Disclosure Of Student Mental Health Records: Teachable Moment From Oregon

This month’s column in the Albany County Bar Association Newsletter reviews the situation that unfolded earlier this year at the University of Oregon.  The university, which had been put on notice of a tort claim by a student in connection with an alleged sexual assault,  controversially obtained the treatment records of the same student from an on-campus […]

A Boston hospital pays when its employees neglect HIPAA

After two investigations by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“HHS”), St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, a Boston-based hospital, has agreed to a Resolution Agreement with HHS. The Resolution Agreement appears to settle two apparently unrelated HIPAA issues at the same facility in 2012 and 2014.

New York Proposes Overhaul of Its Data Breach Statute and a New Data Security Standard in the Wake of Recent Cyber Attacks

The largest data security breaches ever reported have occurred in the last several years. The organizations whose data security systems were compromised in connection with these massive breaches include Anthem, Ebay, Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase, Adobe and now the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management. Not only is the scope of these breaches […]

Expanding Their Arsenal: Criminal Prosecution of HIPAA Breaches on the Rise

Over the past year, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) has taken a more aggressive stance in enforcing the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  The largest settlement for a data breach to date was just announced earlier this year between OCR and New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University. However, […]

Congress Questions ONC’s Authority to Pursue Health IT Safety Center

The House of Representatives has grown increasingly skeptical of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information (“ONC”) and its plans to expand its programming and reach.  House members have questioned whether the ONC has the authority to make changes it has recently proposed. In a June 3, 2014, letter to the Office of […]

“I Might Be Injured, Someday…Maybe?” Courts Question Plaintiffs’ Standing in HIPAA Breach Suits Alleging Future Harm

Illinois courts have now dismissed two class action law suits against Advocate Health and Hospitals Corporation (“Advocate”), stemming from a July 2013 breach of personal health information (“PHI”) when four unencrypted laptop computers were stolen from Advocate’s administrative offices.  The computers collectively contained the PHI, including names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, diagnoses, […]

FTC Seeks Changes to Protect Consumer Health Information

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is urging Congress to ensure the data brokerage industry becomes more transparent and accountable, which could change the way consumers’ personal, health-related information is gathered and shared.  These recommendations may change the landscape of the HIPAA regulations to better ensure protection of sensitive health information. On May 27, 2014, the […]

HIPAA Violation Settlement for Failure to Establish Breach Notification Policies and Procedures

A Massachusetts dermatology practice, APDerm, has agree to make a $150,000 payment and enter into a corrective action plan with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights in order to settle potential violations of HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules.  According to HHS, this is the first settlement entered […]

WellPoint Pays $1.7 Million to Resolve Alleged HIPAA Violations

The managed care company WellPoint Inc. has reached a Resolution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to settle allegations that it violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. WellPoint agreed to pay $1.7 million in connection with this settlement. […]