Impermissible Disclosure of ePHI Lead to $2.2 Million Settlement

by | Jan 20, 2017

MAPFRE Life Assurance Company of Puerto Rico – A subsidiary of MAPFRE S.A., of Spain – has agreed a $2.2 million settlement, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, to resolve potential noncompliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

The penalty settlement relates to the disclosure of the electronic protected health information of 2,209 patients in 2011. On September 29, 2011, a USB storage device (pen drive) was left overnight in the IT Department from where it was illegally taken. The USB device contained a range of patients’ ePHI, including full names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The USB device was not securely protected by a password and data on the device were not encrypted.

MAPFRE Life made the device theft known to OCR, which began an investigation to determine whether HIPAA Rules had been violated, as is customary with all breaches of ePHI that impact more than 500 individuals.

MAPFRE Life is the second HIPAA-covered body to settle potential HIPAA breaches with OCR in 2017. Last week, OCR revealed a settlement of $475,000 had been agreed with Presense Health for violations of the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule.

OCR has enhances its enforcement of HIPAA Rules in the last few years, with more settlements agreed last year than in any other. In 2016, 12 healthcare organizations settled potential HIPAA violations with OCR, along with one civil monetary penalty (CMP)..

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Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy is a highly accomplished journalist and editor with nearly two decades of experience in the field. With expertise in writing and editing content, Patrick has made significant contributions to various publications and organizations. Over the course of his career, Patrick has successfully managed teams of writers, overseeing the production of high-quality content and ensuring its adherence to professional standards. His exceptional leadership skills, combined with his deep understanding of journalistic principles, have allowed him to create cohesive and engaging narratives that resonate with readers. A notable area of specialization for Patrick lies in compliance, particularly in relation to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). He has authored numerous articles delving into the complexities of compliance and its implications for various industries. Patrick's comprehensive understanding of HIPAA regulations has positioned him as a go-to expert, sought after for his insights and expertise in this field. Patrick's bachelors degree is from the University of Limerick and his master's degree in journalism is from Dublin City University. You can contact Patrick through his LinkedIn profile:

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