PHI

Don’t Wait for It; Recent HIPAA Enforcement Action Signal More to Come in Phase 2 Audits

HIPAA regulations

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) have recently selected a vendor to conduct the second wave of HIPAA audits.  These so-called “Phase 2 Audits” are set to commence on the heels of two important HHS OCR enforcement proceedings alleging violations of the HIPAA Security Rule:

  • St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, a tertiary care hospital in Massachusetts, allegedly failed to conduct a risk assessment before its employees used a cloud document-sharing application and failed to respond to a security incident in a timely manner, leading to a $218,400 fine and Corrective Action Plan (CAP).  Orrick reported on this case in a previous alert.
  • Cancer Care Group (CCG), one of the largest privately owned radiation oncology groups in the country, recently signed a $750,000 settlement and CAP stemming from the theft of PHI belonging to approximately 55,000 patients stored on a stolen laptop and unencrypted backup media.  According to OCR, the investigation uncovered that prior to the security incident, CCG failed to conduct an enterprise-wide risk assessment, and failed to implement a policy addressing the removal of unencrypted devices containing ePHI from company facilities – two issues that OCR identified as key contributing factors to the data breach.  The CAP requires CCG to conduct risk analysis regarding its handling of ePHI, to develop and implement a risk mitigation plan addressing certain identified risks, and to review and update security policies, procedures and employee training.

READ MORE