Protect your patients, protect your practice, protect yourself.

The healthcare industry is beginning to realize that HIPAA is here to stay and they are probably going to be audited sooner or later.  What physicians and all healthcare providers need to understand is that if you don't protect your patients' PHI/ePHI the following can happen to your patients as a result of their identity being stolen and used. NOT Protecting Your Patients' (PHI/ePHI): You can cause them financial difficulties or even financial ruin. You can cause them undue stress, even a str ...

Focus on Technology: HIPAA Quick Fixes

While meeting all the HIPAA requirements for your technology (computer, network, etc.) requires some planning, there are some quick fixes that can greatly reduce the odds of your organization being breached while at the same time starting you on your path to compliance. Below are some common issues that we see at all sizes of organizations. How you go about correcting some of them is determined by the size and resources of your organization. Quick Fix #1 Issue: The operating system (i.e. Windows) on ...

Misconceptions Lead to False Sense of Security

In mid-August, The National Law Review reported the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it would focus more on smaller breaches, those affecting less than 500 individuals.  I think this reflects the growing concern that Small to Medium Business (SMB) are more vulnerable.  They are also less capable of detecting, responding to and reporting breaches.  IBM estimates that 80% of cyber thefts suffered by SMBs go unreported.  This is due to lack of detection, embarrassment, and fear of social media backl ...

HIPAA Violation leads to jail time

An east Texas man, Joshua Hippler, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for violating HIPAA regulations. Basically, he was trying to sell PHI for personal gain.  He worked in a hospital and obtained PHI that he planned to sell.  The story here is not about Mr. Hippler, it's about you being held accountable for the protection of PHI.  It's important to understand that you can now serve jail time for NOT being HIPAA compliant. Yes, it's true, Hippler had criminal intent, but if you take HIPAA lightly and ...

OCR HIPAA Audits: Don’t gamble your organization’s solvency

Risk of Random Selection for an OCR Audit: 1%-5% In July of this year, the OCR began Phase II of their HIPAA Compliance Audit process. They randomly-selected 167 Covered Entities for a “desk audit” and plan to conduct an additional 50-75 onsite audits over the course of the year. A similar process will be used to select and audit a sample of Business Associates beginning in September. Given the hundreds to thousands of Covered Entities and Business Associates in any particular category, the risk o ...

Healthcare under attack by new strain of ransomware

FireEye Labs has identified massive email campaigns by cyber-criminals during Aug, 2016 containing the Locky ransomware embedded in DOCM attachments.  DOCM is Open XML Macro-Enabled Document file used in Microsoft Word.  Which means the file contains a macro which MS Word will execute when you open the file in MS Word.  Healthcare is the leading industry targeted by the campaign. The healthcare industry is now the "industry of choice" by cyber-criminals since Protected Health Information (PHI/ePHI) i ...

Third Rock Announces – Custom HIPAA Policies and Procedures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Austin, TX, Aug 25, 2016 – Third Rock, provider of HIPAA Worry-Free Compliance™, announced custom, online HIPAA Policies and Procedures as an additional capability of  their compliance management platform, CompassDB™.  This new capability is designed to address common issues associated with policies and procedures found in most healthcare practices; outdated paper documents collecting dust on a bookshelf. The overarching focus of CompassDB™ is to reduce the cost ...

Healthcare entity leaves its patients exposed after breach

  Athens Orthopedic Clinic (AOC) in Georgia, suffered a cyber-attack in June of 2016 that impacted roughly 200,000 patients.  If that's not bad enough, AOC is not able to pay for extended credit monitoring for its victims.  The healthcare industry, including small, single doctor practices, needs to sit up and take notice. Cyber criminals are at your back door, front door and trying to crawl through your networks.  You need to take action to Defend, Detect, and Defeat cyber breaches from steal ...

Focus on Security: Top Ten Tips for Cyber-Security for Small Businesses

I know it's getting old and boring, but cyber-criminals are focused on PHI, which means we, in healthcare, need to take action to protect it. The SBA has a helpful list of cyber-security tips posted on their web site.  It's a great starting point to harden your defenses and defend against the highly likely cyber-breach.  Here's a summary of what's covered. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code Secure your networks Establish security practices and policies to protect ...

Achieving Your HIPAA Gold Medal

With the 2016 Summer Olympics in full swing I thought it apropos to use the analogy of achieving a gold medal to obtaining HIPAA compliance.  I know, not really fair or nice to the Olympics and Olympians, but it makes a decent blog post and a good analogy.   So, bear with me and work on achieving your HIPAA gold medal. Vision You need a clear vision.  You will obtain your goal of being HIPAA compliant.  You need to clearly understand what that requires.  Take our Free Risk Assessment to better un ...

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