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GAO: Tighter HIPAA Safeguards Needed at HHS

Dom Nicastro, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2010

He cited a 2008 incident in which a payment processing company was hacked, exposing more than 100 million Americans' sensitive information; and the Department of Veterans Affairs lost laptop that held more than 25 million veterans' health and personal information.
"These types of breaches are not only scary, but unacceptable," Carper said.

"This report from the Government Accountability Office shows that, despite increased awareness and progress in addressing this issue, sensitive information retained by federal agencies remains vulnerable to unauthorized disclosure and abuse by outside contractors working for those agencies," Carper said. "The federal government needs to do a better job of protecting sensitive information to prevent disclosure as well as ensuring that, if an improper disclosure takes place, contractors immediately notify the affected agency."

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