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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On February 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights announced a 3.2 million dollar civil monetary penalty against Children’s Medical Center of Dallas for alleged ongoing violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, following two consecutive breaches of patient ePHI.
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Recently, Aegerion Pharmaceuticals announced that it will enter into several settlements and plead guilty to two misdemeanors in connection with alleged violations of HIPAA, drug marketing regulations and securities laws. The criminal charges stem from the company’s marketing of a cholesterol drug called Juxtapid. Aegerion allegedly failed to comply with risk evaluation and management strategies and marketed Juxtapid (which is labeled with a warning about liver toxicity) without proper directions for use. 
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