Health Information Management

Nevada, Massachusetts, other states enacting regulations to prevent data breaches

HIM-HIPAA Insider, October 27, 2008

Thanks to new legislation, protecting people’s data is now of primary importance in several states. Businesses, including healthcare organizations, in Nevada, and beginning January 1, 2009, Massachusetts, need to pay more attention to protecting customer data, according to an October 16 article in the Wall Street Journal. Washington and Michigan are considering similar regulations.
Massachusetts businesses are required to encrypt customer data stored on portable devices (e.g., laptop computers) as of January, reports the newspaper. Karen Grant, chief privacy officer of the Boston-based Partners HealthCare System, Inc., told the Wall Street Journal that compliance with the regulation will cost more than $100,000.
The breach-notification legislation enacted by more than 40 states has done little to reduce security breaches, according to the newspaper. "Breach-notification laws deal with what happens after the horse leaves the barn," Daniel Crane, undersecretary of the MA Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, told the Wall Street Journal. The regulation taking effect in January should help "prevent the horse from getting out of the barn in the first place."
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