HHS issues first-ever HIPAA fine to small organization, for portable device data breach

Share this article:
Experts: Push EHR progress even if feds won't help pay
Experts: Push EHR progress even if feds won't help pay

The importance of security and strategies for the use of portable technology for small health organizations came to the forefront last week when the Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged it will receive a $50,000 settlement from an Idaho organization. The agreement came after allegations the group lost a laptop with health information for 441 patients.

The action is the first for a breach of protected health information for fewer than 500 individuals under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule. The not-for-profit Hospice of North Idaho reported to the HHS Office for Civil Rights that an unencrypted laptop with patient information was stolen in June 2010.

OCR fined the hospice because it did not conduct a security risk analysis or have policies or procedures to address portable device security. The HIPAA regulation is meant to safeguard electronic patient health information.

Also, the hospice did not implement security measures to address the loss of patient health data or manage that risk. A federal official said that covered entities, regardless of size, must take action and will be held accountable for safeguarding patients' health information.

Since the incident, the Hayden-based Hospice of North Idaho has improved its HIPAA compliance program and entered a two-year corrective action plan as part of the settlement. The corrective action plan between OCR and the Hospice of North Idaho can be found here.

Share this article:

More in News

Large hepatitis outbreak reaches 47 cases, podiatry company denies ManorCare's charges

The number of people infected in an infamous North Dakota Hepatitis C outbreak has risen, state health officials say.

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill to standardize post-acute assessments

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill ...

The National Quality Forum has come out in strong support of a proposed standardized quality measures, such as skin integrity, across different types of post-acute care settings. Uniform assessments are ...

CMS changes mind on hospice drugs

The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has revised guidance on authorization of hospice drugs for those under Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, according to a new memo.