Insufficient risk analysis results in data breach and $400,000 settlement

Featured image

Share this article

metro phishing attackMetro Community Provider Network (MCPN), a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), has incurred a data breach due to an insufficient risk analysis and poor preventative actions.

As a result, MCPN has agreed to pay $400,000 to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Along with the fee, the health center will implement a corrective action plan as well.

2012 Metro Community Provider Network Data Breach 

Dating back to January 27, 2012, the Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN) filed a breach report with the OCR.

The report indicated that a hacker accessed an employee’s email account through a phishing incident. With the access, the hacker was able to obtain the ePHI of 3,200 individuals.

The OCR investigates the breach

The OCR conducted an investigation and discovered troubling finds:

  • MCPN took necessary corrective action related to the phishing incident; however, the investigation also revealed that MCPN failed to conduct a risk analysis until mid-February 2012.
  • Prior to the breach incident, MCPN had not conducted a risk analysis to assess the risks and vulnerabilities in its ePHI environment, and, consequently, had not implemented any corresponding risk management plans to address the risks and vulnerabilities identified in a risk analysis.
  • When MCPN finally conducted a risk analysis, that risk analysis (as well as all subsequent risk analyses) were insufficient to meet the requirements of the Security Rule.

Sufficient risk analyses are imperative

The MCPN conducted their annual risk analysis too late, and they did not implement any corrective actions following the risk analysis. Moreover, the risk analysis that was done was insufficient.

Following the investigation and settlement, OCR Director Roger Severino said the following: “Patients seeking health care trust that their providers will safeguard and protect their health information. Compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule helps covered entities meet this important obligation to their patient communities.”

At Paubox, we have written numerous times about the importance of HIPAA and how to avoid violations. Our articles echo Mr. Severino statements about how important meeting HIPAA compliance is for covered entities and business associates.

As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN) provides primary medical care, dental care, pharmacies, social work, and behavioral health care services throughout the greater Denver, Colorado metropolitan area.

They service approximately 43,000 patients per year, a large majority of whom have incomes at or below the poverty level.

In return for these services, MCPN gets funding and other financial benefits from the government.

However, their status as a FQHC is now in question by the OCR following this incident.

Try Paubox Email Suite for FREE today.
Author Photo

About the author

Phuong Tran

Phuong Tran is a Carnegie Mellon University-Heinz College graduate with a degree in healthcare policy and management. In his spare time he enjoys discovering new restaurants and playing basketball.

Read more by Phuong Tran

Get started with
end-to-end protection

Bolster your organization’s security with healthcare’s most trusted HIPAA compliant email solution

The #1-rated email encryption 
and security software on G2

G2 Badge: Email Encryption Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Best Usability Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Encryption Momentum Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Best Relationship Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Security Users Most Likely to Recommend Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Relationship Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Meets Requirements Fall 2022
G2 Badge - Users Most Likely to Recommend Summer 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Results Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Usability Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Best Support Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest To Use Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest Setup Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest Admin Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Easiest to do Business with Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Highest User Adoption 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway High Performer Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Momentum Leader Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Most Implementable Fall 2022
G2 Badge: Email Gateway Users Most Likely to Recommend Fall 2022