Tag Archives: Enforcement Action

FTC Brings the Enforcement Hammer for EU-US Privacy Shield Misrepresentations

For the first time, the Federal Trade Commission is holding companies accountable in three enforcement actions for misleading consumers about their Privacy Shield participation.

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

The Privacy Shield framework allows companies to transfer consumer data across the pond from EU member states to the U.S. while complying with EU data protection laws. The Privacy Shield was birthed to replace the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework which was deemed invalid in 2015.

To participate in the framework, companies must certify with the U.S. Department of Commerce and demonstrate compliance with the Privacy Shield Principles. The Department of Commerce maintains the list of active members, while the FTC enforces compliance.

During Safe Harbor’s tenure as the preferred data transfer mechanism between the EU and U.S., the FTC brought 39 enforcement actions against companies for reasons of noncompliance. Now we see the first three enforcement actions under the newer Privacy Shield framework.

Privacy Shield Enforcement

The FTC announced that three companies violated the FTC Act by making false claims regarding their Privacy Shield certification to consumers. The companies never actually completed the certification process.

  • HR software company Decusoft LLC falsely stated in its privacy policy that it “participates in and has certified its compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework.”
  • Printing services company Tru Communication (aka TCPrinting.net) falsely stated in its privacy policy that it “will remain compliant and current with Privacy Shield at all times.”
  • Real estate management company Md7 LLC falsely stated in its privacy policy that it “complies with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework.”

Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen notes, “Today’s actions highlight the FTC’s commitment to aggressively enforce the Privacy Shield frameworks, which are important tools in enabling transatlantic commerce. Companies that want to benefit from these agreements must keep their promises or we will hold them accountable.”

In conjunction with the settlements, the FTC prohibits the three companies from misrepresenting their participation in any privacy or data security program sponsored by a government or regulatory agency.

Key Takeaways

What can other companies learn from the mistakes in these cases?

The FTC is committed to enforcing misrepresentations about Privacy Shield participation. Given the prior settlements under the Safe Harbor framework, the FTC remains consistent in their efforts to hold companies accountable.

The FTC advises, “If you apply to participate in Privacy Shield, follow through. If you apply but then decide not to participate, don’t tout your compliance in your privacy policy or elsewhere on your website. Furthermore, if the Department of Commerce contacts your company about a deficient or incomplete application, it’s wise to heed the warning by completing the self-certification process in a timely manner or by removing any false statement regarding participation in the Privacy Shield Framework.”

Mishandling HIV Information Costs Hospital $387,000

St. Luke’s hospital came under fire after faxing two patients’ sensitive medical information against their request.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reached a settlement with St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center over violations of HIPAA’s Privacy Rule related to impermissible disclosure of protected health information (PHI).

Who is St. Luke’s?

According to the OCR press release, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Cetner Inc. (St. Luke’s) operates the Institute for Advanced Medicine, formerly Spencer Cox Center for Health, which provides comprehensive health services to persons living with HIV or AIDS and other chronic diseases. St. Luke’s is 1 of 7 hospitals that comprise the Mount Sinai Health System.

Data Breach Details

OCR received an initial complaint in 2014 regarding impermissible disclosure of patient health information by the staff at Spencer Cox Center.

OCR launched an investigation, finding the Spencer Cox Center staff faxed the patient’s PHI directly to his employer, and not his personal post office box as he requested.

Information disclosed included highly sensitive medical information: HIV status, medical care, sexually transmitted diseases, medications, sexual orientation, mental health diagnosis, and physical abuse.

Through the OCR investigation of this event, they discovered Spencer Cox Center was also responsible for a related breach of sensitive information and took no action to address the apparent issue. In the related breach nine months prior, staff faxed PHI of another patient (against their expressed instructions) to an office where the patient volunteered.

Settlement Details

The settlement includes a $387,000 penalty for St. Luke’s, along with a corrective action plan.

The corrective action plan includes several remediation steps:

  • Revise and distribute written policies and procedures concerning the uses and disclosures of PHI (mail, fax, or email), and update them annually
  • Revise and distribute training materials to include instruction on safeguarding PHI

Key Takeaways

For a case that involves the PHI of only two individual patients, this might seem like a heavy assessment by OCR. This high settlement amount conveys OCR’s focus on two areas in this case: 1) penalty proportionate to sensitivity of information and 2) penalty for avoidance of addressing compliance issues.

