Category Archives: OCR

October 4, 2016

Check Your Business Associate Agreements: OCR Tags Health System for Outdated BAA

By Kim Stanger, Holland & Hart LLP

The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) continues to emphasize the need for covered entities and business associates to have compliant business associate agreements (“BAAs”). Last week, the OCR announced a $400,000 settlement with a hospital system for failing to update its BAAs to include terms required by the 2013 HIPAA Omnibus Rule. In a press release, OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels stated,

This case illustrates the vital importance of reviewing and updating, as necessary, business associate agreements, especially in light of required revisions under the Omnibus Final Rule …. The Omnibus Final Rule outlined necessary changes to established business associate agreements and new requirements which include provisions for reporting.”

See Press Release here. Earlier this year, the OCR entered settlement agreements of $1,550,000 and $750,000 based on the covered entity’s failure to execute BAAs where the business associate had experienced a data breach. See reported settlements at https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/newsroom/index.html. The lesson is clear: covered entities must have BAAs, and those BAAs must contain the required terms; failure to do so may subject the covered entity to liability for the business associate’s breach. Continue reading