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Volume XI, Number 106

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OCR Waives HIPAA Penalties Against Providers Using Electronic COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling

On February 24, 2021, the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“OCR”) announced that it will not impose penalties against covered entities or their business associates that use online and web-based scheduling applications (collectively “WBSAs”) that are not HIPAA compliant, when the WSBAs are used for scheduling individual appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. The moratorium on penalties is only applicable during the nationwide public health emergency and only to covered entities and business associates that act in good faith when using WBSAs.

OCR announced that its decision was based on health care providers’ need to quickly schedule appointments for a large number of people, and its recognition that some WBSAs may not be HIPAA compliant. The moratorium on penalties also applies to vendors of WBSAs whose technology is used by covered entities and business associates to schedule vaccination appointments.  

Despite the moratorium on penalties, OCR encouraged providers to implement reasonable safeguards to protect the security and privacy of protected health information (“PHI”) such as (1) using encryption technology, (2) ensuring that storage of any PHI by a vendor is temporary, (3) enabling all available privacy settings in a WBSA, and (4) using and disclosing only the minimum necessary PHI.  

 

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© Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 63
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Aleah M. Schutze Health Care Attorney Steptoe & Johnson Louisville, KY
Of Counsel

Aleah Schutze knew from a  young age that she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare and obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Health. Her decision to attend law school was born out of an altruistic desire to help more people by helping healthcare entities fulfill their individual missions.  Continuing to build her healthcare acumen, Aleah spent three years as the Associate General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel for Res-Care, Inc. (now BrightSpring Health Services), the largest diversified health and human services provider in the U.S. In that role, she gained experience in providing...

502-423-2051
Kristen Wilson Steptoe Johnson Law Firm Wheeling, WV Professional Liability Litigation Attorney
Member

Clients know that Kristen Andrews Wilson will help them understand and navigate the complex and complicated healthcare landscape.  Kristen’s clients include hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities, as well as independent healthcare providers.  Kristen’s practice is a unique combination of litigation avoidance via counseling and defense via litigation, when necessary.  In addition to her medical malpractice litigation practice, Kristen has experience with federal and state healthcare regulatory compliance, as well as business transactions involving...

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