The settlement amount clearly reflects the sensitive nature of the patient’s information disclosed. The high penalty also addresses the avoidance of initial vulnerabilities. Had the Spencer Cox Center addressed issues within their compliance program during the initial breach, the procedures and policies would be in place to mitigate future events and prevent these types of impermissible disclosure.

It is no surprise to see OCR targeting a case with minimal individuals impacted. OCR noted last year they would start focusing more on smaller breaches. With this example, we see that OCR has been true to their word. We also reported on a $2.4 million penalty earlier in May for an incident involving only one patient’s information.

UK Company Gets into Snafu over Direct Marketing Emails

Direct marketing emails can quickly get a company into trouble. Two companies in the UK found themselves on the wrong end of compliance with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR).

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), tasked with enforcing PECR, recently issued a fine against Flybe and Honda for violating the direct marketing provisions under the regulations.

Flybe Case

Flybe is a regional airline carrier based in Exeter.

In August 2016, Flybe sent out emails with the subject: “Are your details correct?” The email requested recipients to amend any out-of-date information and update their marketing preferences. It also enticed participants to update their preferences to be entered for a prize drawing.

After a complaint to the ICO by an email recipient, an ICO investigation ensued and found that Flybe sent emails to 3.3 million customers who explicitly opted out of direct marketing from the airline company.

ICO fined Flybe £70,000 for their violations of the direct marketing provisions under PECR.

Honda Case

ICO issued a similar fine against Honda on the same day for £13,000.

Honda similarly sent almost 300,000 emails asking customers to clarify their marketing preferences. Without direct evidence to show whether the recipients consented to direct marketing, Honda violated PECR.

Again, the ICO found the emails in violation of PECR. The fine assigned is significantly lower that Flybe’s due to the smaller size of emails involved. The comparison of Honda’s negligence with Flybe’s deliberate noncompliance is also relevant when reflecting on the disparaging fine amounts

ICO Reflections

ICO made several assertions regarding the two cases and the subject of direct marketing under PECR.

Steve Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, confirmed that emails asking recipients if they want to change any marketing preferences are themselves marketing emails… not customer service emails. And thus, they are subject to the rules of PECR.

Further, any company sending these types of emails to customers who opted out of marketing emails are in violation of PECR.

In providing a solution for compliance, ICO referenced their recently

Key Takeaways

Interestingly enough, the violating companies were supposedly preparing for compliance under the GDPR for provisions related to consumer consent.

As the effective date for GDPR is approaching, expect to see more companies over the next year’s countdown looking for clever ways to comply with the consent requirements. Many companies with a presence in the UK will face similar dangers, like those impacting Honda and Flybe.

We’ve seen related issues with marketing emails in Canada as well. As we noted here, Canada’s law opens up to private right of action starting July 1st.

Companies should use caution when preparing for GDPR compliance or cleansing their marketing lists. Remember:

Don’t break one law in order to follow another…

$2.4 Million HIPAA Penalty for Disclosing One Patient’s Name

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a curious settlement with Memorial Hermann Health Systems (MHHS) last week after an OCR compliance review. The review found impermissible disclosure of a single patient’s PHI… leading to a $2.4 million whooper of a fine.

Who is MHHS?

Memorial Hermann Health Systems is a Houston-based, non-profit healthcare system. Their services include 16 hospitals and specialty service centers.

Breach Details

In September 2015, office staff at an MHHS clinic were presented a patient’s allegedly fraudulent identification card.

The staff immediately contacted law enforcement and the patient was arrested.

This disclosure of information was allowed under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. Covered entities are permitted to disclose information to law enforcement for the purpose of aiding in an investigation.

However, a media response by MHHS subsequently disclosed the same PHI. Senior management approved this impermissible disclosure and even added the patient’s name to the headline of the press release.

Despite the previous law enforcement exception, this new impermissible disclosure qualified as a violation under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule.

