-time high.” The IAPP maintains a map of state consumer privacy legislative activity, with in-depth analysis comparing key provisions. … Continue Reading

You Have Heard of the BIPA, But What About the GIPA?

Enacted in 2008, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14 et seq. (the “BIPA”), went largely unnoticed until a few years ago when a handful of cases sparked a flood of class action litigation over the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of biometric information. Seeing thousands of class action lawsuits, organizations have reevaluated … Continue Reading

Top 10 for 2021 – Happy Data Privacy Day!

In honor of Data Privacy Day, we provide the following “Top 10 for 2021.”  While the list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide some hot topics for organizations to consider in 2021. COVID-19 privacy and security considerations. During 2020, COVID-19 presented organizations large and small with new and unique data privacy and security … Continue Reading

CDC Expands Guidance on Workplace SARS-CoV-2 Testing to Require Informed Consent

As employers continue to grapple with a safe return to the workplace, on January 21, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance for businesses and employers on SARS-CoV-2 testing of employees, as part of a more comprehensive approach to reducing transmission of the virus in non-healthcare workplaces. While the CDC … Continue Reading

Want to Know if Your Employees Received the COVID-19 Vaccine? Some Best Practices to Consider

While its rollout has been slow, the vaccine is being administered across the U.S. and in other countries. As of January 15, 2021, nearly 36 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, just over 11 million in the U.S. For a variety of reasons, organizations want to know whether their workforce members (employees, … Continue Reading

OCR Releases Report Summarizing HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance Failures

In the final days of 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Health and Human Service (HHS) released a HIPAA Audits Industry Report (“the Report”), that could be quite helpful to covered entities and business associates for tackling HIPAA compliance as we enter the new year.  The Report examines OCR’s findings from … Continue Reading

As Voice Recognition Technology Market Surges, Organizations Face Privacy and Cybersecurity Concerns

A new report released by Global Market Insights, Inc. last month estimates that the global market valuation for voice recognition technology will reach approximately $7 billion by 2026, in main part due to the surge of AI and machine learning across a wide array of devices including smartphones, healthcare apps, banking apps and connected cars, … Continue Reading

Hacked Healthcare Provider Refuses to Pay Ransom, Attackers Target Psychotherapy Patients

Earlier this year, we reported on an evolution in the form of cyberattack known as ransomware –attackers transitioning from denying affected users access to critical data by encrypting it to removing data from the compromised systems and threatening public release in exchange for payment. These attacks typically target the companies maintaining the data. However, attackers … Continue Reading

Indiana AG Proposed Regulations Creating Corrective Action Plan Requirement and Cybersecurity Safe Harbor

A proposal by Indiana’s Attorney General Curtis Hill on Wednesday would add a significant step in the incident response process for responding to breaches of security affecting Indiana residents. On Wednesday, during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce virtual event, he announced his proposed rule designed to better protect Hoosiers from cyberattacks. It is expected that … Continue Reading

OCR Releases New Guidance on HIPAA for Mobile Health Technology

Over the past few years, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights in Action (OCR) has made countless efforts to enhance its Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidance and other related resources on its website. Last week, the OCR launched a new feature … Continue Reading

OCR is Serious About Patients’ Rights to Access Records, Announcing Enforcement Actions Against 5 Providers

When providers, health plans, business associates, and even patients and plan participants think of the HIPAA privacy and security rules (‘HIPAA Rules”), they seem to be more focused on the privacy and security aspects of the HIPAA Rules. That is, for example, safeguarding an individual’s protected health information (PHI) to avoid data breaches or avoiding … Continue Reading

HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates Need an IT Asset Inventory List, OCR Recommends

Last week, in its Cybersecurity Summer Newsletter, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) published best practices for creating an IT asset inventory list to assist healthcare providers and business associates in understanding where electronic protected health information (ePHI) is located within their organization, and improve HIPAA Security Rule compliance.  OCR investigations often find that organizations … Continue Reading

OCR Warns HIPAA Covered Entities: When You Learn About HIPAA Violations, Fix Them

Roger Severino, Director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides advice for HIPAA covered health care providers: When informed of potential HIPAA violations, providers owe it to their patients to quickly address problem areas to safeguard individuals’ health information According to OCR allegations, a … Continue Reading
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