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In the News Press Release

Florida Hospital Pays $5.5M to Settle Patient Record Breach

Publisher: Bloomberg BNA's Health Care Daily Report
February 17, 2017

Eric Fader was quoted in an article, "Florida Hospital Pays $5.5M to Settle Patient Record Breach," in Bloomberg BNA's Health Care Daily Report. The article describes how the Office for Civil Rights' HIPAA settlement with Memorial Healthcare Systems, arising out of the improper disclosure of patient records, highlights the importance of keeping track of employee access to protected health information. The resolution agreement highlights yet another new wrinkle from the OCR, Fader told Bloomberg BNA. "Although I'm sure the OCR has investigated many data breaches that involved audit control and access policies, I don't recall any publicly announced settlements of this nature," Fader said. The large number of affected individuals (over 100,000) and the size of the penalty likely made this settlement a perfect candidate for publicizing through a press release, he added. The resolution agreement is especially interesting because Memorial's failure involved not reviewing and terminating employee rights to access information, as opposed to not having proper procedures in place at all, Fader said. There was also no indication in the resolution agreement that Memorial didn't take the breach seriously once it was uncovered, or that it failed to cooperate with the OCR investigation, Fader said. "The $5.5 million penalty, therefore, strikes me as rather high, but the fact that the breach apparently allowed the wrongdoers to sell individuals' protected health information surely contributed to the severity of the fine," Fader said.

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