Privacy and Data Protection – Healthcare

Overview

Healthcare providers and insurers as well as employee health plan administrators are all particularly vulnerable to data security incidents due to the highly sensitive patient information they maintain, including Social Security numbers, payment records, and confidential medical information. In addition, healthcare clients must deal with the extensive regulations impacting the healthcare industry, including HIPAA and HITECH. We regularly counsel hospitals, medical groups, insurers, and employers with regard to risk assessments, developing comprehensive incident response plans, and responding in a timely and accurate manner to data incidents, from lost files and laptops to the largest cyber incident involving medical information ever reported.

Select Experience

  • Excellus BlueCross, acting as incident response counsel.
  • Premera Blue Cross, acting as incident response and regulatory and class action defense counsel with regard to one of the largest incidents involving medical information ever reported.
  • Community Health Systems, defending multiple class actions arising from the largest HIPAA breach up to that date by hackers known as APT 18 who used the computer bug Heartbleed to access VPN log-in credentials, impacting more than 6 million patients through the loss of Social Security numbers, names, addresses, and phone numbers and defending the state’s attorney general regulatory investigations.
  • Eisenhower Medical Center, serving as lead counsel in a California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) case arising out of thefts of computers, one of which contained index information for more than 500,000 patients, obtaining a favorable ruling from the Court of Appeal that the patient index information is not “medical information” as defined under the CMIA, denial of review of the decision by the California Supreme Court and remand to the trial court, where it was ultimately dismissed voluntarily by the plaintiffs, with no payment by our client.
More »

Experience

  • Excellus BlueCross, acting as incident response counsel.
  • Premera Blue Cross, acting as incident response and regulatory and class action defense counsel with regard to one of the largest incidents involving medical information ever reported.
  • Community Health Systems, defending multiple class actions arising from the largest HIPAA breach up to that date by hackers known as APT 18 who used the computer bug Heartbleed to access VPN log-in credentials, impacting more than 6 million patients through the loss of Social Security numbers, names, addresses, and phone numbers and defending the state’s attorney general regulatory investigations.
  • Eisenhower Medical Center, serving as lead counsel in a California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) case arising out of thefts of computers, one of which contained index information for more than 500,000 patients, obtaining a favorable ruling from the Court of Appeal that the patient index information is not “medical information” as defined under the CMIA, denial of review of the decision by the California Supreme Court and remand to the trial court, where it was ultimately dismissed voluntarily by the plaintiffs, with no payment by our client.
  • Advocate Health and Hospitals, acting as lead counsel in defending 12 class actions in Illinois state and federal courts arising out of the theft of computers alleged to have contained patient information for more than 4 million patients, and winning motions to dismiss all of the lawsuits, which were with prejudice in all but one of the cases.
  • A Florida-based health system, assisting in a data security incident response and the subsequent regulatory investigations arising from an incident where employees accessed information for approximately 14,000 patients, allegedly to sell to chiropractors and lawyers, providing breach response, crisis management, and regulatory advice, and working with the FBI and law enforcement investigations.
  • A Florida-based health system, providing advice after it discovered that patient information for more than 100,000 people might have been improperly accessed by an employee through a Web portal, working with the health system on breach analysis, crisis management, investigation of the incident, and regulatory compliance.
  • A Texas healthcare provider, advising on a data security incident involving the loss of an unencrypted portable hard drive containing patient information, including medical and research information affecting approximately 4,000 individuals.
  • A North Carolina health system, providing data security incident response services after it learned thieves stole an unencrypted thumb drive containing roughly 11,000 patients’ names, medical record numbers, and physicians’ names.

Recognition

  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, we were named to the 2018 BTI Client Service 30 for the fourth consecutive year.

Publications

Key Contacts

Blog

In The Blogs

Previous Next
Data Privacy Monitor
Looking Back: The Federal Trade Commission Issues Annual Data Privacy Report for 2017
February 6, 2018
On Jan. 18, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published its Annual Privacy and Data Security Update. The update is helpful to businesses in that it recaps the efforts and areas of involvement the FTC has targeted in the past year as...
Read More ->
Data Privacy Monitor
SAMHSA Updates Privacy Regulations to Reflect Advancements in Healthcare
January 31, 2018
On Jan. 3, 2018, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued its final rule regarding the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records Part 2. These changes become effective Feb. 2, 2018. As...
Read More ->
Data Privacy Monitor
Clock Ticking, European Commission Launches GDPR Implementation Guidance Website
January 26, 2018
With only four months remaining until the EU General Data Protection Regulation takes effect on May 25, 2018, the European Commission has launched a new website offering guidance on requirements and implementation targeted at an array of...
Read More ->
Data Privacy Monitor
Aetna Agrees to Pay $17 Million and Implement Best-Practices Policy to Settle Claims of HIV-related Privacy Violations
January 25, 2018
Last week, Aetna agreed to resolve class action claims of privacy violations related to the disclosure of thousands of members’ HIV status. The agreement will require the insurance giant to pay over $17 million into a settlement fund, the...
Read More ->
Data Privacy Monitor
A New Tax Season, but the Same W-2 Spear Phishing Scam
By David M. Brown
January 22, 2018
According to the IRS, the IRS saw the number of businesses, public schools, universities, tribal governments and nonprofits victimized by W-2 scams increase to 200 in 2017 from 50 in 2016. Those 200 victims translated into several hundred...
Read More ->