My New Year’s resolutions will likely be broken early and often in 2016. My consequences are mostly non-monetary: a few more pounds, a little less savings, and not winning the triathlon in my age group. Your consequences, as a HIPAA-covered entity or business associate, for not complying with the Privacy and Security Rules could be much greater, and could put you into serious debt to the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Therefore, we propose that you resolve now to become fully HIPAA compliant in 2016.

OCR delivered an early holiday gift, wrapped in the Director’s Sept. 23, 2015, report to the Office of Inspector General. In that report, she disclosed that OCR will launch Phase 2 of its HIPAA audit program in early 2016, focusing on noncompliance issues for both covered entities and business associates.

So, grab that cup of hot cocoa and peruse this review of 2014-2015 HIPAA enforcement actions, which should help identify noncompliance issues on which OCR will focus in 2016.

Cancer Care Group, P.C. settled alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules on September 2 with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for $750,000. Cancer Care, a radiation oncology private physician practice located in Indiana, also agreed to adopt a corrective action plan to remedy defects in its HIPAA compliance program.

The Anthem breach sent alarm waves through the health care industry and the employer health plan community. With 78.8 million affected individuals for Anthem and 11 million for the companion breach of Premera Blue Cross, the combined size ranks among the largest data breaches in history.

The Anthem and Premera breaches signal a sea change in the threat environment for health plans, a new reality that requires a fresh look at data security. Prudent employers with group health plans should take that fresh look now, by strengthening the data security provisions in their business associate agreements (BAAs) with third-party plan administrators, and also by updating their HIPAA-required security risk assessments.

On January 17, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued its final rule modifying the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy, security, enforcement, and breach notification rules under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The final rule

Pediatric critical care transport teams at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware participated in a study using iPads to communicate about the patient’s condition prior to and during transport.  The study, which was funded by the Nemours Fund for Children’s Health, found that use of iPads provided better communication between the transport

Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a settlement with the Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) for potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule.  The settlement, which was for $50,000, is unique because it is the first settlement involving a breach of electronic