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Category Archives: Health Privacy

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Cybersecurity Risks with Connected Devices

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Security, Health Privacy

By Bianca Nunes Cybersecurity vulnerability is becoming an increasing concern as medical devices are becoming more connected to the Internet, hospital networks, and other medical devices. As we previously reported, FDA has increasingly focused on promoting cybersecurity, recognizing that compromised medical devices can pose a risk to patient health and safety and to the confidentiality… Continue Reading

Multistakeholder Group Seeks Comment on Draft Framework for IoT Device Manufactures

Posted in Advertising & Marketing, Data Security, Emerging Technologies, Mobile Online, Privacy Policies

Earlier this week, the Online Trust Alliance released a draft framework of best practices for Internet of Things device manufacturers and developers, such as connected home devices and wearable fitness and health technologies.  The OTA is seeking comments on its draft framework by September 14. The framework acknowledges that not all requirements may be applicable… Continue Reading

May 2015 EU mHealth Round-Up

Posted in Data Security, European Union, Health Privacy, Mobile Online, United Kingdom

May 2015 saw a number of developments in the EU mHealth sector worthy of a brief mention.  The European Commission announced that it would work on new guidance for mHealth apps, despite the European Data Protection Supervisor and British Standards Institution publishing their own just weeks earlier.  In parallel, the French data protection authority announced… Continue Reading

HHS Updates Health Data Privacy and Security Guide

Posted in Health Privacy

The  Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information (ONC) recently released an updated Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information.  The guide aims to help individuals, providers, and the health IT community understand the role of HIPAA for interoperability of health information. This guide updates the previous version issued by the ONC… Continue Reading

Draft House Cures Legislation Would Amend Federal Privacy Laws (Third Post in a Series)

Posted in Health Privacy

As we discussed in two prior posts (here and here), the April 29, 2015, draft House 21st Century Cures bill would make several changes to federal health privacy law. This post focuses on provisions that would relax limitations on payment for PHI disclosed for research purposes and that would expand the purposes for which covered… Continue Reading

Draft House Cures Legislation Would Amend Federal Privacy Laws (Second Post in a Series)

Posted in Congress, Health Privacy

As we discussed in a prior post, the April 29, 2015, draft House 21st Century Cures bill would make several changes to federal health privacy law. This post focuses on provisions that would allow remote access to PHI for purposes preparatory to research and that would permit individuals to make a one-time authorization of the… Continue Reading

Draft House Cures Legislation Would Amend Federal Privacy Laws (First Post in a Series)

Posted in Congress, Health Privacy

On April 29, 2015, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee released a revised discussion draft of the 21st Century Cures Act (“Cures”). The Cures bill would make several changes to existing federal privacy regulations promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health… Continue Reading

Anthem Insurance Set to Brief Congress Two Days after Disclosing Cyber Attack

Posted in Health Privacy

Just two days after disclosing publicly that it was “the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack” in which the personal information of over 80 million customers was compromised, officials of Anthem Inc., the nation’s second largest health insurance company, are to brief staffers of the House Energy and Committee on the security breach. … Continue Reading

HIPAA 2015 Enforcement Priorities Highlight Cyber Threats, But Timing of HIPAA Compliance Audits Still Uncertain

Posted in Health Privacy

On January 13, 2015, Jocelyn Samuels, director of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, briefed reporters on the agency’s HIPAA enforcement priorities, noting a focus on threats to electronic health information, or ePHI.  For more information about the briefing, visit Covington’s eHealth blog.

New California Health Privacy Law Goes into Effect

Posted in Health Privacy

Many individuals are covered by health insurance but are not the policy holders for that coverage (e.g., the policy holder is a spouse or parent of the covered individual).  Routine communications sent by insurers, such as explanation of benefit letters or denial of claims notices, are often sent to the policy holder and may contain… Continue Reading

HHS Releases Guidance Regarding Application of HIPAA Privacy Rule in Emergency Situations

Posted in Health Privacy

In response to the recent Ebola outbreak and other events, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has released guidance regarding the use and sharing of patient information in emergency situations.  The guidance emphasizes that HIPAA requirements are not suspended during an emergency.  However, the Privacy Rule includes several… Continue Reading

