On June 11, 2020, the California Senate amended AB-713 to the California Consumer Privacy Act. The Senate’s recent amendments impose new contractual obligations on the use or sale of de-identified information and modify the exemption from the CCPA for information used for public health purposes.
Continue Reading California Senate Proposes Amendment to CCPA to Address De-Identification and Information Used for Research and Public Health Purposes

The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a Bulletin on sharing and protecting patients’ protected health information during the COVID-19 national emergency. The Bulletin emphasizes that HIPAA-covered entities may use or disclose patients’ PHI when necessary to treat a patient, to protect the nation’s public health and for other critical purposes.
Continue Reading OCR Issues Bulletin on the Sharing and Security of PHI During Coronavirus Pandemic

The District Court for the District of Columbia recently invalidated certain Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) rules regarding an individual’s access to their protected health information (“PHI”). The Court held that: (1) individuals can only direct their electronic PHI to third parties (and not hard copy PHI); and (2) the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) Omnibus Rule provisions regarding the caps on fees that HIPAA-covered entities may charge for such requests did not follow relevant administrative law procedures.
Continue Reading District Court Limits HIPAA Right of Access

On November 7, 2019, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $1.6 million civil penalty imposed against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for violations of HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.
Continue Reading HHS Imposes 1.6 Million Dollar Civil Penalty on Texas State Agency for Health Data Breach

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.

Continue Reading Washington AG Settles with Premera on Behalf of Multistate Coalition

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.
Continue Reading OCR Settles with Medical Imaging Services Company

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.
Continue Reading OCR Enters into Record Settlement with Anthem

In its most recent cybersecurity newsletter, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights provided guidance regarding identifying vulnerabilities and mitigating the associated risks on software used to process electronic protected health information.
Continue Reading OCR Issues Guidance on Disclosures to Family, Friends and Others

The Department of Health and Human Services recently published two advance notices of proposed rulemaking that address accounting of disclosures and the potential distribution of civil monetary penalties to affected individuals.
Continue Reading HHS Publishes Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking on Accounting of Disclosures and Civil Monetary Penalties