Federal regulators have slapped the Rhode Island-based health system Lifespan with a $1 million HIPAA settlement tied to a 2017 data breach involving the theft of an unencrypted laptop that potentially exposed the data of 20,000 individuals. It's the largest HIPAA enforcement action so far this year.
A lawsuit filed against a small Georgia hospital by four of its nurses who allege the facility "schemed to manufacture false negative COVID-19 test results" for several patients who previously tested positive is shining a light on delicate issues involving whistleblowers and the privacy of patient records.
If the lifting of telehealth restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic becomes permanent through new legislation or changes in government policies, what would be the potential impact on patient data privacy and security?
As healthcare organizations seek out recovered COVID-19 patients for potential donations of blood plasma containing virus antibodies to help treat other patients, they need to ensure these outreach activities comply with HIPAA privacy regulations, according to new federal guidance.
As businesses reopen, they need to carefully consider the privacy, security and legal implications of collecting COVID-19 related information from customers, employees and other individuals, says privacy attorney Iliana Peters of the law firm Polsinelli.
Healthcare organizations need to diligently assess whether a security incident involving patient information truly qualifies as a reportable breach under HIPAA to avoid needlessly reporting it to federal regulators, says regulatory attorney Helen Oscislawski.
The American Medical Association has issued a set of privacy principles for health data that it hopes Congress and regulators will keep in mind as they prepare legislation and regulations. In an interview, AMA Board Chair Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., describes the recommendations.
Phishing scams continue to be a leading cause of health data breaches so far this year. But the theft of unencrypted laptops led to the biggest breach reported in 2020, and an insider breach involving a physician exposed data on thousands of patients.
Federal regulators are alerting healthcare organizations about an array of coronavirus-themed cyberthreats. Plus, they're advising them to avoid potential HIPAA privacy violations involving unauthorized disclosures of patient information to news outlets during the COVID-19 crisis.
Three recently disclosed health data security incidents - including the discovery of a large email hack that happened nearly a year ago - serve as reminders of the ongoing incident response challenges facing healthcare organizations. And these difficulties are likely to worsen during the COVID-19 crisis.
The use of telehealth is ramping up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the latest arrest in connection with a $410 million healthcare fraud case that includes a multi-million dollar telemedicine-related fraud scheme serves as a cautionary tale of how fraudsters can abuse telehealth.
Although conducting regular HIPAA security risk assessments (SRAs) may seem like a hassle, the cost of failing to conduct them and therefore failing to remediate risks is much worse. Penalties can include millions of dollars in fines, civil and criminal litigation, restitution, and damage.
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As some cities and states recruit retired healthcare professionals, new medical school graduates and clinicians from other regions to assist in their COVID-19 responses, it's critical to ensure these workers understand the importance of protecting patient information, says privacy attorney Iliana Peters.