HIPAA, (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), on the report dated November27, 2013 of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), that The University of Washington Medicine (UWM) has potentially violated its Security Rule by not implementing policies and procedures to prevent, detect, contain, and correct security violations. UWM has agreed to settle by paying $750,000, a corrective action plan, and annual reports on the organization’s compliance efforts.
The University of Washington Medicine (UWM) is an affiliated covered entity, which includes designated health care components and other entities under the control of the University of Washington, including University of Washington Medical Centre, the primary teaching hospital of the University of Washington School of Medicine. All the affiliated covered entities must have in place appropriate policies and processes to assure HIPAA compliance with respect to each of the entities that are part of the affiliated group.
The report of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), indicated the electronic protected health information (e-PHI) of approximately 90,000 individuals was accessed after an employee downloaded an email attachment that contained malicious malware. The malware compromised the organization’s IT system, affecting the data of two different groups of patients:
- Approximately 76,000 patients involving a combination of patient names, medical record numbers, dates of service, and/or charges or bill balances.
- Approximately 15,000 patients involving names, medical record numbers, other demographics such as address and phone number, dates of birth, charges or bill balances, social security numbers, insurance identification or Medicare numbers.
OCR’s investigation indicated UWM’s security policies required its affiliated entities to have up-to-date, documented system-level risk assessments and to implement safeguards in compliance with the Security Rule. However, UWM did not ensure that all of its affiliated entities were properly conducting risk assessments and appropriately responding to the potential risks and vulnerabilities in their respective environments.
The Resolution Agreement and Corrective Action Plan can be found here