By

Meenakshi Datta

14 December 2018

HHS Requests Feedback on HIPAA Changes Designed to Improve Care Coordination

On December 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published in the Federal Register a request for information (RFI) titled “Modifying HIPAA Rules to Improve Coordinated Care.” The RFI seeks public input on a broad range of potential reforms to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations with a focus on enhancing care coordination. Though only a preliminary step on the path to potential regulatory reform, the RFI’s scope is significant, as is the opportunity it affords stakeholders interested in sharing early input as HHS considers reforms to key health information privacy requirements. (more…)

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19 November 2018

Proposed Changes to Federal Health Privacy Regulations Now at OMB for Review

The Administration is preparing to release a Request for Information (“RFI”) on potential modifications to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules.  The draft RFI was recently submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for pre-release review.

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18 August 2016

Advocate Health to Pay Largest Ever HIPAA Settlement; HHS Flags Failure to Conduct Comprehensive, Organization-wide Risk Assessment

On Thursday, August 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that Advocate Health Care Center (Advocate Health) agreed to pay  $5.55 million to settle multiple violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This is the largest HIPAA settlement to date against a single entity, and according to OCR, is due to the severity of the HIPAA violations and the length of time that those violations were allowed to persist. OCR alleged that in some instances, the purported violations date back to the effective date of the HIPAA Security Rule.

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07 July 2016

OCR Announces First HIPAA Settlement With a Business Associate

On June 24, 2016, Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (“CHCS”) entered into a resolution agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) Security Rule after the theft of a CHCS mobile device compromised the protected health information (“PHI”) of 412 nursing home residents.  This is OCR’s first settlement with a HIPAA business associate.  As part of the settlement, CHCS agreed to enter into a two-year corrective action plan (“CAP”) and pay a monetary penalty of $650,000.

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25 November 2015

Employee of Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Criminally Charged with Wrongful Disclosure of Patient Information for Marketing Purpose

On October 16, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts filed a criminal information against a former Warner Chilcott district manager alleging that he had obtained and used patient protected health information (PHI) in violation of the criminal provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The information alleges that this criminal violation occurred in connection with a scheme to promote Warner Chilcott’s osteoporosis drug Atelvia. The charge against former employee Landon Eckles is significant because it appears to be the first time a criminal prosecution under HIPAA has been brought against an employee of a pharmaceutical manufacturer for an alleged HIPAA privacy violation. Eckles pleaded guilty to the charges on November 12.

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14 October 2015

OCR Launches HIPAA Portal for Mobile Health Developers

On Monday, October 5, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released an online platform for mobile health developers and others interested in the intersection of information technology and health information privacy and security. Interested parties can submit questions and comments on issues related to compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

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15 July 2015

Precision Medicine Initiative: Proposed Privacy & Trust Principles

The White House is soliciting public comments on its Proposed Privacy and Trust Principles (the Proposed Principles) for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). PMI is a federal initiative to support research, technology and policies that enable the development of individualized treatments, and is backed by a $215 million investment under President Obama’s 2016 Budget.

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