Medical services company pays $3M fine due to data breach and HIPAA violations

Medical imaging company Touchstone Medical Imaging headquartered in Tennessee, agrees to $3M fine for data breach and HIPAA violations. Taken ...
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Medical imaging company Touchstone Medical Imaging headquartered in Tennessee, agrees to $3M fine for data breach and HIPAA violations. Taken from the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website:

 

 

“Touchstone Medical Imaging (“Touchstone”) has agreed to pay $3,000,000 to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and to adopt a corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security and Breach Notification Rules. Touchstone, based in Franklin, Tennessee, provides diagnostic medical imaging services in Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, Florida, and Arkansas. 

 

In May 2014, Touchstone was notified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and OCR that one of its FTP servers allowed uncontrolled access to its patients’ protected health information (PHI).  This uncontrolled access permitted search engines to index the PHI of Touchstone’s patients, which remained visible on the Internet even after the server was taken offline. 

 

Touchstone initially claimed that no patient PHI was exposed.  However, during OCR’s investigation, Touchstone subsequently admitted that the PHI of more than 300,000 patients was exposed including names, birth dates, social security numbers, and addresses.  OCR’s investigation found that Touchstone did not thoroughly investigate the security incident until several months after notice of the breach from both the FBI and OCR.  Consequently, Touchstone’s notification to individuals affected by the breach was also untimely.  OCR’s investigation further found that Touchstone failed to conduct an accurate and thorough risk analysis of potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all of its electronic PHI (ePHI), and failed to have business associate agreements in place with its vendors, including their IT support vendor and a third-party data center provider as required by HIPAA.”

 

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