GAO Report Outlines Healthcare.gov’s Ongoing Privacy Issues

Posted in Health Privacy

By Randall Friedland According to a GAO report published September 16th, Healthcare.gov, the health insurance exchange rolled out last October, still has significant privacy weaknesses. Specifically, the report outlined that despite the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) efforts to increase the security and privacy of data that it processes, maintains, and shares with… Continue Reading

Schedule of Panelists for FTC’s Upcoming Big Data & Discrimination Workshop

Posted in Advertising & Marketing, Emerging Technologies, Federal Trade Commission, Health Privacy, Marketing, United States

As we have previously reported, in less than two weeks the FTC will host its anticipated workshop on big data and discrimination.  Today the FTC announced a full agenda and panelists for the September 15th event, “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” which will take place in Washington, D.C., at the Constitution Center. … Continue Reading

Ten Key Take-Aways From the White House Big Data Report

Posted in Health Privacy, Privacy Policies, United States

On Thursday, the White House Big Data Working Group, led by senior presidential advisor John Podesta, released a 79-page report that outlines a number of key observations and recommendations for privacy in both the private sector and government.  Although the report does not create binding law, it provides insight into the administration’s  priorities on a… Continue Reading

Two HIPAA Settlements Follow Stolen Laptops

Posted in Health Privacy

Recently, HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it has entered into settlement agreements with two entities following enforcement actions, both arising from stolen laptops that were not encrypted in accordance with the Security Rule.  According to HHS, an unencrypted laptop was stolen from a physical therapy center in Springfield, Missouri.  The center was… Continue Reading

FTC to Examine Impact of “Big Data” on Low-Income and Underserved Communities

Posted in Federal Trade Commission, Marketing, United States

This morning, the FTC announced that it would host a public workshop in September entitled “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” in order to examine the increasing use of big-data analytics and its potential impact on low-income, diverse, and underserved American consumers.  The FTC noted that while predictive-analytic techniques produce tremendous benefits by… Continue Reading

HHS Releases New Tool to Assist with HIPAA Risk Assessments

Posted in Health Privacy

On March 28, HHS released new resources on risk analysis requirements under the HIPAA Security Rule.  The HIPAA Security Rule governs how electronic individually identifiable health information is maintained by covered entities and business associates.  In short, it requires covered entities and business associates to implement certain physical, administrative, and technical safeguards to protect the… Continue Reading

WEDI Issues Guidance for Assessment of Potential Breaches under HIPAA

Posted in Health Privacy

Recently, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) published a Breach Risk Assessment Issue Brief for stakeholders to use in analyzing whether a breach of  protected health information (PHI) has occurred under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Background Under HIPAA’s breach notification rule, covered entities and business associates are required to notify… Continue Reading

FTC Announces Settlement With Accretive Health Over Data Breach

Posted in Data Breaches, Data Security, Health Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced a settlement with Accretive Health, Inc., a provider of medical billing and revenue management services to hospitals.  The FTC’s complaint alleged that Accretive failed to provide reasonable and appropriate security for consumers’ personal information, and this failure constituted an unfair act or practice in violation of Section 5… Continue Reading

HHS Issues Proposed Rule on HIPAA and Firearm Background Check Reporting

Posted in Health Privacy

By Rachel Grunberger and Anna Kraus On January 7, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule to expressly allow certain disclosures to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  As we previously reported, this was one of the executive actions in… Continue Reading

House Republicans Signal Push for Data Breach Legislation

Posted in Congress, Data Breaches, Health Privacy

In the wake of the recent Target Corp. credit card data breach, Congress is once again turning its attention to data breach legislation. In a memorandum to Republican lawmakers on January 2, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) stated that he intends to schedule legislation on security and breach notification requirements for federally facilitated healthcare… Continue Reading

HHS Announces First HIPAA Settlement Based on Lack of Breach Notification Policies and Procedures

Posted in Health Privacy

By Rachel Grunberger and Anna Kraus On December 27, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a HIPAA settlement with Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C. (APDerm), a private dermatology practice with locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  According to HHS, this is the first settlement… Continue Reading