Skip to content Skip to navigation

Alleged PHI Dumping Leads to $140,000 HIPAA Settlement

January 9, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has announced the former owners of a Marblehead, Mass.-based medical billing practice and four pathology groups have agreed to pay $140,000 to pay possible HIPAA violations. According to the press release, the confidential billing information for approximately 67,000 Massachusetts-based patients was improperly disposed of at a public dump.

According to the complaint, the owners, Joseph and Louise Gagnon, who did business as Goldthwait Associates violated several state and federal laws by disposing of these medical records, which contained protected health information (PHI) from four Massachusetts pathology groups at the Georgetown Transfer Station, at the dump. The information included names, Social Security numbers, and medical diagnoses that were not redacted or destroyed when they were dumped. The matter came to the public eye when a Boston Globe photographer saw the records while dumping out his own trash.

 “Personal health information must be safeguarded as it passes from patients to doctors to medical billers and other third-party contractors,” Coakley said in a statement. “We believe this data breach put thousands of patients at risk, and it is the obligation of all parties involved to ensure that sensitive information is disposed of properly to prevent this from happening again.”

Health IT Summit Series - Focus: CYBER-SECURITY

Get the latest information on Cyber-Security, and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day, intimate event bringing together C-level, physician, practice management and IT decision makers for strategy discussions, knowledge exchange, and one-on-one meetings.

Beverly Hills, November 3-4   |   Atlanta, December 2-3   |   Houston, December 8-9


BCBS Puerto Rico Affiliate Hit with $3.5M HIPAA Fine

December 1, 2015
Triple-S Management Corporation, a Puerto Rico-based insurance holding company affiliated with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has agreed to complete a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance corrective action program and pay a $3.5 million fine for HIPAA violations dating back to 2010.

Study: One in Three Family Physicians Already Pursuing Value-Based Payments

December 1, 2015
A study conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) found that 33 percent of family physicians are already pursuing value-based payment opportunities, although lack of time was identified as a top barrier to implementing value-based care delivery.

CPSI Acquires EHR Provider Healthland for $250M

December 1, 2015
In a deal that will impact rural and community hospitals, Mobile, Ala.-based Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (CPSI) announced last week that it would acquire Healthland Holding Inc. and its affiliates for $250 million.

Cornell University Scientists Develop Stroke-Detecting Device

December 1, 2015
Scientists at Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health have developed a device that helps diagnose stroke in less than ten minutes, according a study published in the journal Plus ONE.

Hospitals Lack Proper Web Security Programs, HIMSS Analytics Reports

November 30, 2015
While healthcare leaders understand the risks to data security, many still do not understand the best way to address security challenges, leaving hospitals and health centers vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, according to a survey by HIMSS Analytics.

Survey: So Far, Most Orgs Satisfied with ICD-10 Transition

November 30, 2015
About eight in 10 healthcare organizations have said that the ICD-10 transition—now two months in—has gone smoothly, according to a KPMG LLP survey.

Attendance Appears to Slide at RSNA 2015

November 30, 2015
If the final attendance numbers of RSNA15 remain close to the advance registration figures posted Monday by RSNA officials, attendance this year will have dipped 16 percent

Survey: Digital Tomosynthesis and Cloud-Based Image Sharing Are on Radiology Providers’ Radars

November 30, 2015
There continues to be rapid advancements in medical imaging technology and many radiology providers see breast tomosynthesis as one of the most exciting new and emerging imaging technologies, according to a peer60 report.

ONC Report: Personal Health Records Should be Integrated into HIEs

November 30, 2015
A report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recommends that patients’ personal health records (PHRs) be implemented in health information exchanges (HIEs).

Lahey Hospital and Medical Center Fined $850K for Potential HIPAA Security Violations

November 25, 2015
Burlington, Mass.-based Lahey Hospital and Medical Center this week agreed to pay $850,000 to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules stemming from a 2011 security breach.

Genomic Medicine Clinic in Alabama Opens its Doors

November 25, 2015
Last week, a genomic medicine clinic opened in Huntsville, Ala. with the aim of utilizing the power of the genomic sequence to identify the causes of illness in children and adults with undiagnosed disease.

DoD, VA Say Interoperability Requirements Have Been Met

November 24, 2015
The Department of Defense (DoD) says that it has met the interoperability requirements for electronic health records (EHRs) as called for in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014.

Senate Committee Advances Rural Health Care Connectivity Act

November 24, 2015
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last week passed a bipartisan bill that would enable rural nursing facilities to tap into funding from the government’s Universal Service Fund for telecommunications and broadband services.

Black Book Research: IT Outsourcing Poised for Growth in Healthcare Payer Sector

November 23, 2015
A new Black Book Research report estimates the demands of data security, population health and value-based benefits solutions—and revenue cycle modernization—will drive the payer IT outsourcing market in excess of $60 billion by the end of 2017.

EHRA, HIMSS Comment on CMS Value-Based Payment Models

November 23, 2015
The Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) and the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) last week weighed in on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and voiced concerns about new data reporting requirements and new certification criteria for alternative payment models.