OCR’s new Director Roger Severino commented, “This case reminds us that organizations can readily cooperate with law enforcement without violating HIPAA, but that they must nevertheless continue to protect patient privacy when making statements to the public and elsewhere.”

OCR also notes in their findings from the compliance review that MHHS failed to document the sanctioning of its workforce members for the press release incident.

Settlement Details

The focal point of the OCR / MHHS settlement is the hefty $2.4 million penalty. Some industry experts are surprised to see such a large fine here, given the disclosure was a single piece of PHI.

A few factors might have contributed to the size of the penalty:

  • The nonchalant attitude from management regarding patient privacy and PHI disclosures
  • The failure to apply sanctions to staff in the aftermath of the disclosure
  • The larger size of the healthcare system

The settlement also included a corrective action plan. The compliance measures on MHHS’ to-do list include:

  • Updating policies and procedures on safeguarding PHI from impermissible disclosures
  • Training workforce members on the policies and procedures
  • Confirming their understanding of permissible disclosures of PHI, including to the media

Key Takeaway

OCR is sending the message loud and clear: Covered entities need to use proper discretion according to the Privacy Rule when disclosing patient information.

If your organization is questioning whether a use or disclosure of patient information is permissible under HIPAA, reach out and validate with our Cybersecurity team.

If you’d like assistance, send us a note and brief explanation to cyberteam@eplaceinc.com and we’ll help guide you in the right direction.

Additional Notes

If you’re following along with us and keeping tally, this marks the 8th HIPAA enforcement action in 2017. Those enforcement actions have netted the OCR a grand total of $17 million in penalties.

This particular data breach reminds us of a case we reported on last year. New York Presbyterian Hospital found themselves in a similar conundrum when mixing media and patient privacy. You can read that article here.

HIPAA Settlement: $2.5 Million for Neglecting to Address Cyber Risks

The latest HIPAA enforcement action involves the classic theft of an unencrypted laptop, but with an added twist.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) agreed to terms with CardioNet to settle violations of the HIPAA Security Rule. The settlement includes a hefty $2.5 million penalty along with a corrective action plan.

Who is CardioNet?

CardioNet is a technology company operating in Pennsylvania. They provide remote mobile heart-monitoring services for patients, and rapid response for those at risk of cardiac arrhythmias.

This represents OCR’s first HIPAA settlement with a wireless health services provider.

Data Breach

CardioNet first reported the incident to OCR’s office at the beginning of 2012. An employee’s laptop was stolen from their car while it was parked outside their house.

As we’ve seen in various cases before, the laptop was unencrypted and contained ePHI of 1,391 individuals.

OCR Investigation

OCR’s investigation revealed a couple shortcomings in CardioNet’s HIPAA compliance efforts.

First and foremost, the company failed to conduct a sufficient risk analysis or have adequate risk management processes in place. Additionally, their policies and procedures related to the HIPAA Security Rule’s requirements were still in draft form at the time of the theft.

During the investigation, CardioNet was unable to produce any final policies or procedures for safeguarding ePHI. The assumption is they were never implemented.

OCR chose not to place their focus on the unsecured, stolen device. Rather, their findings emphasized the company’s overall failure to implement required areas of compliance under HIPAA’s Security Rule.

After initially reporting the breach, OCR gave CardioNet the opportunity to shore up these issues on a voluntary basis. However, they noticed the company’s progress moving too slow, resulting in the formal enforcement action.

Settlement Terms

The parties agreed on a $2.5 million fine and corrective action plan as part of the settlement. The corrective action plan requires CardioNet to take the following compliance efforts:

  • Conduct a risk analysis and develop a risk management plan based on the findings
  • Implement revised policies and procedures with respect to safeguarding mobile devices
  • Review and revise their workforce training program to comply with the Security Rule

Key Takeaways

The hefty fine is notable for a couple reasons:

The organization lacked the fundamental elements of HIPAA compliance – risk analysis and mitigation efforts. One common trend in OCR’s heavier penalties is the failure to conduct a risk analysis. All other risk management practices stem from the findings of an organization’s risk analysis. OCR has made it clear they will drop the hammer on healthcare organizations that neglect the compliance basics.

