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HIPAA, HITECH & HIT Legal Issues, Developments and Other Pertinent Information Relating To The Creation, Use and Exchange of Electronic Health Records

Tag Archives: PHI

HIPAA Audits: Ready or Not Here They Come! (Part 1)

Posted in HIPAA Business Associates, HIPAA Enforcement, Privacy & Security

Jessica Forbes Olson and T.J. Lang write: On March 21, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced it will launch a second round of HIPAA audits during 2016. As with the first round of audits, in round two OCR will be reviewing compliance with HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification rules. New for this… Continue Reading

There’s An App For That Health Information – But is it HIPAA-Covered?

Posted in EHR and PHR, Health IT

“Maybe” is the take-away from recent guidance posted on OCR’s mHealth Developer Portal, making me wonder whether the typical health app user will know when her health information is or is not subject to HIPAA protection. The guidance is clear and straightforward and contains no real surprises to those of us familiar with HIPAA, but… Continue Reading

Death and HIPAA Privacy Rights: What Would Justice Scalia Have Said?

Posted in Privacy & Security

This week’s headlines read: “Scalia’s death probably linked to obesity, diabetes and coronary artery disease, physician says” and “Scalia suffered from many health problems”.   An article from a couple of weeks ago, immediately following reports of Justice Scalia’s February 13th death, reported that Scalia’s doctor said he had chronic cardiovascular disease. These articles do not… Continue Reading

Emailing PHI? NIST Seeks Comments on Trustworthy Email by November 30, 2015

Posted in Health IT, HIPAA Enforcement, Privacy & Security

When and how should you email PHI, if at all?  The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) offers guidance as to the permissibility of sending PHI via email in this “Frequently Asked Question” answer, but doesn’t provide specifics as to how PHI can be safely emailed.  Whether you are a covered entity or a business associate… Continue Reading

5 Practical Steps for Business Associate Compliance

Posted in HIPAA Business Associates

Congratulations!  You have a HIPAA-compliant business associate (or subcontractor) agreement in place – now what? How can you implement the agreement without becoming a HIPAA guru? There are many resources available that offer detailed guidance on risk analysis and implementation protocols (such as the Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information published by… Continue Reading

Six Tips for Physicians to Protect Patient Data on the Internet

Posted in HIPAA Enforcement, Privacy & Security

Our partner Elizabeth Litten and I were once again quoted by our good friend Marla Durben Hirsch in her recent articles in Medical Practice Compliance Alert entitled “Misapplication of Internet Application Triggers $218,400 Settlement” and “Protect Patient Data on the Internet with These 6 Steps.”  The three of us together were able to come up… Continue Reading

Hackers: Take My Health Information, But Please Don’t Take My Health

Posted in Privacy & Security, Sensitive Health Information

We know by now that protected health information (PHI) and other personal information is vulnerable to hackers.  Last week, the Washington Times reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency responsible for HIPAA enforcement, had suffered security breaches at the hands of hackers in at least five separate divisions over the… Continue Reading

Providers: Beware of HIPAA and Patient Privacy Rules During Employment Disputes

Posted in Privacy & Security

Our partner Elizabeth Litten and I were once again quoted by our good friend Marla Durben Hirsch in her recent article in Medical Practice Compliance Alert entitled “Beware of HIPAA, Patient Privacy During Practice Employment Disputes.”  The full text can be found in the March 30, 2015 issue of Medical Practice Compliance Alert, but a… Continue Reading

Doctor is Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Thousands of Patient Records

Posted in Privacy & Security

Our partner Elizabeth Litten and I were quoted by our good friend Marla Durben Hirsch in her recent article in Medical Practice Compliance Alert entitled “Doctor is Arrested for Stealing Thousands of Patient Records.”  While the full text can be found in the February 16, 2015 issue of Medical Practice Compliance Alert, the following considerations… Continue Reading

When HIPAA Applies to Patient Assistance Programs (and When it Doesn’t), Part 2

Posted in Privacy & Security

I posed a question in Part 1 of this post which I will summarize here:  is personal health information provided to a Patient Assistance Program (PAP) in order to help with covering the cost of prescription drugs protected as “protected health information” (PHI) under HIPAA? Let’s use two examples.  Say Patient A, who knows he… Continue Reading

