P>On April 17, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health &
Human Services Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") announced
that Phoenix Cardiac Surgery, P.C. ("Phoenix"), a
five-physician Arizona cardiology practice, has entered a
resolution agreement related to allegations that it violated the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
("HIPAA"). This is the first such resolution agreement
between the OCR and a physician practice. Under the terms of the
resolution agreement, Phoenix has agreed to pay the government
$100,000 and implement a corrective action plan requiring the
practice to develop policies and take other steps to correct the
The HIPAA violations covered under the resolution agreement were
identified as part of a 2009 OCR investigation triggered by a
complaint that Phoenix had impermissibly disclosed electronic
protected health information ("ePHI") by posting patient
appointment information on an Internet-based calendar that was
publicly available and include allegations that Phoenix:
Did not provide and document training of workforce members on
HIPAA policies and procedures;
Posted ePHI on a publicly accessible, Internet-based
Transmitted ePHI on a daily basis from an Internet-based e-mail
account to workforce members' personal e-mail accounts;
Failed to identify a HIPAA security officer;
Failed to conduct an assessment of risks to ePHI; and
Failed to obtain business associate agreements with the
Internet-based calendar and e-mail providers.
Whether you are an employer that provides health insurance for your employees, a business in the growing healthcare industry, a hospital, or other medical provider—or you provide services to any of those entities—you need to know about changes to the privacy and security rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
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