With the news of the recent cyber-attack and resulting data breach at health insurance giant Anthem Inc., the buzz around data security and privacy is again high. The Anthem breach serves as a reminder to those entities subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that failing to keep protected health information secure… Continue Reading
Like many federal statutes, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) contains a provision governing how the statute is designed to interact with similar or otherwise related state laws. When this type of provision is used to override or supplant similar state laws, the provision is called “preemptive.” On November 11, 2014,… Continue Reading
On July 23, 2014, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced a consent judgment with an out-of-state Rhode Island hospital, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (“WIH” or the “Hospital”), resolving a lawsuit against WIH for violations of federal and state information security and privacy laws involving the loss of over 12,000 Massachusetts residents’ sensitive patient… Continue Reading
We have heard the well-publicized stories of stolen laptops and resulting violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and we generally recognize the inherent security risks and potential for breach of unsecured electronic protected health information posed by computer hard drives. We remember to “wipe” the personal data off of… Continue Reading
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published on its website a series of factsheets designed to educate consumers unfamiliar with their rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. These four factsheets are described in detail below. I. OCR Consumer Factsheet:… Continue Reading
Recently announced changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rule represent one of the most significant developments in health care privacy law in the past 10 years. Known as the final omnibus rule, the changes were announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on January 17,… Continue Reading
For the fourth time since the Massachusetts data security regulations took effect in March 2010, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) has settled allegations that Massachusetts-based entities violated the regulations. On January 7, 2013, Suffolk Superior Court approved consent judgments pursuant to which five entities agreed to collectively pay $140,000 to settle allegations that they… Continue Reading
On January 17, 2013, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the final omnibus rule that among other things (1) increases patient privacy protections; (2) provides individuals with new rights to receive a copy of their electronic medical record in an electronic form; and (3) provides individuals with the right to… Continue Reading
As physicians, nurses, therapists and health care providers continue to utilize new smart phones, tablets, and laptops in caring for patients, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has responded with educational videos, worksheets and guidance to help health care providers create a “culture of compliance and awareness” and to protect patients’ Protected Health… Continue Reading
On November 26, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) published a thirty-two page document titled “Guidance Regarding Methods for De-identification of Protected Health Information in Accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule” (“De-Identification Guidance”). OCR described the guidance document as a culmination of two… Continue Reading
As health care providers, patients, family members, friends, and disaster relief agencies such as the American Red Cross continue to grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy it is important to be mindful of privacy regulations and to prepare in advance for the next emergency. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”… Continue Reading
On June 26, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entered into a settlement with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) for $1.7 million as well as a corrective action plan (CAP) for alleged security violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This represents the first HHS… Continue Reading
HHS reached a settlement on March 12, 2012 with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (“BCBST”) for $1.5 million stemming from a 2009 data breach. This settlement represents the first under the HITECH Act.
One April 17, 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) reached a settlement with Phoenix Cardiac Surgery (“PSC”) for alleged violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.
On January 19, 2012, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson exercised her authority under the HITECH Act by filing a lawsuit against a business associate for the failure to protect protected health information (PHI) and for the failure to disclose the extent to which PHI was utilized. The case alleges that Accretive Health, Inc., a debt collection… Continue Reading