Recent HIPAA Settlement Involves Disposal of Unsecured Paper Records Containing Protected Health Information

On April 27, 2015, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced an agreement with Cornell Prescription Pharmacy (Cornell) to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. In its Resolution Agreement, Cornell has agreed to pay $125,000, implement comprehensive policies and procedures in compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, and provide staff training. Cornell, a small, single-location pharmacy in Denver, Colorado, was the subject of an OCR compliance review and investigation after a… Read More >

State Court Cases Address Liability for HIPAA Privacy Violations

Several recent state court decisions involving HIPAA privacy violations are raising serious questions regarding liability on behalf of healthcare providers as well as hefty monetary damage awards. While HIPAA itself does not provide a private cause of action for privacy violations, these recent decisions reveal that privacy breaches can form the basis for state law claims brought by patients or customers against healthcare providers. In a recent Connecticut case, Byrne v. Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C., the plaintiff… Read More >

OCR Guidance for HIPAA and Same-sex Marriage after United States v. Windsor

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS-OCR) has developed guidance to assist HIPAA covered entities in understanding the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor on HIPAA privacy obligations. The HIPAA Privacy Rule contains several provisions that reference the role that family members, including spouses, play in patient care. In Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, which provided that… Read More >

HIPAA Investigation into Walgreens “Reasonable Safeguards” Closed

An investigation into a HIPAA complaint against Walgreens for alleged “lack of reasonable safeguards” was recently closed by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) without the assessment of penalties against Walgreens according to a story on HealthItSecurity.com. According to the letter issued by OCR, the HIPAA complaint was submitted by the group Change to Win and alleged that Walgreens had not implemented appropriate physical safeguards to its Well Experience model.  Some of the specific alleged complaints included: –        A pharmacist… Read More >