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HealtHITechLaw HIPAA, HITECH and Beyond

Tag Archives: Enforcement

Largest HIPAA Settlement Announced by HHS

Posted in Breach, Enforcement

Many thanks once again to our colleague, Robin Canowitz, for authoring this post. In the largest HIPAA settlement yet to be announced, two New York organizations have agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle allegations that they failed to secure the electronic health information (ePHI) of thousands of their patients.  New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) and… Continue Reading

OCR TO BEGIN SECOND ROUND OF HIPAA AUDITS

Posted in Enforcement, OCR Audits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has announced that it is gearing up for its second round of HIPAA compliance audits later this year.  The HIPAA Audit Program is authorized under Section 13411 of the HITECH Act and is intended to assess compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security,… Continue Reading

Dermatology Practice Hit With $150,000 HIPAA Penalty

Posted in Breach, Enforcement

2013 ended like it started – with OCR actively monitoring and enforcing health care provider HIPAA compliance.  On December 26, 2013, OCR imposed a $150,000 penalty and a corrective action plan upon a Massachusetts dermatology physician practice arising out of a self-reported HIPAA breach.   See Resolution Agreement. In October 2011, Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C. of… Continue Reading

Employee Sentenced to 3 Years for Violating HIPAA

Posted in Enforcement

A nursing assistant at a Florida assisted living facility was sentenced last week to 37 months in prison for violating HIPAA’s prohibition on the wrongful disclosure of patient health information.  The employee negotiated the sale of Social Security numbers with an undercover Tampa police detective.  According to the criminal complaint, the employee obtained information from the assisted… Continue Reading

The Final Omnibus HIPAA Rule: Are You Ready?

Posted in Enforcement, Rulemaking

As we mentioned in last week’s Webinar on the HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule, there are less than nine short months for covered entities and their business associates (and all downstream business associates) to comply with the HIPAA final rules.  For those entities that have already taken steps following the release of the HITECH interim rules, the… Continue Reading

HIPAA Final Rule Clarifies Business Associate Obligations

Posted in Rulemaking

Business Associates:  You’re on notice. When the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH”) was enacted nearly four years ago, business associates were aware that HIPAA compliance was going to be required of them – they were just not sure of the extent.  Historically, business associates have been required to comply with… Continue Reading

HIPAA Criminal Liability May Be Significant

Posted in Enforcement

A recent decision serves as a reminder that violations of HIPAA may trigger criminal liability. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a former hospital employee is subject to HIPAA’s criminal penalties for the unauthorized access to patient records after he was terminated.  The former employee was sentenced to four months in prison, followed… Continue Reading

HIPAA Enforcement Targets Small Physician Practice

Posted in Enforcement

A 5-physician practice in Phoenix was the target of HHS Office of Civil Right’s (“OCR”) most recent enforcement action.  The practice agreed to pay HHS a resolution amount of $100,000, as well as enter into a Corrective Action Plan, for its fialure to comply the most fundamental of HIPAA requirements.  As I discussed at the… Continue Reading

HIPAA Business Associate Becomes Target of State AG Enforcement

Posted in Business Associate, Enforcement

A recent complaint filed by the Minnesota State Attorney General against a HIPAA business associate seeks to recover statutory damages for multiple alleged violations of the HIPAA Security Rule.  Following last year’s HHS OCR enforcement targeting HIPAA covered entities, this latest HIPAA enforcement should place all business associates on notice that enforcement authorities have them… Continue Reading

Proposed 2013 Budget Will Decrease Funding for OCR HIPAA Enforcement

Posted in Enforcement

The President’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposes to decrease funding for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) by $2 million.  The estimated budget allocates $39 million to the agency charged with HIPAA enforcement, down from an estimated $41 million in fiscal 2012.  In light of OCR’s enhanced enforcement capabilities… Continue Reading

FINAL HITECH RULES IMMINENT: ARE YOU READY?

Posted in Rulemaking

The Office of Civil Rights has set a March 2012 target date for release of the long-awaited final HITECH rules.  These rules amend HIPAA’s privacy and security regulations, and put real teeth into the government’s HIPAA enforcement efforts as they relate to non-compliance by health care providers (as well as other covered entities) and their… Continue Reading