Health Information Management

Experts: Lack of HIPAA basics cost BCBST $18.5 million

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 19, 2012

HIPAA compliance 101—policies, training, monitoring, and risk assessments—might have saved Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) millions, experts say.

The health insurer agreed to a $1.5 million settlement with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) over potential HIPAA security violations and spent another $17 million in breach response costs.

On March 13, BCBST and the OCR, the government’s HIPAA privacy and security enforcer, reached the second largest financial settlement of its kind, behind CVS Caremark’s $2.25 million deal a little more than three years ago.

The agreement requires BCBST to update its HIPAA compliance policies and procedures, obtain OCR approval on all policy changes, and conduct unannounced random audits of its own employees.

This is OCR’s first enforcement action related to a breach that was reported per the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act requirements, according to a Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) press release.

Read the full story on HIPAA Update.

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