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HIPAA & Breach Enforcement Statistics for April 2015

Produced by Health Information Privacy/Security Alert
Published by Melamedia, LLC


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Hacking Dominates Number of Patients Affected by Breaches, But Not Number of Incidents

More than 120 million people have been affected by 1,163 HITECH Act breaches through March 17, according to statistics released by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). This stands in stark contrast to the 41.2 million affected by 1,139 breaches affected through Feb. 17, according to an analysis of OCR data by HIP/SA.

The primary reason for the huge increase was the breach reported by Anthem that affected close to 80million patients.

The dramatic increase may indicate that large health plans and larger HMOs and hospital systems may be more tempting targets for cybercrime given the larger number of patient files that they generate and maintain.

The latest statistics also demonstrated the extreme variability of breaches and that the number of patients affected does not necessarily correspond with the overall number of breaches.

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HIPAA Complaints Explode to 3,200 in January
OCR Did Not Update Stats

OCR reported it received 109,722 HIPAA patient complaints as of Jan. 31, 2015 and since the agency began enforcing the rules in April 2003. The 3,200 complaints it received in January are the most it has ever received in one month since OCR started releasing the enforcement data.

The number was substantially higher than 562 complaints it received in December and 1,027 it received in November. The increase came as the massive breach affecting Anthem made national news. However, it is too early to tell if the breach resulted in the increased complaints.

The privacy areas investigated most often were:

  • Impermissible uses and disclosures of protected health information;
  • Lack of safeguards of protected health information;
  • Lack of patient access to their protected health information;
  • Lack of administrative safeguards of electronic protected health information; and
  • Use or disclosure of more than the minimum necessary protected health information.


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OCR Security Stats - OCR Did Not Update the Security Complaint Stats

OCR said that as of June 30, it received 940 complaints alleging a security rule violation since it took over enforcement from CMS in October 2009. The agency statistics suggested that it received 20 complaints in August. It received 19 complaints in July and 21 complaints in June. OCR said it had 316 open complaints and compliance reviews.


HIPAA Transactions Standards
CMS Has Not Updated Stats Since January 2014

Complaints Received by CMS
Through Jan. 31, 2014
Complaint Type Total Open Closed
Transaction and Code Sets 808 21 787
National Provide Identifier 62 0 62
Total 870 21 849
No Civil Penalties Imposed

Open –Outstanding issues remain. Entity may be under a corrective action plan or additional information from either the complainant, the filed against entity, or both is being sought.
Closed–No further action required. All issues have been sufficiently resolved.

  Source: CMS

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The April 2015 issue takes a closer look at the role of laptops and other portable devices and is available for only $10.00
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The Ripple Effects of HHS Proposed Requirements
for Accounting of Disclosures

July
2011

 

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