Protected Health Information

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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