The second appellate district Court of Appeals in California ruled in favor of UCLA Health this week, after a patient sued the provider for damages based on a breach that leaked the protected health information (PHI) of approximately 16,000 patients. The ruling could have a positive affect on all healthcare providers, one industry association says.
The court ruled that in order for a patient to receive statutory damages based on negligent storage or maintenance of confidential medical information, the unauthorized person must have actually viewed the information. In this case, a laptop was stolen in a home invasion robbery of a UCLA physician. The laptop had encrypted information on 16,000 patients, and the encryption key was also stolen. However, there was no evidence that any third party illegally accessed the information, so the court ruled in favor of UCLA Health.
The plaintiff, Melinda Platter, said in the lawsuit that UCLA Health was in violation of the California Confidentiality of Medicine Act. She sought $16 million in damages. The California Hospital Association, which petitioned on behalf of UCLA Health, said the ruling was "good news for hospitals and other healthcare providers who are victims of theft or hacking of medical information where the plaintiff cannot prove that the thief or hacker actually viewed the medical information."
Eleven private insurers, including Aetna, Humana and Anthem, are urging the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider the experience of commercial insurers when evaluating the impact of telemedicine coverage in Medicare.
With the aim of improving patient safety monitoring, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently developing and testing an improved patient safety surveillance system.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding $210 million to Seattle-based University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, with the funds going toward the construction of a new building to serve as the initiative’s hub.
More than half (56 percent) of healthcare professionals believe their organization could be doing more to educate employees on HIPAA compliance and the rules around sharing protected health information.
The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is partnering with DigitalGlobe to create the Health Equity Atlas Initiative (ATLAS), a platform that standardizes and maps population data in order to generate insights that address health inequities.