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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expects organizations working with protected health information (PHI) to be aware of their obligation to secure the sensitive data. It is no longer acceptable to feign ignorance of the law. This is why it is necessary to be aware of any change that may require you to adjust your HIPAA compliance program.Organizations that fall victim to healthcare breaches, and lack an effective HIPAA compliance program, are subject to HIPAA audits and subsequent fines.

HIPAA fines can be extremely costly and detrimental to your organization’s reputation. Compliancy Group is dedicated to helping organizations avoid healthcare breaches and fines by providing educational resources to aid your compliance.

Recent HIPAA News!

OCR Settles Five Privacy Rule Violations

In September of 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it settled HIPAA Privacy Rule right of access violations with five separate healthcare entities. The total settlement with all five organizations amounts to $136,500. In each instance, the healthcare provider was fined, and ended up settling with OCR, for its failure to provide patients with timely access to [...]

2020-09-16T09:00:53-04:00September 16th, 2020|

When Can You Disclose PHI Without Authorization? Refusal to Disclose COVID Data Results in Nurse Firing

A nurse at Clinton County Health Department claims she was recently fired for refusing to disclose the names and addresses of patients that had tested positive for COVID to the Clinton County Sheriff's Department. The reason the nurse refused to provide the information stemmed from HIPAA law which states that PHI cannot be disclosed outside of treatment, payment, or healthcare operations, without patient authorization. That raises the [...]

2020-09-15T09:49:59-04:00September 15th, 2020|

OCR Issues Guidance for Mobile Health App Developers

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights recently issued guidance on when HIPAA applies to health information that a patient creates, manages, or organizes through the use of a health app. The guidance also covers the issue of when mobile health app developers might need to comply with the HIPAA Rules. When are Mobile Health App Developers [...]

2020-09-14T10:03:12-04:00September 14th, 2020|

Employees Involved in Unauthorized Access to Patient Medical Records of George Floyd

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), the facility that treated George Floyd, fired 13 employees for unauthorized access to patient medical records. More details are discussed below. Unauthorized Access to Patient Medical Records: What Happened HCMC recently discovered that the medical records of George Floyd were illegally accessed by employees of the organization. HCMC first discovered the breach during its routine review [...]

2020-09-11T10:46:50-04:00September 11th, 2020|

Can Universities Reveal News of Coronavirus Infections?

College students’ return to campus in the fall of 2020 has been a popular news item. At a number of schools, students have been disciplined, and in some cases, expelled, for violating rules requiring social distancing and prohibiting large gatherings. Coronavirus infections on campus have been traced to parties, social gatherings, and the fact that students and employees of colleges are all in close proximity. Shockingly, [...]

2020-09-10T09:51:58-04:00September 10th, 2020|

Are Search Engines Compromising PHI Security?

It was recently discovered that advancements in search engine capability may pose a risk to PHI security. Researchers from American College of Radiology (ACR), Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) warned healthcare professionals and radiologists of the risk of using medical images for educational purposes. How Can Search Engines Identify Medical Images Optical Character [...]

2020-09-08T10:11:45-04:00September 8th, 2020|

Would You Sell PHI? The Shocking Results of a Healthcare Study

Would you sell PHI as a healthcare worker? A new study reveals that many students soon to enter the workforce as a healthcare worker would. The results of the study and the permitted uses and disclosures of PHI are discussed below. Would You Sell PHI? The Results of the Study The healthcare study, published in July in JMIR Medical Informatics, was conducted by researchers from three universities (Florida [...]

2020-09-04T12:52:29-04:00September 2nd, 2020|

Patient Data Breach Exposes COVID-19 Patients

On August 17, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) of South Dakota sent out breach notifications to patients exposed by a June 19 data breach. The patient data breach is currently under investigation by the FBI. More details about the patient data breach is discussed below. COVID-19 Patient Data Breach DPS Fusion Center, the database used to store and share COVID-19 patients’ names [...]

2020-09-04T12:54:18-04:00August 31st, 2020|

New OCR Guidance on Completing a Risk Assessment

Recently, to provide HIPAA covered entities and business associates with assistance in completing their risk assessments, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance. The OCR guidance lays out a detailed list of IT asset inventory steps that should be taken when completing a risk analysis. More details on the OCR guidance are discussed below. Compliancy Group offers clients a full HIPAA [...]

2020-09-04T21:15:36-04:00August 27th, 2020|

$678 Million Healthcare Settlement Reached with Novartis

Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, agreed to a $678 million healthcare settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Novartis was accused of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and False Claims Act (FCA) by having healthcare providers attend and speak at events to entice providers to prescribe Novartis to their patients. The details of the healthcare settlement are discussed below. What Did Novartis Do [...]

2020-09-04T12:56:18-04:00August 26th, 2020|
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