H. Carol Saul, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice in the Atlanta office, was quoted in an article stating that lost and stolen laptops and portable electronic devices figure prominently in a recently released HHS list of patient-information breaches affecting more than 500 patients.
The article, “Stolen Laptops Part of HHS List of Breaches Affecting More Than 500 Patients,” stated the HHS list of 41 incidents, including laptops, was required by the HIPAA amendments included in the Health Insurance Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, effective February 2009. In one case, two laptops were stolen from AvMed Health Plans’ corporate offices in Florida, affecting more than 350,000 patients.
Home health agencies shouldn’t take such cases lightly, warned Saul. Along with requiring reporting of breaches affecting 500 or more patients, the HITECH Act also increases penalties to as high as $1.5 million for violations of a single HIPAA provision and gives state attorneys general the authority to enforce HIPAA laws.