The other factor in this case was the company’s continued disregard for overall compliance. From the time of the incident to the investigation, CardioNet had plenty of time to implement the policies and procedures required under the Security Rule. The fact they had yet to finalize those policies and procedures demonstrated their lack or priority for compliance.

Other healthcare organizations should take note and ensure they have the basics covered. Contact our team at cyberteam@eplaceinc.com to access our wealth of HIPAA compliance materials included in your cyber insurance policy.

Small Healthcare Practice Gets Slapped with HIPAA Penalty

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settled with the Center for Children’s Digestive Health (CCDH) for $31,000 over HIPAA violations related to business associate agreements.

CCDH is a small, for-profit healthcare provider operating a pediatric practice with seven locations throughout Illinois.

HIPAA Settlement

OCR began investigating FileFax Inc., a business associate of CCDH that stored records with protected health information on behalf of the healthcare provider. This led to a compliance review of CCDH in August 2015.

OCR’s investigation revealed CCDH started disclosing PHI to FileFax back in 2003. However, neither company could produce documentation of a business associate agreement prior to October 2015.

The conclusion was CCDH impermissibly disclosed PHI of at least 10,728 individuals to FileFax in violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

CCDH agreed to the settlement terms including a $31,000 penalty and corrective action plan.

FileFax Background

The rumor is the compliance investigation for CCDH stems from an incident involving FileFax in 2015. Mass amounts of medical records were found in a dumpster outside FileFax’s building. Those paper records were from another Illinois-based healthcare provider, leading to the investigation.

When regulators took a deeper look into FileFax’s privacy and security practices, it’s likely they discovered the lack of a business associate agreement and moved from there.

The attorney general in Illinois filed a lawsuit against FileFax for allegedly violating the state’s Personal Information Protection Act. That lawsuit was settled, including a penalty of $30,000 and a corrective action plan.

Apparently, the company is now out of business.

Corrective Action Plan

CCDH agreed to shore up their HIPAA compliance through revising their policies and procedures surrounding business associates.

The corrective action plan notably requires CCDH:

  • Designate someone to ensure business associate agreements are in place
  • Create a template business associate agreement
  • Report an inventory of business associates to OCR including copies of the agreements
  • Provide training to the workforce regarding the revised policies and procedures

Key Takeaways

Business associate agreements represent an area of low hanging fruit for HIPAA non-compliance. OCR has made it clear during prior settlements and the latest round of audits that business associate compliance is an area of focus.

This smaller settlement shows no healthcare provider can slip past HIPAA compliance. Healthcare providers will take note of OCR’s reminder here that smaller practices are held accountable for the same privacy and security standards.

Our cyber risk management tools include a template business associate agreement for organizations to leverage. If you need assistance accessing that template, or other vendor management resources, reach out to us at cyberteam@eplaceinc.com.

Phishing Attack Results in $400,000 OCR Settlement

Phishing incidents continue to be a top cause of data breaches. A phishing incident at Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN) led to the most recent OCR settlement for $400,000.

Who is Metro Community Provider Network?

MCPN is a federally-qualified health center providing healthcare services to the greater Denver area. Services include primary medical care, dental care, pharmacies, social work, and behavior health care services. Most of their 43,000 annual patients are at or below the poverty level.

Phishing Incident

In January 2012, MCPN reported a data breach to the OCR stemming from a phishing incident.

A phishing scam allowed hackers to access MCPN employees’ email accounts and obtain ePHI of 3,200 individuals. OCR’s investigation found the provider took proper steps following the incident to mitigate the damage.

However, the investigation also revealed MCPN failed to conduct a risk assessment until February 2012 – one month after discovering the breach.

As prior OCR settlements have taught us, risk assessments are foundational to HIPAA compliance efforts. Without conducting a risk assessment, MCPN didn’t implement any risk management practices to address identified risks and vulnerabilities.

OCF also commented that once MCPN did finalize their risk assessment, it didn’t meet the requirements of HIPAA’s Security Rule.

Settlement & Corrective Action Plan

OCR agreed to settle with MCPN for a penalty of $400,000. In the press release, OCR noted the settlement amount took into consideration MCPN’s status as a federally-qualified health center and their financial situation to be able to continue providing patient care.

