Tag Archives: Data Protection and Privacy

Cybersecurity Concerns for Medical Device Companies: A Risk Mitigation Checklist

Cybersecurity issues are nothing new to those operating in the health care industry. But while these issues have most commonly been faced by hospitals and health care providers, medical device companies must now take note. As reported recently in the news, medical devices have increasingly become the targets for cybersecurity breaches, given the information contained … Continue Reading

The Legal 500 United States Names Reed Smith ‘Data Protection and Privacy: 2015 Firm of the Year’

Reed Smith’s Information Technology Privacy & Data Security Group has been doing phenomenal work for years, linking experienced cybersecurity and privacy professionals with veteran intellectual property litigators, information governance advisors, technology contracting specialists and others with a similar data-oriented perspective.  And now it has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States as its ‘Data Protection … Continue Reading

OCR Announces Settlement and Corrective Action Plan with Pharmacy Stemming from Alleged Violations

The HHS Office for Civil Rights recently announced a settlement and corrective action plan with Cornell Prescription Pharmacy (CPP), a small for-profit, single location, compounding pharmacy located in Denver, CO. CPP has agreed to pay $125,000 and enter into a corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. This outcome is indicative of OCR's unwillingness to demonstrate wide variance in its enforcement response based on the size of an affected covered entity or the number of patients involved in a potential HIPAA violation.… Continue Reading

First Steps for GCs in Assessing a Data Breach

When a data breach is discovered by a company, it is often the responsibility of the company’s in-house counsel to swiftly assess the breach and provide an initial report to company management. There are several steps that in-house counsel should follow if faced with a breach to allow for an adequate assessment that company management can use. As noted … Continue Reading

Amidst Increasing Security Concerns, Medicare to Drop Social Security Numbers from Cards

Last week, President Obama signed into law a bill that will eradicate Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare beneficiary cards over the next eight years. Medicare has four years to begin issuing cards with new identifiers, and four years after that to reissue cards to current beneficiaries. The removal of SSNs from the cards is not only expected to decrease the risks associated with identity theft for Medicare beneficiaries, but also Medicare's risk of exposure associated with breaches of protected health and personal information under HIPAA and state privacy laws.… Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Address Data Privacy and Security Issues

State attorneys general across the United States have taken recent action towards addressing data privacy and security issues. In Connecticut, the attorney general announced the establishment of a Privacy and Data Security Department to handle investigations and litigation relating to data privacy and security. This month's National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Southern Region Meeting featured presentations on big data, cybersecurity, cloud computing and data breaches, and next month's NAAG presidential initiative summit will address topics such as intellectual property theft, cloud computing and digital currency. Finally, Washington's attorney general has proposed several amendments to expand the scope of that state's data breach notification requirements.… Continue Reading

FTC Offers Privacy and Security Guidance for Medical Devices in ‘Internet of Things’ Report

On January 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a 71-page Staff Report on privacy and security issues with the Internet of Things (IoT) - the growing ability of everyday devices to monitor and communicate information through the Internet. The Staff Report - which follows up on the FTC's public workshop over concerns with the IoT, as well as the FTC's first enforcement action brought in September 2013 - is especially relevant in the life sciences industry, which may see potentially revolutionary advances as a result of the IoT.… Continue Reading

New Jersey Enacts Data Privacy Law for Health Insurance Carriers

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed a law requiring health insurance carriers in that state to encrypt individuals' personal information. This new law will be enforced in conjunction with the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA), and failure to obey the law will be classified as a violation of the NJCFA, which could result in financial penalties for the carriers. The new legislation may also affect business associates through the contractual terms of business associate agreements.… Continue Reading

EU Justice Ministers Reach Partial General Approach on Aspects of Data Protection Regulation

Reed Smith’s Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog features a post on a recent meeting at which Justice ministers from across the European Union managed to agree on a partial general approach on several aspects of the draft Data Protection Regulation, which aims to set out a general EU framework for data protection. The ministers have … Continue Reading

EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party Releases Guidelines Stemming from Google Spain Case

Reed Smith’s Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog features a post on a recent set of guidelines issued by the European Union’s Article 29 Data Protection Working Party outlining how EU Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) intend to implement the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Google Spain SL and Google Inc. … Continue Reading

Effective Cyberliability Insurance Coverage

According to a recent study, the median amount of time between a breach of a company's cybernetwork and the discovery of that breach is 229 days. Given this lengthy amount of time, companies should consider the benefits of an expanded cyberliability insurance policy period, particularly if the company is switching from one insurance provider to another. This topic is discussed in "Hackers Don't Care About the Terms of Your Insurance Policy: The Importance of Retroactive Dates and Extended Reporting Periods in Effective Cyberliability Insurance Coverage," a client alert written by Reed Smith's Insurance Recovery Group.… Continue Reading

New California Amendment Aims to Increase Breach Responsibility and Accountability

A recently enacted law in California is designed to expand the scope of requirements for entities that own, license, and maintain data or information about a resident of the state. This amendment to the California Civil Code, scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2015, was passed in the wake of several recent high-profile security breaches at such retailers as Target, Neiman Marcus, and The Home Depot.… Continue Reading

U.S. Senator Schumer Calls for Increased Regulation of Wearable Electronic Devices to Avoid Data Privacy Issues

Reed Smith's Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog features a post on the recent phenomenon of wearable electronic devices and the legal issues that may arise from these gadgets. "Wearable Device Privacy - A Legislative Priority?," written by Reed Smith attorneys Frederick Lah and Khurram Gore, discusses a recent press release issued by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York expressing concern that personal health data collected by wearable devices and fitness apps, including medical conditions, sleep patterns, calories burned, GPS locations, blood pressure, weight, and more, will be provided to third parties without the user knowing it. Schumer, citing this as a threat to personal privacy, has urged the Federal Trade Commission to mandate that device and app companies provide users with an explicit "opt-out," allowing them to block the distribution of this information to any third parties.… Continue Reading

