Flooding: Are You Prepared?

Here in Texas, the Gulf Coast is about to take a direct hit from a hurricane that is expected to dump up to 30 inches of rain in some locations and up to 10 inches across large areas. That kind of rain will definitely cause serious flooding.  It's a little late for the Texas coastal bend area and the large inland areas that will be hit the hardest to take planning steps for disaster recovery. They're in emergency evacuation mode already, protecting life and reducing property damage. What we can learn from ...

Incidental Exposures – What are they and what is their impact?

A number of customers contacted me recently concerning possible breaches and what they should do.  After reviewing their situations, these were actually incidental exposures.  What is an incidental exposure? It is a secondary use or disclosure that cannot reasonably be prevented, is limited in nature, and that occurs as a result of another use or disclosure that is permitted by the Rule.  Typical examples of such in the healthcare setting include conversations between patients and doctors where comp ...

Cybersecurity: It’s a healthcare risk issue

Wannacry may be the best thing that has happened to the healthcare industry in a long time. It brought to light just how terrible a job the industry does in protecting patients from identity theft.  That's what it means to lose a patient's protected health information or PHI. PHI is now a currency on the black market.  It is worth over a 100 times the value of a credit card record.  If you're a covered entity (healthcare plan, healthcare clearing house, or healthcare provider) or a business associate ...

Third Rock Recognized at Austin Recovery’s 50th Anniversary Event

Third Rock Recognized at Austin Recovery's 50th Anniversary Event Round Rock, TX, July 25, 2017 – On May 5th, Austin Recovery celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a luncheon gala at the Shalom Austin Jewish Community Center in Austin, TX. At the event, they recognized Third Rock, Incorporated and its partner Nivola Healthcare Solutions for their work and donations supporting the organization’s HIPAA compliance activities and related information security practices. Austin Recovery requested Third R ...

Missing the HIPAA Target – Part 5 and Last of the Series

In this series I have tried to capture key steps to enable successful implementation of critical HIPAA elements.   Right or wrong, HIPAA has become the recipe for cybersecurity for healthcare.  But because of the legacy of HIPAA, the majority of providers do not take it seriously.  If you are not taking cybersecurity seriously, you are heading for a train wreck! This series has emphasized: Being risk management proficient rather than being a "HIPAA Expert". Being accountable, which means ...

Missing the HIPAA Target – Part 4

In my first blog of this series, I stated that the intent of HIPAA was not to make you an expert on regulations, but to guide you to be risk management proficient, which is the ability to recognize threats and risks to your practice and manage them to eliminate or minimize their impact.  The next installment was accountability; taking ownership and delivering verifiable results.  This was followed by the importance of training.  What is the next? Well, you need to know how to identify risks and th ...

Care Disruption – The Ultimate Security Risk

We in the cybersecurity and HIPAA compliance communities talk a lot about breaches and fines and total costs of breach remediation - yadda, yadda, yadda. All non-trivial realities to be sure, but when the WannaCry ransomware attack paralyzed hospitals and physician practices and pharmacies and surgery centers around the globe, I was thinking about the members of the care team. Elective surgeries can be postponed and lots of routine wellness services, such as eye exams and hearing tests and school physic ...

Overwhelmed by HIPAA? Compliance is a Process, Not an Event

Like most major change initiatives, HIPAA compliance doesn’t happen in a day. It requires change by every person in the organization. Everyone who touches PHI (protected health information) must develop new work habits to keep PHI secure…Staff who answer phones, schedule appointments, and check patients in have to maintain patient confidentiality in very public work stations…IT staff must implement new technical safeguards and continually monitor systems…Managers must learn the new roles of P ...

HHS OCR: PHI Security is your top priority

If you haven't noticed, cybersecurity is a major issue in the world, politically, economically, and even personally.  No one wants their identity stolen.  No business wants to deal with customer (patient) retaliation caused from losing their personal health information, whether it's boycotting, bad press, negative social media or a class action lawsuit. In general the U.S. government is taking action to help protect small businesses by requesting a new standard cybersecurity guide be written by the Nat ...

Missing the Target of HIPAA – Part 3

If you haven't read my previous two blogs on this topic I encourage you to do so.  The first blog stresses the importance of being risk management proficient over being a HIPAA “expert”. The second blog deals with being accountable in your work actions, which means not only are you responsible for your actions, but your actions can be independently verified.  These two “factors” can go a long way to protecting your organization from the risks of a breach and from substantial penalties and fine ...

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