All posts by josh

Dentist Theft of Server Containing Patient Information

The office of a dentist in California, Cathrine Steinborn, was burglarized and theft of server containing patient and responsible party information – including Social Security numbers – was stolen.

How many victims? Undisclosed.

What type of personal information? Names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, dental and/or medical insurance information, health background information, treatment information, and billing information.

What happened? The office of Cathrine Steinborn, a California dentist, was burglarized and a server containing the personal information was stolen.

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HIPAA Hacks Up 1800% : Brookings Report

A new report based on the Brookings Institution anticipates a trend regarding HIPAA data breaches in 2015, claims how the healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to attack and that there’s a lack of consequences for healthcare providers that violate HIPAA Rules.

The report suggests that if HIPAA hacks are to be avoided, healthcare providers, health plans, clearing houses and business associates must invest more heavily in IT security and must certainly have incentive to make changes to improve privacy and security standards.

The Brookings Institution was founded in 1916 following the formation of the Institute for Government Research (IGR), and was the first organization devoted to analyzing public policy issues at the national level. The organization has produced numerous influential proposals for Congress, homeland security and a number of intelligence operations and has helped shaped debates and has influenced national policies.

The most recent report focuses on data security in the healthcare industry, and the timing associated with its release couldn’t be more appropriate, in the week that followed the successful hacking belonging to the nation’s second largest health insurer and caused the largest ever exposure of healthcare data with up to 80 million past and present policy holders potentially affected.

Brookings analyzed data breaches which had been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights since 2008. The report indicates that HIPAA breaches have increased by 1800% since 2008, when the annual breach count was just 13. In 2013, the OCR received 256 reports of data breaches which had potentially exposed the records of significantly more than 500 individuals.

In 2008, the total number of victims starting from the HIPAA breaches was approximately 500,000, however in a mere six years that number has risen up to almost 9 million individuals. Healthcare providers have actually recorded the biggest quantity of data breaches, followed by business associates, health plans and healthcare clearing houses.

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Do patients need to worry more about Healthcare Data Security?

An organization must always have the condition of its healthcare data security as a highly regarded priority. Specifically as technology evolves and many more facilities connect to HIEs, carry out new EHRs and potentially even give consideration to telehealth, it is essential for healthcare entities to keep their security system up-to-date.

However, if a recent survey is any evidence, patients might not exactly be all that concerned with healthcare data security, specifically on the subject of telehealth options.

Only 2 percent of patients who utilize telemedicine reported that security is their main concern applying the telemedical system used, corresponding to a recent Software Advice survey. The study wanted to determine how individuals viewed the increasingly popular practice of telehealth, and discover if virtual medical visits was potentially the way of the possible future.

Out of an estimate of 500 reviews, 73 percent said that they had never participated in a telemedical visit. However, 75 percent of respondents were either “moderately interested,” “very interested,” or “ extremely interested” in the concept of telemedicine.

Individuals are interested in using telemedicine to essentially increase their overall healthcare experience, according to the survey’s authors. Because of this, “providers should think about how this technology can fulfill patient’s wishes to gain access to medical care from the comfort of home—while saving their practices valuable time and resources.”

Other research indicates that patients may possibly not be the only ones that could potentially be unaware of certain healthcare data security risks. A recent NueMD study demonstrated that the providers might be as well. For instance, in terms of mobile device usage, only 18 percent of respondents were “very confident” that their devices were HIPAA compliant. Moreover, a total of one-third of those questioned said that they were “not confident at all” with the devices being HIPAA compliant.

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The OCR is Coming – 2015 HIPAA Audits

2014 saw a rise in data breaches and HIPAA compliance failures inside of the healthcare industry. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) takes privacy and security critically, and more companies have been fined for failure to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This year, the OCR will use the HIPAA audit program to randomly assess healthcare entities and business associates for compliance with the HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid with 2015 HIPAA audits coming:

Failing to maintain with regulating requirements

Gain a better understanding of criteria for standards as “required” versus “addressable.” the covered entities must comply with every Security Rule standard. Covered entities need to evaluate if the addressable section is practical after a risk assessment, and, if not, the Security Rule allows them to consider an alternative measure. Be certain that you document everything, especially since the OCR may have a look at encryption with audits this year.

No documented security program

The OCR really wants to know how you execute a security risk assessment program, so be positive your company has a documented security awareness program. Once you know the requirements, assess your environment and your users. Does your organization have a security and compliance program in place? Exactly how well is it implemented? Who is included? How often do you communicate? Everyone in your company must certainly be held responsible for guaranteeing the safety of data and following proper procedures. Have a program and a point person in place, and make certain your compliance and security teams consult each other. Establish a committee with stakeholders and obvious responsibility, and make certain the plan is documented, communicated and implemented throughout the company.

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HIPAA Case Studies 2015

HIPAA Case Studies 2015 has been a list that continually grows. Each and every entity that has been breached, is required to receive an audit from OCR. Every single one of the covered entities that have an audit performed on their facility, also have their business associates audited as well to ensure that there are no further breaches.

Resolution Agreements and Civil Money Penalties

A resolution agreement is a contract signed by HHS and a covered entity in which the covered entity agrees to perform certain obligations (e.g., staff training) and make reports to HHS, generally for a period of three years. During the period, HHS monitors the covered entity’s compliance with its obligations. A resolution agreement likely would include the payment of a resolution amount. These agreements are reserved to settle investigations with more serious outcomes. When HHS has not been able to reach a satisfactory resolution through the covered entity’s demonstrated compliance or corrective action through other informal means, civil money penalties (CMPs) may be imposed for noncompliance against a covered entity.

These HIPAA case studies show how covered entities can effectively comply with the requirements of the Privacy and Security Rules:

Case Examples Organized by Covered Entity

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Understanding a HIPAA Risk Assessment

To be able to protect patient information one must always understand the risks to the information. A HIPAA Risk Assessment will help you answer these particular questions:

1. Where is patient information stored, accessed, developed or modified?
2. What are threats to this information?
3. Just how much potential are these threats?
4. Exactly what is the impact for these threats?
5. What additional safety measures can be implemented to protect the information?

How do you identify how you are protecting patient important information along with your weaknesses? The HIPAA Security Rule and Meaningful Use requirements require all companies to execute a HIPAA Risk Assessment. Let’s look at a simple concept of a Risk Assessment.

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