On July 11, 2019, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that his office had entered into a consent decree and $10 million settlement with Premera Blue Cross (“Premera”) that stems from a 2014-2015 breach that affected more than 11 million individuals. The settlement, which includes a payment of roughly $5.4 million to Washington state and $4.6 million to a coalition of 29 other state Attorneys General (the “Multistate AGs”), is one of the largest ever for a breach involving protected health information (“PHI”) and comes just one month after another notable HIPAA settlement involving a similar coalition of state AGs.

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On May 6, 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights announced that it had entered into a resolution agreement and $3 million settlement with Touchstone Medical Imaging. The settlement is the first OCR HIPAA enforcement action in 2019, following an all-time record year of HIPAA enforcement in 2018.
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Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights entered into a resolution agreement and record settlement of $16 million with Anthem, Inc. following Anthem’s 2015 data breach, the largest breach of protected health information in history that affected approximately 79 million individuals.
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On September 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights issued an announcement containing disaster preparedness and recovery guidance in advance of Hurricane Irma. The announcement underscores key privacy and security issues for entities covered by HIPAA to help them protect individuals’ health information before, during and after emergency situations.
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On February 16, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights entered into a resolution agreement with Memorial Healthcare System that emphasized the importance of audit controls in preventing breaches of protected health information. The 5.5 million dollar settlement with Memorial is the fourth enforcement action taken by OCR in 2017, and matches the largest civil monetary ever imposed against a single covered entity.
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