July 23, 2019

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What Can You Expect in 2015 Regarding HIPAA Enforcement?

As of earlier this month, 1,170 breaches involving 31 million records have been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since mandated reporting of breaches began in September 2009.  An increase in the number of breaches isn’t the only statistic on the rise.  Although 2014 data has not yet been released, the number of complaints in 2013 reached a new high (4,463).  It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict that these numbers in 2015 will continue to rise.  We haven’t reached the apex yet.

The newly approved 2015 federal budget does not include an increase in funding for the federal agencies responsible for enforcing HIPAA, including the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR), but HHS isn’t viewing it as a setback.  Per an OCR spokeswoman “OCR’s strong enforcement of the HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification rules, remains very much on track…”  Just a few weeks ago, HHS settled with the Alaska Department of Health and Humans Services for $1.7 million for potential HIPAA violations.

If enforcement efforts remain on track in 2015, so should compliance efforts next year.  Keep your HIPAA policies and procedures up to date and conduct regular risk assessments.  If your organization has not addressed security on mobile devices do so now.  Especially if you are contemplating a transaction in 2015, it’s time to take a deep dive regarding HIPAA compliance.

Copyright © 2019, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

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About this Author

Lynsey Mitchel, Attorney, Sheppard Mullin, Corporate Practice
Asssociate

Lynsey Mitchel is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in the firm's Century City office and is a member of the firm's healthcare practice team.

Areas of Practice

Lynsey represents hospitals, managed care organizations, medical groups, pharmacies, home health providers, medical device retailers and other health care entities and providers. 

Lynsey has deep expertise in HMO regulatory matters and has assisted numerous clients to obtain HMO licensure as health care service plans under California’s Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act. Lynsey...

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