Tag Archives: OCR

OCR Announces Intention to Move Forward With Development of Methodology to Distribute Enforcement Funds to Victims of HIPAA Violations

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) updated its agenda, outlining proposed and final rules as well as pre-rule document releases for 2018. A notable, and highly anticipated, advance notice of proposed rulemaking included on the agenda indicates OCR will seek comments on establishing a way to distribute funds collected from Health Insurance Portability and Accountability … Continue Reading

OCR Issues Alert Regarding Phishing Email Disguised as Official OCR Audit Communication

11/30/2016 Update: Today OCR issued another alert relating to the phishing email campaign and has shared that the phishing email originates from the email address OSOCRAudit@hhs-gov.us and directs individuals to a URL at http://www.hhs-gov.us. This is a subtle difference from the official email address for OCR’s HIPAA audit program, OSOCRAudit@hhs.gov. Covered entities and business associates … Continue Reading

Cloud Service Providers Beware, You May Be Subject to HIPAA Without Knowing It

The use of cloud service providers has exploded in the past several years. According to estimates from Gartner, the market for cloud services is expected to reach $204 billion in 2016. But the use of cloud service providers raises significant privacy and security concerns, especially for health care providers who are subject to the Health … Continue Reading

A Closer Look at the OCR’s Guidance on Ransomware

In the wake of several high-profile ransomware infections targeting hospitals and health care organizations, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued guidance on the growing threat of ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that denies access to systems and data. It uses strong cryptography to encrypt files … Continue Reading

OCR to Increase Efforts to Investigate Breaches Affecting Fewer Than 500 Individuals

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency tasked with investigating data breaches involving protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The mere mention of an OCR investigation can strike fear into the hearts of HIPAA privacy officers and health care … Continue Reading

OCR Continues Waving Its HIPAA Enforcement Flag: Don’t Forget About Medical Devices

The day before Thanksgiving, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the largest resolution agreement of 2015, against Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (Lahey). The incident giving rise to the $850,000 settlement was apparently an isolated theft involving 599 patients with electronic protected health information (ePHI) on … Continue Reading

OIG Emphasizes Proactive Enforcement of Privacy Rule and Monitoring of Repeat Offenders

The Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recently released Privacy Standards report assessed the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) oversight of covered entities’ compliance with the Privacy Rule as well as the extent to which Medicare Part B providers are aware of HIPAA privacy standards. To that end, the OIG found that Part B providers fell … Continue Reading

Deeper Dive: Healthcare Incidents Involving More Than 500 Individuals Are Investigated 100 Percent of the Time

We have released the inaugural BakerHostetler Data Security Incident Response Report, which provides insights generated from the review of more than 200 incidents that our attorneys advised on in 2014. The report confirms the prevalence of healthcare data breaches stemming from the implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act … Continue Reading

Malware Incident at Mental Health Nonprofit Leads to $150K Settlement with OCR

As cyberattacks targeting the healthcare industry continue to escalate, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has published its first-ever resolution agreement stemming from an incident involving malware, highlighting the importance of reviewing systems for unpatched and unsupported software that can leave patient information susceptible to malware and other … Continue Reading

Health System Investigated for Leaving PHI in Doctor’s Driveway – Settles with OCR for $800K

While OCR enforcement activity has focused on a covered entity’s safeguarding of ePHI, organizations cannot forget about PHI in non-electronic form.  To settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, Parkview Health System, Inc. (“Parkview”), a nonprofit healthcare system providing community-based healthcare services to individuals in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, entered into a resolution … Continue Reading

Get Ready! HHS OCR Announces Next Round of HIPAA Audits

To combat new risks associated with rapidly evolving health information technology, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) provides standards for the privacy of protected health information (PHI), the security of electronic protected health information (ePHI), and breach notification to individuals.   HITECH … Continue Reading

OCR Settles Potential HIPAA Violations with County Government for $215,000

Co-Authored by Charles K. Shih. To start 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued its first resolution agreement of the year and its first settlement with a county government – signaling that even local and county governments, regardless of size, must safeguard the privacy and security of patient … Continue Reading

OCR Releases Model Notices of Privacy Practices

Under the Privacy Rule,  an individual has the right to adequate notice of how a covered entity may use and disclose PHI about the individual, as well as his/her rights and the covered entity’s obligations with respect to that information.   Thus, a covered entity must develop and provide to individuals with a Notice of Privacy … Continue Reading

Health Plan Settles HHS OCR Investigation Related to Photocopier Breach for $1.2m

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) today announced its 4th resolution agreement of 2013.  Affinity Health Plan, Inc., a not-for-profit managed care plan serving the New York metropolitan area, has agreed to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules for $1,215,780.  The resolution agreement relates … Continue Reading

HHS Reaches $400,000 Settlement Of Alleged HIPAA Security Rule Violations For Disabling Firewall Protections

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reported a $400,000 settlement with Idaho State University (ISU) for alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule. The incident giving rise to the investigation by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) involved a potential exposure of … Continue Reading

OCR’s Breach Settlement the First Ever Involving Less than 500 Patients

OCR started 2013 with a bang by announcing that it had reached “the first settlement involving a breach of unprotected electronic protected health information (ePHI) affecting fewer than 500 individuals” with the Hospice of North Idaho (“HONI”). Under the resolution agreement, HONI has agreed to pay $50,000 and enter a two-year Corrective Action Plan to … Continue Reading

Reminder Annual OCR Breach Reporting is Due March 1, 2013

The breach notification interim final rule requires covered entities to submit to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notice of breaches of unsecured protected health information (PHI) (45 C.F.R. 164.408) by March 1, 2013. For breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals, a covered entity must submit to OCR its annual notification of all breaches occurring … Continue Reading

Update: Final HITECH Act Regulations Amending HIPAA Privacy And Security Will Be Published In 2012

During 2011, informal indications were given by the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and various industry experts that the final HITECH Act regulations amending the HIPAA privacy and security regulations would be published by the end of 2011. However, as of January 6, 2012, the regulations continue to be delayed, due to the numerous … Continue Reading

Privacy and Data Breach Regulatory Activity–A Year in Review

While plaintiffs continue to face an uphill battle proving damages in privacy litigation – regulatory actions and investigations seem to be increasing.  During 2011, we saw activity from many government agencies—both state and federal—including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Education (DOE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), … Continue Reading

OCR HIPAA Audit and Site Visit Pilot Program Implemented

In an effort to comply with Section 13411 of the HITECH Act, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) recently announced the implementation of a pilot program to audit covered entities and business associates to ensure they are complying with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and Breach Notification standards. OCR anticipates performing up to 150 … Continue Reading
LexBlog