On February 28, 2022, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued data on information blocking claims received since April 5, 2021, the effective date of information blocking regulations enacted under the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act). As a reminder, in accordance with the Cures Act’s prohibition on certain
Conor Duffy is a member of Robinson+Cole's Health Law Group and the firm's Data Privacy and Security Team. Conor advises hospitals, physician groups, community providers, and other health care entities on general corporate matters and health care issues. He provides legal counsel on a full range of transactional and regulatory health law issues, including contracting, licensure, mergers and acquisitions, Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse laws and regulations, HIPAA compliance, and other data privacy and security matters. Read his rc.com bio here.
Connecticut Enacts Legislation to Incentivize Adoption of Cybersecurity Safeguards and Expand Breach Reporting Obligations
On June 16, and then on July 6, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a pair of bills that together address privacy and cybersecurity in the state. Cybersecurity risks continue to pose a significant threat to businesses and the integrity of private information. Connecticut joins other states in revisiting its data breach reporting laws to strengthen reporting requirements, and offer protection to businesses that have been the subject of a breach despite implementing cybersecurity safeguards from certain damages in resulting litigation.
Public Act 21-59 “An Act Concerning Data Privacy Breaches” (PA 21-59) modifies Connecticut law addressing data privacy breaches to expand the types of information that are protected in the event of a breach, to shorten the timeframe for reporting a breach, to clarify applicability of the law to anyone who owns, licenses, or maintains computerized data that includes “personal information,” and to create an exception for entities that report breaches in accordance with HIPAA. Public Act 21-119 “An Act Incentivizing the Adoption of Cybersecurity Standards for Businesses” (PA 21-119) correspondingly establishes statutory protection from punitive damages in a tort action alleging that inadequate cybersecurity controls resulted in a data breach against an entity covered by the law if the entity maintained a written cybersecurity program conforming to industry standards (as set forth in PA 21-119).
Both laws take effect October 1, 2021.
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Fifth Circuit Overturns “Arbitrary and Capricious” $4.3 Million HIPAA Penalty Against Hospital
On January 14, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a $4.348 million penalty for alleged HIPAA violations assessed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) against the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Hospital). The case arises from an enforcement action undertaken by HHS following the…
HHS Proposes Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule to Enhance Care Coordination and Management and Remove Barriers to Accessing Information
On December 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced proposed changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, which is one of several rules that protect the privacy and security of individuals’ medical records and other protected health information (PHI). According to HHS, the proposed changes…
OCR Issues Additional Guidance on HIPAA for Providers and First Responders on COVID-19 Front Lines
On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued new HIPAA guidance to help providers and first responders in its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
OCR’s guidance addresses when HIPAA allows disclosures without patient authorization of identifying health information to first responders – such…
COVID-19: HHS Issues FAQs on HIPAA and Telehealth to Help Providers Maintain Access to Care During the Pandemic
On March 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued additional guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on HIPAA and telehealth services to help providers furnish care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FAQs follow and provide further information on the Notification of Enforcement Discretion issued by HHS…
HHS Issues Timely Reminder of Applicability of HIPAA to Outbreak Situations
On February 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a bulletin (the Bulletin) to remind covered entities and business associates of how patient information may be shared under HIPAA in the event of an emergency, such as an outbreak of infectious disease. The Bulletin was issued in response to the…
OCR Announces Second $85,000 Settlement for Alleged Violations of the Individual Right of Access under HIPAA
On December 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced its second “HIPAA Right of Access Initiative” settlement of alleged HIPAA violations.
The HIPAA Right of Access Initiative is a new effort in 2019 by OCR to monitor compliance with HIPAA requirements addressing patient rights to promptly…
Misdirected Hospital Bills Lead to $2.175 Million HIPAA Settlement
On November 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a $2.175 million dollar settlement with a hospital system to resolve alleged violations of HIPAA’s Breach Notification Rule and Privacy Rule. The settlement is noteworthy as it represents OCR’s fourth HIPAA settlement in excess of $1 million…
For First Time Ever, Government Brings HIPAA Enforcement Action Alleging Violations of Right to Access Medical Records
On September 9, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it had settled its first ever HIPAA enforcement action arising from alleged violations of the individual right to access health information under HIPAA. OCR entered into a settlement with Bayfront Health St. Petersburg (Bayfront) in response…