NYSDA Publications

OCR Takes Action Against HIPAA Business Associate

The United States Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has taken action against CHSPSC LLC, (“CHSPSC”), which has agreed to pay $2,300,000 to OCR and to adopt a corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules related to a breach affecting over six million people.  CHSPSC provides a variety of business associate services, including information technology and health information management, to hospitals and physician clinics indirectly owned by Community Health Systems, Inc., in Franklin, Tennessee.  In April 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) notified CHSPSC that it had traced a cyberhacking group’s advanced persistent threat to CHSPSC’s information system.  Despite this notice, the hackers continued to access and exfiltrate the protected health information (PHI) of 6,121,158 individuals until August 2014.  The hackers used compromised administrative credentials to remotely access CHSPSC’s information system through its virtual private network.  OCR ‘s investigation found longstanding, systemic noncompliance with the HIPAA Security Rule, including failure to conduct a risk analysis, and failures to implement information system activity review, security incident procedures, and access controls.  “The health care industry is a known target for hackers and cyberthieves.  The failure to implement the security protections required by the HIPAA Rules, especially after being notified by the FBI of a potential breach, is inexcusable,” said OCR Director Roger Severino.  In addition to the monetary settlement, CHSPSC has agreed to a robust corrective action plan that includes two years of monitoring.  The resolution agreement and corrective action plan may be found at: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/chspsc-ra-cap.pdf.
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