August 15, 2022

Volume XII, Number 227

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August 15, 2022

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MEEI Breach Notification Prompts OCR Investigation and Settlement

The most recent, published Office for Civil Rights (OCR) HIPAA enforcement action serves as an important reminder that self-reported breaches can and do lead to investigations and enforcement.  

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) was following the HITECH breach notification rules when it reported the theft of an unencrypted laptop in 2010.  The laptop contained the protected health information of MEEI patients and research subjects, including prescription and other health information.  OCR investigated the breach and brought an enforcement action, citing MEEI for a number of HIPAA security rule violations.  Not unexpectedly, OCR was focused on laptop security and the security of portable devices generally, which has been an enforcement priority of OCR.  

The MEEI enforcement provides important reminders for covered entities: 

1. Encrypt laptops and other portable devices.

2. Keep track of portable devices.

3. The OCR trend toward seven-figure fines is continuing (the MEEI settlement was $1.5 million).

 To read the MEEI resolution agreement, click here.  To read the related OCR press release, click  here.

©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume II, Number 264
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About this Author

Dianne Borque, Health Care, licensure, risk management, attorney, Mintz
Of Counsel

Dianne advises a variety of health care clients on a broad range of issues, including licensure, regulatory, contractual, and risk management matters, and patient care. As former in-house counsel to an academic medical center, a large part of her practice involves counseling researchers and research sponsors in matters related to FDA and OHRP regulated clinical research, including patient consent, access to and use of tissue and associated patient information, and the Institutional Review Board process. In addition, Dianne currently serves as a Vice Chair of AHLA's...

(617) 348-1614
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