Eleven Enforcement Actions Uphold Patients’ Rights Under HIPAA

Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the resolution of eleven investigations in its Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Right of Access Initiative, bringing the total number of these enforcement actions to thirty-eight since the initiative began. OCR created this initiative to support individuals’ right to timely access their health records at a reasonable cost under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.


The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) today released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) that provides information on Maui ransomware, which has been used by North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors since at least May 2021 to target Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector organizations.

HHS Issues Guidance to Protect Patient Privacy in Wake of Supreme Court Decision on Roe

On the heels of the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, where the right to safe and legal abortion was taken away, President Biden and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra called on HHS agencies to take action to protect access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, pregnancy complications, and other related care. Today, in direct response, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued new guidance to help protect patients seeking reproductive health care, as well as their providers.


GAO Calls on HHS to Improve Healthcare Data Breach Reporting Process

In its latest report, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) called on HHS to improve the healthcare data breach reporting process. Specifically, GAO urged HHS to create a mechanism for entities to provide feedback on the breach reporting process. GAO studied the number of breaches reported to HHS since 2015, analyzed the extent to which HHS established a review process to assess a covered entity’s security practices, and assessed improvement opportunities relating to breach reporting requirements.  


OCR to Produce Video Presentation on HITECH Act Recognized Security Practices

The HHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is producing a video presentation to help HIPAA-regulated entities implement “Recognized Security Practices.” The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was recently amended (Public Law 116-321) to require OCR to consider recognized security practices that have been in place for at least 12 months prior to certain Security Rule enforcement and audit activities. OCR previously issued a Request for Information regarding the HITECH Act recognized security practices, the comment period for which ended last week.