The corrective action plan includes a several tasks for MCPN to strengthen their security posture:

  • Conduct a comprehensive risk analysis of security risks and vulnerabilities to include all current facilities and equipment
  • Develop an organization-wide risk management plan to address and mitigate any security risks and vulnerabilities identified in the risk analysis
  • Review and revise current Security Rule policies and procedures based on findings from the risk analysis and implementation of the risk management plan
  • Provide updated training materials to MCPN workforce based on findings from the risk analysis and implementation of the risk management plan

Key Takeaways

There’s no reason to believe OCR is changing its mind about risk assessments anytime soon. They are foundational to HIPAA compliance efforts. The advice for healthcare organizations is simple: do your risk assessment, and do it right.

If you’re looking for recommendations during the risk assessment process, reach out to our team for advice at cyberteam@eplaceinc.com.

FTC Settlement Showcases a Repeat Offender

When the cop gives you a ticket for speeding, don’t pull away from the side of the road and continue blazing down the highway. Upromise did just that, and the FTC caught up with them once again.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled with Upromise for $500,000 over violating a previous FTC settlement and consent order.

Who is Upromise?

Upromise is a membership reward service offering a loyalty program to families saving for college. The service offers credits for college savings accounts when members purchase from the company’s affiliates and partners.


In 2012, the FTC and Upromise reached a prior settlement. The FTC alleged Upromise’s TurboSaver toolbar collected users’ information without disclosing the extent of the collection. The user information was then transmitted insecurely over the Internet. This was in parallel with their privacy notice stating the toolbar would rarely collect personal data, and security controls were in place to protect such data.

The 2012 settlement included a few action items for Upromise:

  1. Clearly disclose the toolbar’s data collection practices
  2. Obtain consent from users before collecting data
  3. Obtain a third-party assessment regarding the toolbar

New Violations

Unfortunately, Upromise never made good on those promises.

After the 2012 debacle with the FTC, Upromise started promoting a new toolbar for consumers called RewardU. Now the FTC is alleging Upromise is making the same mistakes with its RewardU toolbar.

According to the FTC, the company failed to clearly and prominently disclose the collection and use of consumer data by the RewardU toolbar. The disclosures were hidden where a consumer would need to click a link, scroll through two full screens of text, and find the company’s statement in the second paragraph of a footnote.

Additionally, Upromise failed to obtain the required third-party assessments regarding the RewardU toolbar. The company instead submitted various assessments about their operations not implicated under the 2012 FTC Order.


All of this led the FTC and Upromise to settle once again… this time for a $500,000 penalty.

Upromise must also permanently expire any RewardU-related cookies and inform users who downloaded the toolbar how they can uninstall it and delete associated cookies.

Key Takeaways

This settlement shows the FTC is still committed to data privacy and security issues. This case is unique in that Upromise is a repeat customer. The FTC isn’t afraid to revisit prior settlements and hold companies to their promises in the resolution agreements.

HIPAA Settlement: Memorial Healthcare Systems

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) isn’t slowing down with its heavy fines. In the largest settlement of the year thus far, OCR settled with Memorial Healthcare Systems for a $5.5 million penalty along with a robust corrective action plan.

Memorial is a nonprofit operating six hospitals, an urgent care center, a nursing home, and other ancillary healthcare facilities throughout South Florida. They are also affiliated with physician offices through Organized Health Care Arrangement.

Data Breach

Memorial filed a breach report with OCR due to inappropriate access to electronic protected health information (ePHI) of 115,143 individuals. The ePHI was impermissibly accessed by Memorial employees, and impermissibly disclosed to an affiliated physician office’s staff.

The investigation found that login credentials of a former employee at the affiliated physician’s office was used to access ePHI on a daily basis without detection from April 2011 to April 2012. Information accessed included patient names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.

Access to the ePHI was linked to federal charges of selling ePHI and filing fraudulent tax returns.

HIPAA Violations

OCR found Memorial in violation of several HIPAA Security Rule requirements:

  • Failure to implement procedures for reviewing, modifying, and terminating users’ right of access
  • Failure to regularly review records of information system activity on applications with ePHI by the workforce

It’s noted that Memorial previously identified these specific risks on several risk analyses from 2007 to 2012.

