Healthcare Information Security

HIPAA and Compliance News

Why Latest OCR HIPAA Audits are About Compliance, Action

August 24, 2016 - The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the second round of its HIPAA audit program on July 11, 2016, sending out notification emails to 167 covered entities. The desk audits will review how healthcare organizations adhere to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules. Even though the OCR HIPAA audits are directly affecting a handful of healthcare organizations, all covered...


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OCR Aims to Improve Smaller Data Breach Investigation Process

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Starting in August 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will start an initiative to better investigate smaller data breaches. The data breach investigation process will look further into the root causes of incidents affecting fewer than 500...

The Role of Nurses in HIPAA Compliance, Healthcare Security

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Nurses deal with private information all day every day, from nursing stations and offices to exam rooms to patient bedsides to operating rooms. However, due to their focus on a patient’s health and their constant contact with patient data,...

Advocate Health Care Agrees to $5.55M OCR HIPAA Settlement

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UPDATE: Since publication of this report, Advocate has issued an official statement on the settlement.  Illinois-based healthcare system Advocate Health Care (Advocate) recently agreed to a $5.5 million OCR HIPAA settlement, stemming from...

Build a Strong Security Baseline with the HIPAA Security Rule

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Performing regular system updates, conducting annual employee training, and ensuring comprehensive backup plans with disaster recovery planning are all key tools in preparing for healthcare ransomware attacks, according to Matt Fisher, chair...

OCR Clarifies HIPAA Desk Audits, Unique Device Identifiers

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With the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announcing the HIPAA desk audits earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wanted to ensure that covered entities fully understand the process and how it will potentially affect...

Latest Round of OCR HIPAA Audits Not a Reason for Panic

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The second round of the OCR HIPAA audits is officially underway, with desk audits being announced in July 2016. Notification letters were sent out to 167 covered entities on Monday, July 11, that they had been selected for the desk audit portion...

UMMC Agrees to $2.75M HIPAA Settlement after Multiple Violations

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Following numerous reports of alleged HIPAA violations that led to a healthcare data breach, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) recently agreed to a $2.75 million HIPAA settlement. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) explained...

What Does Increased Patient Access Mean for HIPAA Compliance?

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More individuals than ever before now have electronic access to their own health information, according to a recent report from the American Hospital Association (AHA). However, organizations are required to offer patient access as part of their...

OHSU Health Data Breaches Lead to $2.7M OCR Agreement

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Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) recently signed a resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) following two health data breaches it suffered in 2013. OHSU will pay $2.7 million as part of the agreement, and will also...

Desk Audits Begin for OCR Phase Two HIPAA Audits

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The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) officially launched phase two of its HIPAA audit program earlier this week, sending out notification letters to selected covered entities. The letters were sent out on July 11, according to an OCR email, with...

Ensuring HIPAA Compliance Before a Potential HIPAA Audit

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Businesses and healthcare providers are facing increasing pressure to meet and maintain HIPAA compliance standards. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it will be performing a new round of random audits throughout 2016. Before 2016, 98...

HHS Releases Healthcare Ransomware, HIPAA Guidance

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Conducting a risk analysis, regular user training, and maintaining an overall contingency plan are just a few of the recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in its recent healthcare ransomware and HIPAA guidance....

Are Insurance Companies Liable for Possible HIPAA Violations?

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An appellate court recently ruled that an insurance company was required to defend a hospital in a class-action complaint that the hospital in question was responsible for potential HIPAA violations. The Travelers Indemnity Company of America...

Business Associate Agrees to $650K OCR HIPAA Settlement

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The latest OCR HIPAA settlement further underscores that business associates (BAs) need to ensure that they are adhering to the same data security standards as covered entities. Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia...

OCR HIPAA Settlements Highlight PHI Disclosure, Compliance

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Understanding the proper safeguards when it comes to HIPAA compliance, following proper PHI disclosure methods, and implementing comprehensive business associate agreements are all key areas to keeping data secure, according to the 2016 OCR HIPAA...

HIPAA Minimum Necessary Standard Discussed in Hearing

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The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics’ (NCVHS) subcommittee on privacy, confidentiality, and security held a hearing last week to help the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop better guidance on the HIPAA...

How Do HIPAA Rules, Patient Privacy Apply in Emergencies?

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No healthcare organization wants to compromise patient privacy, and HIPAA rules were designed to ensure that this does not occur.   Covered entities of all sizes should understand how the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies in various situations....

ONC Releases Educational Videos on HIPAA Rights for Patients

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In an effort to better educate individuals on HIPAA rights for patients, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) released a series of videos that explain the rights patients have to access their health information. Additionally, ONC revealed...

HHS Clarifies HIPAA Regulation Patient Right of Access Costs

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While HIPAA regulations state that patients have a right of access to their own health information, many individuals are left wondering just how much it will cost them to view their own PHI.  Fortunately, the Department of Health and Human...

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