The University of Massachusetts has agreed to pay a fine of $650,000 to settle a breach under HIPAA regulations. On June 18, 2013 a computer in the university’s Center for Language, Hearing and Speech department was infected by a malware program which lead to the disclosure of protected health information of 1670 individuals.
Under HIPAA regulations, the University elected to be classified as a Hybrid organization. This means they designated which facets of their organization were to be covered as health care components. The center where the breach occurred however, was not designated as a covered health care component and therefore the University did not take the necessary procedures to protect the protected health information. This represents a HIPAA violation. UMASS has agreed to take part in a full-scale enterprise wide risk analysis and develop a plan of action to implement the necessary safeguards to protect against future breaches. UMASS has also agreed to train their staff best practices in handling protected information.
Summary of HIPAA Violations:
- Failure to implement the correct policies and procedures to prevent, detect and handle security breaches.
- Failure to elect all of the components dealing with ePHI as covered health components.
- Failure to implement physical security safeguards for all of the workstations that have access to PHI.
- Failure to conduct a thorough risk analysis until September of 2015.
- Providing access of protected health information of 1670 individuals.