Importance of Audit Controls

OCR released a related guidance document in their January newsletter, touching on the topic of audit controls. The guidance – Understanding the Importance of Audit Controls – highlights several relevant areas that audit controls assist Covered Entities:

  • Reviewing inappropriate access
  • Tracking unauthorized disclosures of ePHI
  • Detecting performance problems in applications
  • Detecting potential intrusions
  • Providing forensic evidence during investigations of security incidents

OCR Acting Director Robinsue Frohboese also commented on audit controls, “Access to ePHI must be provided only to authorized users, including affiliated physician office staff. Further, organizations must implement audit controls and review audit logs regularly. As this case shows, a lack of access controls and regular review of audit logs helps hackers or malevolent insiders to cover their electronic tracks, making it difficult for covered entities and business associates to not only recover from breaches, but to prevent them before they happen.”

Corrective Action Plan

The corrective action plan calls for Memorial to shore up its Security Rule violations by:

  • Completing a risk analysis and implement risk management plan to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities identified;
  • Revising policies and procedures regarding information system activity to require regular review of audit logs, access reports, and security incident tracking;
  • Revising policies and procedures regarding user access establishment, modification, and termination including protocols for access by affiliated physicians and their employees; and
  • Distributing OCR-approved revised policies and procedures to all workforce members as well as all affiliated physician practices.

Key Takeaway

If you’ve been tracking OCR’s enforcement actions from last year and into 2017, you’ve probably noticed the penalties steadily growing. One common trend in the investigations is the willful neglect of issues related to non-compliance.

In this case, it appears that Memorial was aware of the security issues faced by their user access controls, but failed to implement measures to mitigate the risk. OCR has pointed to this issue in prior settlements this year: If you find issues and threats during your risk assessment, the next step is to fix the problem!

If your organization needs any advice on mitigating risks identified in your risk assessment, send our team a note at cyberteam@eplaceinc.com.

If you’d like more insight on the cyber risks faced by healthcare entities, and common trends from OCR’s enforcement actions, join our webinar – Healthcare Privacy State of the Union – Tuesday February 28, 10:30 am PT / 1:30 pm ET:

  • Event ID: 2017
  • Event Password: 9870

HIPAA Settlement: Importance of Safeguarding ePHI

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is staying the course in 2017 with another enforcement action for HIPAA violations. The latest settlement is with MAPFRE Life Insurance Company of Puerto Rico (MAPFRE)

MAPFRE underwrites and administers insurance products and services in Puerto Rico, including personal and group health insurance plans. OCR settled with MAPFRE over impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information (ePHI) in a 2011 breach. The agreement includes a $2.2 million penalty along with a corrective action plan.

Data Breach Details

MAPFRE filed a breach report with OCR in 2011 after it discovered a stolen USB drive. The unencrypted USB drive was taken from the IT department where it was left unsecured overnight.

The IT department was able to determine that ePHI for 2,209 individuals was on the USB drive and impacted by the breach. The information included names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.

OCR’s investigation of the MAPFRE breach found several violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules:

  • Failure to conduct a risk analysis and implement risk management plans
  • Failure to deploy encryption on its removable storage media at the time

OCR’s corrective action plan calls for the insurance company to:

  • Conduct a risk analysis and implement a risk management plan;
  • Implement a process for evaluating environmental and operational changes;
  • Update its policies and procedures and distributing them to its workforce.

OCR Jocelyn Samuels said, “Covered entities must not only make assessments to safeguard ePHI, they must act on those assessments as well. OCR works tirelessly and collaboratively with covered entities to set clear expectations and consequences.”

Key Takeaways

This settlement reinforces OCR’s commitment to enforce HIPAA violations in the wake of a smaller-sized breach. Given the relatively small amount of affected individuals, the OCR levied a heavy fine. They noted MAPFRE’s failure to implement corrective actions in a timely manner after the breach.

MAPFRE continued to leave removable devices unencrypted until September of 2014, despite agreeing with OCR to implement the safeguard. Basically, the company had issues before the breach and failed to address them after.

The common lesson of conducting your risk assessments remains the same. However, this settlement shows that’s only the first step. Healthcare organizations are expected to implement mitigation measures and safeguards based on the risk analysis.