As originally posted in Mintz Levin’s Health Law & Policy Matters blog
The Resolution Agreement subjects HONI to a two-year Corrective Action Plan (CAP), whereby it must closely monitor and promptly investigate any potential violations of HIPAA Privacy and Security policies and procedures by its employees. If HONI determines that a violation (Reportable Event) occurred, it must report the details of the investigation and all corrective action taken to address the Reportable Event to OCR within 30 days. (We note that it is unclear whether the 30-day countdown starts from the date the Reportable Event occurred or from the conclusion of the investigation.) Within 30 days of the end of each year the CAP is in place, HONI must notify OCR if no Reportable Events have occurred during the preceding year.
Providers may learn three lessons from the HONI resolution:
- OCR pays attention to the annual reports of breaches required under the Breach Notification Rule;
- no breach is “too small” for OCR enforcement action; and
- mobile device and laptop security is a continued concern for OCR.
Again, the risks related to the use of mobile devices like laptops, PDAs, and smartphones are well-known and have been addressed in previous blog posts both here and in our Health Law & Policy Matters blog on “bring your own device” policies and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary resolution (also stemming from a self-reported breach). As OCR Director Leon Rodriguez emphasized in the HONI resolution press release, “Encryption is an easy method for making lost information unusable, unreadable and undecipherable.” The HONI resolution shows that OCR will continue to address all breaches, large or small.