Tag Archives: HIPAA

COVID-19 and HIPAA: OCR Guidance on Disclosures to Law Enforcement, First Responders, and Public Health Authorities

On March 24, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance on how HIPAA covered entities may disclose protected health information (PHI) about an individual who has been infected with or exposed to COVID-19 to law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders, and public health authorities in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.… More

Enforcement of HIPAA Rules for Telehealth Relaxed Due to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced it will “exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.  This notification is effective immediately.”… More

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights BULLETIN: HIPAA Privacy and Novel Coronavirus

The coronavirus and Covid-19 are impacting everything and everyone, and certainly health information privacy.  Here is a useful summary of health information issues to be mindful of from HHS OCR on HIPAA privacy and the coronavirus/Covid-19.  Topics covered in the bulletin include:

  • Sharing Patient Information
  • Disclosures to Family, Friends, and Others Involved in an Individual’s Care and for Notification
  • Disclosures to Prevent a Serious and Imminent Threat
  • Disclosures to the Media or Others Not Involved in the Care of the Patient/Notification

For more information on HIPAA and Public Health,… More

Hospital Fined $85,000 by OCR for Failure to Provide Timely Access to Patient Records

Today, in the first settlement of its kind, the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“OCR”) announced that Bayfront Health St. Petersburg (“Bayfront”) has paid $85,000 to OCR and has adopted a corrective action plan to settle a potential violation of the right of access provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  This is also the first enforcement action under OCR’s Right of Access Initiative,… More

Partner Colin Zick Discusses Sports Betting and Biometric Data with the Boston Globe

As Massachusetts lawmakers consider whether to legalize sports betting, professional athletes fear that their biometric data – which can be collected and analyzed as part of their training – could become a commodity in this form of gambling. Professional sports leagues say that they have no plans to make this data available for gamblers, but the use of biometric data from wearable health devices is not covered by health privacy laws.… More

HHS to Reduce Top HIPAA Fines Based on “Level of Culpability”

In a Notification of Enforcement Discretion Regarding HIPAA Civil Money Penalties issued on April 23, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) exercised “its discretion in how it applies HHS regulations concerning the assessment of Civil Money Penalties (CMPs) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as such provision was amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act” to reduce the maximum annual fines it will impose for HIPAA violations.… More

“You Are Known By The Company You Keep” — Including Vendors Without Business Associate Agreements

The concept that one is known by the company one keeps dates back to ancient times (the particular phrase is attributed to both Aesop and the Book of Proverbs).  But this simple aphorism continues to be true.  A recent example is the $500,000 that Advanced Care Hospitalists (ACH) had to pay to the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OCR) to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.… More

The Cost of a Free Press: Allergy Practice Pays $125,000 to Settle Physician’s Disclosure of Patient Information on TV

Allergy Associates of Hartford, P.C. (“Allergy Associates”), has agreed to pay $125,000 to the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR“) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and to adopt a corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  Allergy Associates is a health care practice that specializes in treating individuals with allergies, and is comprised of three doctors at four locations across Connecticut.… More