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.”
The Health Information Trust Alliance, HITRUST, has announced updates to the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) and a new CSF initiative targeting smaller healthcare organizations to support their information risk management programs and improve their cyber resilience.
In a survey of 866 U.S. physicians, two-thirds of “organized provider” respondents said they are reimbursed primarily through alternative payment models designed to hold them accountable for quality, cost and patient outcomes.
Issues such as increased cost and lack of access to technology often deter the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems in post-acute care settings, such as rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities, according to a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Franklin, Tenn.-based MEDHOST, a provider of enterprise solutions for healthcare management systems, announced that its business intelligence solution has achieved Meaningful Use Stage 3 certification for Clinical Quality Measures (CQM) 2015.