$1.6 Million Civil Money Penalty for HIPAA Breach Impacting 6,617 Individuals

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The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services imposed a $1.6 million civil money penalty (CMP) against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Department of Aging and Disability Services (HHSC) for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HHSC is a Texas state agency headquartered in Austin, Texas that is responsible for the delivery of benefits and services in Texas for several programs including Medicaid for families and children, long-term care for people who are older or who have disabilities, behavioral health services, and services for women and other people with special health needs.

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$3 Million OCR HIPAA Settlement Due to Lost Flash Drive and Stolen Laptop

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The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) entered into a $3 million no-fault settlement agreement and two year corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

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$3 Million Settlement for Two Separate HIPAA Breaches Affecting Over 62,500 Individuals

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Cottage Health and the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OCR) recently entered into a $3 million no-fault settlement and three year corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This was HHS-OCR’s last HIPAA related settlement of 2018 – a record year in HIPAA enforcement activity, as detailed in this DBR on Data blog post.

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2018 An All-Time Record Year for HIPAA Enforcement Actions by HHS-OCR

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The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OCR) had a record-breaking year in 2018 with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforcement activity.  HHS-OCR entered into 10 settlements and received summary judgment in a case before an Administrative Law Judge, totaling nearly $28.7 million in enforcement actions. According to the HHS-OCR Director, Roger Severino, this record year underscores the need for covered entities to be proactive about their HIPAA data security.

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$4 Million Judgment Awarded to Office for Civil Rights for HIPAA Violation

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A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has ruled that the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in its failure to encrypt its electronic devices and ordered MD Anderson to pay $4,348,000 in civil monetary penalties  to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). This is the second summary judgment ordered in favor of the OCR in its history, and the fourth largest amount recovered by OCR for HIPAA violations.

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Oncology Services Provider Reaches $2.3 Million Settlement with HHS for Data Breach

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21st Century Oncology, Inc. (21CO), a Florida-based oncology services provider, has agreed to pay $2.3 million in a no-fault resolution to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to settle potential civil money penalties stemming from a 2015 cyberattack on its network SQL database.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was first to detect that an unauthorized third party illegally obtained patient information from 21CO in October 2015.  Upon further investigation by 21CO and OCR, it was determined that 21CO:

  • Impermissibly disclosed the protected health information (PHI), including names, social security numbers, and diagnoses, and treatments, of 2,213,597 of its patients.   
  • Failed to conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the electronic protected health information (ePHI).   
  • Failed to implement security measures sufficient to reduce risks and vulnerabilities to a reasonable and appropriate level.   
  • Failed to implement procedures to regularly review records of information system activity, such as audit logs, access reports, and security incident tracking reports.   
  • Disclosed protected health information to  third party vendors, acting as its business associates, without obtaining satisfactory assurances in the form of a written business associate agreement.

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