BNA’s Health Care Daily Report™ sets the standard for reliable, high-intensity coverage of breaking health care news, covering all major legal, policy, industry, and consumer developments in a...
Sept. 2 — A large oncology physician practice has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle allegations it didn't comply with HIPAA requirements for protecting patients' medical information.
Indiana-based Cancer Care Group (CCG) also agreed to a corrective action plan with the federal government to correct deficiencies in its compliance program, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights announced Sept. 2. The agreement wasn't an admission of liability from CCG, nor was it a concession by the HHS that CCG wasn't in violation of the HIPAA rules and not liable for civil money penalties.
The federal government alleged Cancer Care Group hadn't complied with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Security Rule requirements to protect electronic patient data. The compliance problems were found after an employee's laptop containing patient data was stolen from a car in 2012. A subsequent investigation found the company “was in widespread non-compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule.”
According to the OCR, the company hadn't conducted a risk analysis when the breach occurred in July 2012. Further, Cancer Care didn't have in place a written policy specific to the removal of hardware and electronic media containing protected information into and out of its facilities, “even though this was common practice within the organization.”
“OCR found that these two issues, in particular, contributed to the breach, as an enterprise-wide risk analysis could have identified the removal of unencrypted backup media as an area of significant risk” to Cancer Care’s protected patient information, and a comprehensive device and media control policy could have provided employees with direction in regard to their responsibilities when removing devices containing protected information from the facility, the OCR said.
“Organizations must complete a comprehensive risk analysis and establish strong policies and procedures to protect patients’ health information,” OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels said in a statement. “Further, proper encryption of mobile devices and electronic media reduces the likelihood of a breach of protected health information.”
A representative who answered the phone at Cancer Care Group declined to comment, and the attorney listed on the agreement didn't respond to an e-mail request.
Cancer Care has taken corrective action with regard to the specific requirements of the Privacy and Security rules that are at the core of the enforcement action, as well as actions to come into compliance with the other provisions of the HIPAA rules, the OCR said.
As part of the corrective action plan, CCG agreed to conduct an annual comprehensive analysis of security risks and vulnerabilities that involve any of its facilities and electronic equipment that contains, stores or transmits protected health information. The company also agreed to conduct a risk management plan.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nathaniel Weixel in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fabia Mahoney at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)