U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HHS takes first-ever enforcement action under HIPAA’s right of access to health records

The Office of Civil Rights in the US Department of Health and Human Services has taken its first enforcement action under the HIPAA right of patient access to health records. HHS announced that it fined a health care provider $85,000 for failing to provide health care records to a patient upon written request, stating in

WPF responds to HHS and urges it to keep privacy protections in HIPAA strong

WPF has written to the US Department of Health and Human Services advising them on their Request for Information (RFI) about possible changes to HIPAA privacy and security protections. The RFI has a number of suggestions that, should they become part of a formal proposal, would significantly weaken HIPAA privacy protections.

WPF files comments on US government proposal on confidentiality of drug/alcohol patient records, urges revisions

The World Privacy Forum commented on an important proposal to make changes to the existing rules regarding the confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records. The proposal is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. These proposed rule changes are important, as the current

WPF Files Comments on Federal Proposal for Human Subject Research (Common Rule)

The Nuremberg Code, an extraordinary document around ethics and research on human subjects written after the research abuses that took place during World War II, is akin to a global Emancipation Proclamation for human research subjects. The Nuremberg Code’s 10 principles remain a timeless rendering of thought on what should be in place prior to any entity conducting research on human subjects, and this code forms the philosophical foundation of a regulation in the US known as the Common Rule. We have written extensive comments on the US proposal that will update the Common Rule…

US Department of Health and Human Services fines Arizona provider $100,000 for HIPAA violations

In a rare enforcement action of HIPAA, HHS fined an Arizona health care provider $100,000 for a variety of HIPAA violations, especially regarding electronic exchanges of protected health information. The HHS document outlining the reasons for the fine should act as a wake-up call to health care providers using public email, calendaring, and other tools for communication of ePHI. HHS specifically noted that the fined health care provider did not conduct an adequate risk assessment prior to using the email and Internet tools. The full HHS document is a must-read for health care providers. WPF has been warning about the need for full e-risk assessments since 2005 and strongly advocates for medical-identity-theft-specific risk assessments.