National News

HIPAA Breach Settlement With Small Facility Sends Big Message

View Comments (0)Print ArticleEmail Article

The Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) $50,000 to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule. 

This is the first settlement involving a breach of unprotected electronic protected health information (ePHI) affecting fewer than 500 individuals.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) began its investigation after HONI reported to HHS that an unencrypted laptop computer containing the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of 441 patients had been stolen in June 2010.  Laptops containing ePHI are regularly used by the organization as part of their field work. 

Over the course of the investigation, OCR discovered that HONI had not conducted a risk analysis to safeguard ePHI. Further, HONI did not have in place policies or procedures to address mobile device security as required by the HIPAA Security Rule. Since the June 2010 theft, HONI has taken extensive additional steps to improve their HIPAA Privacy and Security compliance program.

"This action sends a strong message to the healthcare industry that, regardless of size, covered entities must take action and will be held accountable for safeguarding their patients' health information." said OCR Director Leon Rodriguez. "Encryption is an easy method for making lost information unusable, unreadable and undecipherable."

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Breach Notification Rule requires covered entities to report an impermissible use or disclosure of protected health information, or a "breach," of 500 individuals or more to the Secretary of HHS and the media within 60 days after the discovery of the breach.  Smaller breaches affecting less than 500 individuals must be reported to the Secretary on an annual basis. 

A new educational initiative, Mobile Devices: Know the RISKS. Take the STEPS. PROTECT and SECURE Health Information, has been launched by OCR and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) that offers healthcare providers and organizations practical tips on ways to protect their patients' health information when using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. 

For more information, visit www.HealthIT.gov/mobiledevices. The Resolution Agreement can be found on the OCR website at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/enforcement/examples/honi-agreement.pdf.


National News Archives


     

Email: *

Email, first name, comment and security code are required fields; all other fields are optional. With the exception of email, any information you provide will be displayed with your comment.

First * Last
Name:
Title Field Facility
Work:
City State
Location:

Comments: *
To prevent comment spam, please type the code you see below into the code field before submitting your comment. If you cannot read the numbers in the below image, reload the page to generate a new one.

Captcha
Enter the security code below: *

Fields marked with an * are required.

View the Latest from ADVANCE

 

Search Jobs

Go
 
 
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1183/supplemental-health-care.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1185/baycare-health-system.html
http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Web-Extras/Online-Extras/Editorial-Webinars.aspx
http://shop.advanceweb.com/clearance.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/750/vna-of-long-island.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/778/premier-home-health-care-services-inc.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/765/the-execusearch-group.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1505/holy-cross-hospital.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1436/venice-regional-medical-center.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1749/sentara-health-system.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1015/hcr-manorcare.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1468/dignity-health.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/1778/saint-marys-health-system.html
http://www.advanceweb.com/jobs/search/employer/3094/hca-west-florida-division.html