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OCR Confirms Walgreens HIPAA Investigation

Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, August 5, 2010

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) confirmed this week its investigation into the nation’s largest drugstore chain, Walgreens, based on the same television media reports that led to million-dollar settlements with CVS and Rite Aid for potential HIPAA violations.

The HIPAA privacy and security rule enforcer’s investigation into CVS and Rite Aid began September 27, 2007, according to each pharmacy chain’s consent agreement with the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

The agreement included a $2.25 million settlement for CVS (announced February 18, 2009) and a $1 million payment by Rite Aid (announced July 27, 2010) with HHS.

Though neither consent agreement mentioned an investigation into Walgreens, OCR confirmed this week that it is looking into the HIPAA compliance practices of the Deerfield, IL, company.

Walgreens operates the most number of drugstores in the country ahead of No. 2 CVS and No. 3 Rite Aid.

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