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DC Federal Court Limits Former OCR Guidance on Medical Record Fees

The DC Federal District Court issued an opinion in Ciox Health, LLC v. Azar, et al., Case No. 18-CV-00040 (D.D.C. January 23, 2020) that reverses portions of guidance issued by the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) in 2016 related to the fees that a healthcare provider may charge for medical records that are requested by a patient and directed to a third party.  The original HIPAA Privacy Rule included provisions that a “covered entity” (1) must provide patients the right to access his or her protected health information (“PHI”) within a designated record set and (2) could only charge a reasonable cost-based fee for such access. In 2009, the HITECH Act amended HIPAA to provide that a patient could request that the patient’s access to PHI maintained in an electronic health record (“EHR”) be directed to a third party.  In 2013, the Omnibus Rule further broadened the third party directive and allowed patients to make this third party directive for access to PHI contained in any format.  Lastly, in 2016, OCR issued guidance that applied the fee limitation from the original HIPAA Privacy Rule to situations in which the patient directs the PHI to a third party.

CCPA, It’s Not Just Alphabet Soup

Our previous article “Does the CCPA Apply to My Company?”[i] outlined some questions to help determine if your company is included in the definition of business for the CCPA. Here, we give a brief overview of the law and discuss both its potential effects and enforcement.

One Key Takeaway from $3 Million Penalty by HHS for Exposing 300,000 Patient Records

The United States Department of Health and Human Services reached an agreement with Touchstone Medical Imaging in which Touchstone agreed to pay $3 million and adopt a corrective action plan in the wake of its data breach that exposed over 300,000 patients’ protected health information.

Dating Application Triggers National Security Concerns

You read it correctly:  The United States Government has deemed an online dating application to be a national security concern. The dating application Grindr has earned notoriety for being the gay equivalent to Tinder (a dating “hook up” application for straight people). Grindr has gained remarkable success. The application boasts of having 27 million registered users as well as an average of 3.3 million daily users.

Does the CCPA Apply to My Company?

Late last year California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) aimed at granting certain rights and protections to California consumers and also imposing obligations and limitations on businesses in an effort to provide consumers more control over their personal information. The CCPA becomes effective January 1, 2020, and companies across the nation are marking their calendars in anticipation of privacy practice changes reminiscent of those ushered in by the European Union’s GDPR last year. Although the CCPA is often compared to the GDPR, the two privacy laws are different and compliance with one does not ensure compliance with the other. In undertaking compliance measures, the initial inquiry companies should analyze is the question of whether the CCPA applies to the company.

Maintaining Compliance with Substance Use Disorder Information

Does your organization provide substance use treatment services or receive information from a treatment program that identifies an individual as having a substance use disorder?  If so, your organization may be subject to 42 C.F.R. Part 2 and may have obligations to amend contractual provisions to maintain compliance.

ABA Explains Lawyers’ Ethical Obligations for Data Security and Data Breach

Lawyers, like others in business, must comply with the data security and data breach notification laws of the 50 states that are applicable to their practices. But, according to the American Bar Association, their obligations do not end there. On October 17, 2018, the ABA issued Ethics Opinion 483 titled Lawyers’ Ethical Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack

Revisit Privacy Notices for the New Year

Consumer-facing privacy notices carry legal consequences and a carefully drafted privacy notice may function to save a company in data privacy litigation or regulatory actions. Accordingly, several reasons exist for companies to frequently revisit privacy notices.

Yahoo! Data Breach Settlement Increases Risk for Companies’ Directors and Officers

The recent Yahoo! settlement marks a substantial step in data breach shareholder derivative litigation that increases the risk for officers and directors of companies that have a data breach. On January 9, 2019, Yahoo! Agreed to pay a total of $29 million to its shareholders to settle a lawsuit against several former directors and officers alleging that their poor management of the company led to the data breaches which substantially impacted the company’s value.

Illinois: Land of 12 Million Biometric Privacy Regulators

The Supreme Court of Illinois recently held that every Illinois citizen has a private right of action to enforce violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) without alleging or showing actual harm. Businesses collecting, using and storing the biometric data of Illinois consumers take notice:  there are over 12 million regulators with the power to enforce this law against you. But don’t worry too much, the state’s high court promises that “Compliance should not be difficult.”

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