Recent Data Breaches Serve as Warning for Companies to Assess Their Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage

Earlier this week, numerous media outlets reported on the Russian crime ring which had managed to steal more pieces of Internet data than any other group of hackers in history – a whopping collection of at least 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and over 500 million email addresses. The magnitude of data that … Continue Reading

California AG’s Guidance on California Online Privacy Protection Act

The California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris, has issued a long-awaited guide on how companies can comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA). CalOPPA applies to all companies which collect personally identifiable information from California residents online, regardless of whether that information is collected via a commercial website or a mobile application. This … Continue Reading

EU Research Group Condemns EU Regulation for Restricting Growth in Life Sciences Sector; NHS Advocates Selling Confidential Patient Data For Secondary Purposes

Reed Smith’s Global Regulatory Enforcement Law blog features two posts of interest to those in the life sciences industry, both written by Reed Smith partner Cynthia O’Donoghue. “EU Research Group Condemns EU Regulation for Restricting Growth in Life Sciences Sector” discusses the opposition of a lobbying group, led by the Wellcome Trust, to amendments to … Continue Reading

Physician Practice Caught in OCR Crossfire Following Theft of Unencrypted Flash Drive

The theft of an unencrypted flash drive has led to an agreement by Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C., of Concord, Mass., to pay $150,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules. This case marks the first settlement with a covered entity for not having policies and procedures in place to address the breach notification provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.… Continue Reading

OCR Releases HIPAA Guide for Law Enforcement

This post was authored by Brad Rostolsky and Jennifer Pike. On September 20, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced the addition of a new resource on its website to assist law enforcement and emergency planners when addressing information-sharing that may be subject to the HIPAA … Continue Reading

OCR Announces Enforcement Delay for CLIA Labs

Recent posts on www.lifescienceslegalupdate.com include: "OCR Releases HIPAA Guide for Law Enforcement," which links to new references on the HHS website for law enforcement and emergency planners. View the entire entry: http://www.lifescienceslegalupdate.com/2013/09/articles/data-privacy/ocr-releases-hipaa-guide-for-law-enforcement/ ...and "OCR Announces Enforcement Delay for CLIA Labs," which references the HHS' decision to delay enforcement of certain requirements pertaining to HIPAA-covered labs.… Continue Reading

HHS Releases Prescription Refill Reminder Guidance

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released on September 19, 2013 guidance on financially remunerated prescription refill reminders. The release of the guidance follows an announcement September 11, 2013, that HHS has decided not to enforce the restrictions on financially remunerated prescription refill reminders until November 7, 2013, 45 days after the general HITECH compliance date of September 23, 2013. HHS' decision to delay enforcement came on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Adheris, Inc., a Massachusetts company that provides prescription refill reminders. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HITECH Final Rule's restrictions on remunerated prescription refill reminders.… Continue Reading

HITECH FINAL RULE DELAYED ENFORCEMENT: PRESCRIPTION REFILL REMINDERS

On September 5, 2013, Adheris, Inc. ("Adheris"), a Massachusetts company that provides, among other services, prescription refill reminders, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health & Human Services ("Secretary"), and the Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS"), challenging the constitutionality of the HITECH Final Rule's restrictions on remunerated prescription refill reminders. Contemporaneous with its lawsuit, Adheris filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Secretary's enforcement of these restrictions, which was set to begin on September 23, 2013. In a joint motion filed by the parties today seeking to suspend the court's schedule on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the Secretary and HHS have informed the court that HHS expects to release guidance by September 23, 2013, on the HITECH Final Rule's "reasonable in amount" restriction applicable to financially remunerated prescription refill reminders. The Secretary has also decided not to enforce the restrictions on financially remunerated prescription refill reminders until November 7, 2013, 45 days after the general HITECH compliance date of September 23, 2013.… Continue Reading

If Your Old Photocopier Could Talk, What Would It Say? Health Plan’s Used Photocopier Linked to $1.2 Million HIPAA Settlement

Who knew that photocopiers stored information? Apparently "CBS Evening News" did, and now an April 2010 investigative report has led to a million-dollar HIPAA settlement. Affinity Health Plan, Inc. (Affinity), a New York-based, not-for-profit health plan, agreed to pay the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) $1,215,780 to settle potential violations of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. The settlement resulted from a breach self-report by Affinity, which first learned of the electronic protected health information (PHI) stored on its formerly leased photocopier's hard drive from "CBS Evening News" (CBS).… Continue Reading

OCR Continues to Use Breach Self-Reports as an Invitation to Audit General HIPAA Compliance

On September 17, 2012, the HHS Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") announced another settlement and corrective action plan following an entity's breach self-report required by HITECH's Breach Notification Rule. Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Associates, Inc. (collectively "MEEI") have agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Security Rule following the theft of a physician's unencrypted, but protected, laptop, providing additional evidence that: (1) OCR will likely view any breach notification as an opportunity to conduct a de facto audit of an entity's general HIPAA compliance; and (2) encryption of all portable devices containing electronic protected health information ("ePHI"), though not technically "required," is a critical compliance consideration.… Continue Reading

Small Cardiology Practice to Pay $100,000 to Settle Allegations of HIPAA Violations

On April 17, 2012, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced a settlement and corrective action plan with Phoenix Cardiac Surgery, P.C. (Phoenix), a small cardiology practice based in Phoenix and Prescott, Arizona. More specifically, Phoenix has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle allegations of HIPAA violations arising out of an investigation conducted by OCR.… Continue Reading
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