Over 10 Million Individuals Now Affected by Large Data Breaches, as Reported on OCR Web site

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, covered entities are required to report to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) any privacy or security breach affecting 500 or more individuals within 60 days of discovery of the breach by the covered entity or its business associate.  The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is responsible for privacy and security enforcement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and HITECH Act provisions that strengthened privacy and security enforcement, is required to post those breaches on…

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Nearly 8.3 Million Individuals Impacted by 249 Privacy and Security Breaches Reported by HHS; More Training on Safeguarding PHI Required

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, covered entities are required to report to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) any privacy or security breach affecting 500 or more individuals within 60 days of discovery of the breach by the covered entity or its business associate.  The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is responsible for privacy and security enforcement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and HITECH Act provisions that strengthened privacy and security enforcement, is required to post those breaches…

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200 Breaches Impacting Almost 5.9 Million Individuals, with Theft and Loss of Laptops and PEDs Major Cause

December 2, 2010.M Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, covered entities are required to report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) any breach affecting 500 or more individuals within 60 days of discovery of the breach by the covered entity or its business associate.  The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is responsible for HIPAA privacy and security enforcement,  is required to post these HIPAA privacy or security breaches on its Web site (please note that this URL is a change from the initial…

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OCR Reports 107 Breaches Affecting Over 4 Million Individuals (II)

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regularly updates its Web site listing of breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. As of July 2, 2010, there were 107 breaches listed that were reported to have occurred between September 22, 2009 and June 11, 2010. Individuals affected by these publicly listed breaches totaled 4,086,980. Six of the 107 breaches, or 5.6% of the total, affected 3,353,627 individuals, or 82% of the total. This is the second of three postings that analyzes the data from these 107 breaches. This posting (II) covers paper breaches. The first posting (I) covered electronic breaches, and the final posting (III) looks at the prevalence of business associate…

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OCR Reports 107 Breaches Affecting Over 4 Million Individuals (I)

As of the July 4th holiday weekend, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has updated again its Web site listing of breaches affecting 500 or more individuals.  As of July 2, 2010, there were 107 breaches listed that were reported to have occurred between September 22, 2009 and June 11, 2010. Individuals affected by these publicly listed breaches totaled 4,086,980.  Six of the 107 breaches, or 5.6% of the total, affected 3,353,627 individuals, or 82% of the total.  This is the first of three postings that analyzes the data from these 107 breaches.  This posting (I) covers electronic breaches, the next posting (II) covers hard copy (paper) breaches, and the…

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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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OCR Identifies 36 Entities with Breaches Affecting 500 or More Individuals

On Monday, February 22, 2010, the federal government, through the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), began enforcing the Breach Notification Rule for breaches occurring on or after that date.  The Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information; Interim Final Rule, was published in the Federal Register on Monday, August 24, 2009 [74 FR 42739-42770] and was effective September 23, 2009.  Since September 22, 2009, 36 breaches of privacy or security of protected health information (PHI) affecting 500 or more individuals have been reported to OCR.  The total number of individuals affected was 1,073,657, with two of the breaches involving 359,000 (FL)…

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Six Primary Goals of the HITECH Breach Notification Requirement

The first part of the HITECH Act is called “Improved Privacy Provisions and Security Provisions”. Section 13402 is the section that starts the discussion of privacy and security and is titled “Notification in case of breach”. This section accomplishes the following: Identifies who this section applies to: Covered Entities and Business Associates. Defines the time frame as to when breaches should be reported to individuals, and depending on severity, mass media, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The type of information that must appear in the notification letters. Definition of Unsecured Protected Health Information. Note that the HITECH Act delegated the final definition to the HHS vis…

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HITECH and HIPAA Training: Time to Double Down

As the healthcare industry continues to digest profound HITECH changes to HIPAA Privacy and Security rules, two observations already are apparent and indisputable for covered entities and their business associates.  First, time and resources spent on a workforce that is well-trained on the Privacy and Security rules will be an investment of exponential value. Second, enforcement of those same rules will make negligent and uncorrected errors very costly. A well-trained workforce makes fewer mistakes, and identifies and fixes those that it makes. A workforce that violates the rules because it does not know them or does not care to know them makes an inviting target for HITECH’s new enforcement initiatives….

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Three Key Properties of HIPAA Privacy and Security of Protected Health Information

HIPAA.com has received from its readers requests for information on topics related to HIPAA Administrative Simplification Privacy and Security Rules and to updates to those rules reflected in the HITECH Act provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009.  Recently, HIPAA.com answered the question of particular interest to several readers:  what exactly is protected health information (PHI)?  In this posting, we answer the question:  what are the fundamental properties that underlie privacy and security of protected health information? Three Key Properties The three key properties that underpin privacy and security under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are availability,…

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