My partner Elizabeth Litten and I were interviewed by Marla Durben Hirsch for her recent article in Medical Practice Compliance Alert entitled “Evaluate Relationships Before Signing Business Associate Agreements.” While the full text can be found in the February 3, 2014 issue of Medical Practice Compliance Alert, the following considerations are based upon points discussed… Continue Reading
My partner Bill Maruca was quoted in Jeff Overley’s article “Historic HIPAA Fine Will Push Feds To Get Tougher” published in Law360 on Friday, February 20, 2014. The article reports on the nearly $7 million fine imposed by the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration on a contractor, health plan Triple-S Salud Inc. (“Triple-S”). Bill’s quote sums it… Continue Reading
Michael J. Coco writes: The expanded requirements under the HIPAA Omnibus Rule for a Business Associate Agreement (“BAA”) has created an increase in volume and the need for analysis of such agreements, as individuals in industries traditionally unrelated to health care – such as IT vendors –find themselves confronting issues respecting a BAA. The increase… Continue Reading
My partner Elizabeth Litten and I were interviewed by Marla Durben Hirsch for her Medical Practice Compliance Alert article “HIPAA, ICD-10 Among 6 Compliance Trends That Will Affect You in 2014.” While the full text can be found in the January 6, 2014 issue of Medical Practice Compliance Alert, a synopsis is noted below. As we… Continue Reading
What do you do if you have signed a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with a covered entity, but are getting protected health information (PHI) from the covered entity in conjunction with health care treatment you provide to the individual? What if another covered entity provider has contracted with you to provide services to that provider’s… Continue Reading
Who you are makes a big difference in how and whether you must protect individually identifiable health information under HIPAA. As we near the end of 2013, I look back at the events of the past year and am struck by the breadth and complexity of the issues we have written about on this blog… Continue Reading
I read a recent Forbes.com post by Rick Ungar (“Claims That Obamacare Website Violates Health Privacy Reveals Embarrassing Fact – GOP Does Not Understand HIPAA or Obamacare”) that revealed a truly embarrassing fact: very few of us really understand HIPAA, let alone the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Obamacare”) and its interplay… Continue Reading
Here’s the official 10th tip to help you comply with today’s Omnibus Rule deadline. However, since I had to make TIP TWO into TIPs TWO through SEVEN when I realized my time had was running out, I will continue to blog a few more tips over the coming weeks. I expect that at least a… Continue Reading
Where did the time go? Today’s the day – September 23, 2013. This is compliance day for most of the Omnibus Rule changes. I had a feeling this deadline would catch up with me faster than I would be able to blog my 10 tips, so I’m going to count “TIP TWO” as tips TWO… Continue Reading
Unless the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) makes another last-minute, litigation-inspired decision to delay the September 23, 2013 compliance date, we’re well into the 10-day countdown for compliance with most of the Omnibus Rule requirements. Here’s “TIP TWO” (however, since I’ve listed 6 specific tips here, I may need to count these as… Continue Reading
Unless the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) makes another last-minute, litigation-inspired decision to delay the September 23, 2013 compliance date, we’re on a 10-day countdown for compliance with most of the Omnibus Rule requirements. In a motion filed jointly with the plaintiff in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on… Continue Reading
This blog series has been following breaches of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) that have been reported on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) ever-lengthening parade list (the “HHS List”) of breaches of unsecured PHI affecting 500 or more individuals (the “List Breaches”). As reported in a previous blog post in this series,… Continue Reading
This blog series has been following breaches of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) that have been reported on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) ever-lengthening parade list (the “HHS List”) of breaches of unsecured PHI affecting 500 or more individuals (the “List Breaches”). Previous blog posts in this series discussed here and here… Continue Reading
If you are a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange (FFE), a “non-Exchange entity”, or a State Exchange, the answer is “Quick, report!” Those involved with the new health insurance exchanges (or “Marketplaces”? The name, like the rules, seems to be a moving and elusive target) should make note that privacy and security incidents and breaches are… Continue Reading
Tamarra Holmes writes: In recent weeks, people all around the world were made aware of a secret U.S. government surveillance program that essentially collects massive amounts of data from the general public through electronic communication providers, such as Facebook, Skype, and Google. The existence of the program, known as PRISM, was leaked by a former National… Continue Reading
Under HIPAA, where do we draw the line between a run-of-the-mill, ordinary garden variety “security incident” and a “presumed breach” when it comes to reporting PHI events? How do we describe these types of reporting obligations in business associate agreements?
On February 7, 2013, our partner Keith McMurdy, Esq., posted an excellent entry on the Employee Benefits Blog of Fox Rothschild LLP that merits republishing for our readers as well. The post outlined some direct effects of the new HIPAA Omnibus Rule on employers and their health plans.
While the summaries of closed investigations posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services list of breaches of unsecured PHI affecting 500 or more individuals continue to provide highly useful information for covered entities, business associates and subcontractors relative to confronting PHI breaches, large and small, they must be analyzed with appropriate care and attention paid to changes brought about by the recently-published Omnibus Rule.
While the undertakings of a Medicare ACO and the terminology in the Data Use Agreement for protection of patient data may differ from those of covered entities, business associates and subcontractors and their BAAs under the HIPAA/HITECH regulations, they have many striking similarities and purposes.
A thoughtful reader commented on a recent blog post in this series by highlighting the importance of evaluating the risk of harm by any covered entity that experiences a PHI security breach.
Much has been written about the circumstances surrounding the agreement of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (“MEEI”) to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the sum of $1.5 million to settle potential violations involving an alleged 2010 security breach of PHI under HIPAA. However, relatively little has been written that the 2010 breach was the second of what may be three significant PHI breaches experienced by MEEI within the last three years.
The recent paucity of postings of summaries on the Department of Health and Human Services list of large HIPAA privacy breaches by the federal Office of Civil Rights dampens the educational value that can be derived therefrom by covered entities and business associates.
The principle that individuals whose protected health information is stolen, lost, or otherwise inappropriately used, accessed, or left unsecured have no private right of action against the person or entity responsible for the breach under the HIPAA/HITECH laws may change for victims of identity theft who can show the theft was caused by a HIPAA breach, at least if the action is brought in the 11th Circuit.
Make the lengthy wait for the long-awaited HIPAA/HITECH Mega Rule more enjoyable by participating in a contest to predict the date of its publication in the Federal Register and the number of its pages.