Health Information Management

Rhode Island hospital enters into $150,000 settlement with Massachusetts

HIM-HIPAA Insider, August 4, 2014

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Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island agreed to a $150,000 settlement with the Massachusetts Attorney General for a November 2012 breach that affected more than 12,000 Massachusetts patients, according to Boston Business Journal.

 
The breach began in 2011 when the hospital transferred 19 unencrypted back-up tapes from the hospital’s prenatal diagnostic centers in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island, to a central data center for its parent company, Care New England Health System. The parent company then sent the tapes off-site for archival. In 2012, Women & Infants Hospital staff discovered that 12 of the tapes were missing. The tapes contained patients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, exam dates, and ultrasound images, as well as physicians’ names. Approximately 1,800 patients from other states were also affected, Boston Business Journal reported.
 
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint against Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island July 2, 2014, alleging that the hospital violated HIPAA by failing to track the back-up tapes and neglecting to notify affected patients of the breach in a timely manner. Under the settlement agreement, the hospital must maintain an inventory of its systems, custodians, and descriptions of unencrypted data and paper charts that contain PHI, Boston Business Journal reported.
 
This article originally appeared on HCPro’s HIPAA Update blog. Stay up to date on all things HIPAA by signing up for e-mail updates from this blog.



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