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Kirk Nahra Discusses Hospital’s Settlement of HIPAA Case

Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Report for Executives
November 30, 2015

Kirk J. Nahra, chair of Wiley Rein’s Privacy Practice and co-chair of the Health Care Practice, was quoted by Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Report for Executives in a November 24 article about a Massachusetts hospital’s $850,000 settlement with the federal government over potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The settlement was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR), according to the article. The investigation, which uncovered HIPAA compliance deficiencies, was conducted after Lahey Hospital & Medical Center reported the theft of a laptop that contained protected health information for 599 individuals.

The OCR is careful, diligent, and thoughtful about these types of cases, Mr. Nahra told Bloomberg BNA. He said the OCR generally acts when there is a very bad problem, a repeated, uncorrected problem, or a single problem that uncovers a larger series of issues.

Mr. Nahra said the Lahey settlement appears to be a case of a single potential breach leading to the discovery of multiple additional problems. He added that the $850,000 penalty appears to have been driven by the HIPAA deficiencies discovered by the OCR, and not by the laptop theft itself.

The article can be found here.