Prison Time for Privacy Breach of PHI; OCR Breach List Continues to Grow; More Training Needed

Health Data Management  reported in its April 29, 2010, online HDM Daily that “[a] former researcher at the UCLA School of Medicine has been sentenced to four months in federal prison for violations of the HIPAA privacy rule.”  You may access and read the article by Joseph Goedert,  “Prison for HIPAA Privacy Violater“. On the same day, April 29, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported on its Web site 67 entities reporting “Breaches Affecting 500 or More Individuals” over the period September 22, 2009 to March 19, 2010.  That is up from the 36 that OCR listed on its initial…

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HHS Strengthens HIPAA Enforcement

On Friday, October 30, 2009, HHS published in the Federal Register its Interim Final Rule that strengthens HIPAA enforcement under HITECH Act civil penalty revisions enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009.  “These HITECH Act revisions significantly increase the penalty amounts the Secretary [of HHS] may impose for violations of the HIPAA rules and encourage prompt corrective action,” according to the HHS press release.  The Interim Final Rule is effective as federal policy on November 30, 2009, and HHS requests comments by December 29, 2009. With the definition of ‘breach’ in the HITECH Act moving privacy and security violations under one requirement requiring…

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Are You Subject to HIPAA Privacy Rules when Publishing Confidential Health Information on a Social Network?

It’s unlikely the social networking sites are health care providers, so HIPAA’s privacy rule doesn’t apply; but other privacy business practices are likely to affect you. First, tackle the HIPAA Privacy question by responding to the following questions. » Are you a healthcare provider that conducts transactions electronically? » Are you a healthcare clearinghouse? (Do you process healthcare claims?) » Are you a health plan? (insurance payer) If you answered no to these questions, you are not a covered entity under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. That said, you probably are more concerned about users sharing health information online that if stolen, could be used in identity theft. Consumers (patients) often use…

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Final HIPAA Enforcement Rule

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164 | RIN 0991–AB29 HIPAA Administrative Simplification: Enforcement AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, HHS. ACTION: Final rule. Download (Requires Acrobat Reader)