When HIPAA Applies to Patient Assistance Programs (and When It Doesn’t)

Posted in Privacy & Security

Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) have proliferated in recent years, despite the fact that many commonly-prescribed medications have lost patent protection and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has attempted to eliminate pre-existing condition discrimination by insurance companies.  Still, drug costs remain unaffordable to many patients, particularly those with high-cost, chronic conditions, even when patients have insurance… Continue Reading

Protecting Health Information in the Context of Divorce Proceedings and Domestic Relations – Part III

Posted in Privacy & Security, Sensitive Health Information

(Part III continues Part I and Part II of this series on privacy of health information in the domestic relations context, which may be found here and here. Capitalized words not defined in this Part III shall have the meanings assigned in Part I or Part II.) 6. The situation can be further complicated by… Continue Reading

Basic HIPAA Question for Mobile Health Application Developers: What Are You?

Posted in Health IT, Privacy & Security

Health-related technology has developed light-years faster than health information privacy and security protection laws and policies, and consumers can find new mobile health applications for a wide range of purposes ranging from diabetes management to mole or rash evaluation to fitness tracking.  Smart mobile app developers wondering when and how HIPAA privacy and security requirements… Continue Reading

Not All Sensitive Health Information is Protected Health Information Under HIPAA

Posted in Sensitive Health Information

Recently our partner Keith R. McMurdy posted an entry on the Fox Rothschild Employee Benefits Legal Blog entitled “HIPAA Medical Privacy Matters: Court Permits ADA Claim to Proceed.”  While the full text of the excellent blog posting can be found here, I thought that a specific HIPAA point in Keith’s posting was well worth emphasizing: … Continue Reading

New NJ Standard More Stringent than HIPAA

Posted in New Jersey

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill (S.562) into law on January 9, 2015 that will impose a standard more stringent than HIPAA on health insurance carriers authorized (i.e., licensed) to issue health benefits plans in New Jersey.  Effective August 1, 2015, such carriers will be required to secure computerized records that include certain personal… Continue Reading

HIPAA Holiday Cheer (Lament?)

Posted in HIPAA Enforcement

On the twelfth day of breaches my hacker sent to me: Twelve Data Downloads Eleven Plundered Patches Ten Missed BA Contracts Nine Malware Installs Eight Mis-sent Faxes Seven Stolen Laptops Six Snooping Staffers Five Old NPPs Four Lost Thumbdrives Three Re-sent Texts Two Pop-up Links … And a Bill for Compliance Auditing. For a glimpse… Continue Reading

Celebrities’ Health Information Compromised by Sony Hacking

Posted in Privacy & Security, Sensitive Health Information

Fox Rothschild partner Scott Vernick recently appeared as a guest on the Willis Report to discuss the fallout of the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment.  Click here to view the segment.  Celebrities’ individually identifiable health information, some of which appears to be protected health information (“PHI”) under HIPAA, was among the sensitive personal data hacked… Continue Reading

Patient Support Groups, Email and the Duty to Warn

Posted in Privacy & Security

I was recently asked whether the sending of an unencrypted group email to participants in a health-related support group violated HIPAA.  Faithful blog readers can guess my first question:  “Was the sender a covered entity, business associate, or subcontractor?”  Many support group entities are non-profit organizations staffed by volunteers and do not meet the definition… Continue Reading

Medical Device, “Heal Thyself” from Data Hacking

Posted in Privacy & Security

Innovative health care-related technology and developing telemedicine products have the potential for dramatically changing the way in which health care is accessed.  The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) grappled with some of the complexities that arise as information is communicated electronically in connection with the provision of medical care and issued a Model Policy… Continue Reading

“Step Away from that Subpoena” and Review HIPAA Obligations Before Producing PHI

Posted in Privacy & Security

If you receive a subpoena, discovery request, or even a court order demanding the release or production of documents or files that may contain protected health information (PHI), are you obligated to comply?  The surprising answer, in many cases, is “no”.  Even more surprising may be the fact that, in attempting to comply with what… Continue Reading