September 28, 2020

Volume X, Number 272

September 28, 2020

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Ambulance Company Agrees to $65,000 OCR Settlement for HIPAA Noncompliance

West Georgia Ambulance, Inc. (West Georgia) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) entered into a $65,000 no-fault settlement agreement and two year corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

On February 11, 2013, West Georgia submitted a breach report to OCR describing a breach that occurred on December 13, 2012, when an unencrypted laptop fell off the back bumper of an ambulance. The laptop was not recovered and West Georgia reported that exactly 500 individuals were affected by the breach.

OCR’s investigations into this incident revealed that West Georgia failed to:

1. Conduct an accurate and thorough risk analysis of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all of its ePHI;

2. Have a HIPAA security training program and provide security training to its employees; and

3. Implement Security Rule policies or procedures.

According to the settlement announcement, despite OCR’s investigation and technical assistance, West Georgia did not take meaningful steps to address their systemic failures.

© 2020 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 3

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About this Author

Sumaya Noush, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, HealthCare Attorney
Associate

Sumaya Noush counsels health care clients on strategic and operational matters including transactions, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance. She helps her clients navigate the daily challenges of running their operations while identifying opportunities for growth in today’s rapidly evolving and highly competitive health care market.

Sumaya previously served as a law clerk for Drinker Biddle, an instructor at Yale’s Bioethics Institute where she taught a seminar on FDA law and medical ethics, and a Visiting Scholar at...

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