UCLAHS Settles Potential HIPAA Violations for $865,500

Dom Nicastro, July 7, 2011

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entered into its third largest settlement for potential HIPAA privacy and security rule violations this week, reaching a resolution agreement Tuesday of $865,500 with the University of California at Los Angeles Health System (UCLAHS).

UCLAHS has also committed to a corrective action plan in order to fix "gaps in its compliance" with HIPAA's privacy and security rules, , according to a report on the HHS website published Wednesday.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which enforces HIPAA under HHS, investigated the health system following two separate complaints filed by two celebrity patients. OCR said UCLAHS employees repeatedly and without permissible reason looked at their electronic personal health information in addition to other UCLAHS patients.

This week's settlement ranks behind CVS Caremark Co. ($2.25 million, February, 2009) and Rite Aid ($1 million, July 2010) for the amount of money reached in an agreement with OCR for potential HIPAA privacy and security rule violations.

This February, OCR fined Cignet Health $4.3 million civil money penalty, the largest fine for such violations. It was not a settlement.

Dom Nicastro Dom Nicastro is a contributing writer. He edits the Medical Records Briefings newsletter and manages the HIPAA Update Blog.
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