On December 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), through the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”), issued a proposed rule to implement statutory amendments enacted by Section 3221 of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). Specifically
California Expands the Scope of the CMIA to Cover Certain Digital Mental Health Services and Information
On September 28, the governor of California signed into law AB 2089, which expands the scope of California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (“CMIA”) to cover mental health services that are delivered through digital health solutions and the associated health information generated from these services. …
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California Governor Signs Legislation to Expand Genetic Privacy Protections After Last Year’s Veto
On Wednesday, October 6th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 41, the Genetic Information Privacy Act, which expands genetic privacy protections for consumers in California, including those interacting with direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) genetic testing companies. In a recent Covington Digital Health blog post, our colleagues discussed SB 41 and the growing patchwork of state genetic privacy…
Newly Effective Florida Law Imposing Criminal Sanctions Adds to Developing Nationwide Patchwork of State Genetic Privacy Laws
Last Friday, October 1, the Protecting DNA Privacy Act (HB 833), a new genetic privacy law, went into effect in the state of Florida establishing four new crimes related to the unlawful use of another person’s DNA. While the criminal penalties in HB 833 are notable, Florida is not alone in its focus…
FTC Reaches Settlement with Digital Health App, Requires First Notice of Privacy Action
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced this month a proposed settlement against Flo Health, Inc. (“Flo”), the developer of popular menstrual cycle and fertility-tracking application (the “Flo App”), resolving allegations that “the company shared the health information of users with outside data analytics providers after promising that such information would be kept private.” The proposed settlement requires Flo, among other things, to obtain review by an “independent third-party professional” of its privacy practices, obtain users’ consent before sharing their health information, alert users whose data was disclosed, and require third-parties that previously received that data to destroy it.
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HITECH Amendment Provides Some Protection For Covered Entities and Business Associates that Adopt Recognized Security Standards
On January 5, 2021, an amendment to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act was signed into law. The amendment requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to “consider certain recognized security practices of covered entities and business associates when making certain determinations” regarding fines, audit results, or other remedies for resolving potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). For organizations subject to HIPAA, the amendment provides substantial incentives to establish or improve their cybersecurity programs. While it does not establish a complete safe harbor from HIPAA enforcement, the amendment does offer organizations a chance to mitigate financial penalties and other negative regulatory actions that may result from a data breach.
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California AG Settlement Suggests Privacy and Security Practices of Digital Health Apps May Provide Fertile Ground for Enforcement Activity
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (“AG”) announced in September a settlement against Glow, Inc., resolving allegations that the fertility app had “expose[d] millions of women’s personal and medical information.” In the complaint, the AG alleged violations of certain state consumer protection and privacy laws, stemming from privacy and security “failures” in Glow’s mobile application…
HHS Announces Multiple HIPAA Settlements Related to Data Breaches and the Right of Access Initiative
Throughout September, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”), announced eight different settlements to resolve a variety of alleged violations of the Privacy and Security Rules promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). Notably, three settlements stem from data breaches in which hackers were able…
HHS Launches New “Health Apps” Website to Highlight HIPAA Guidance for Mobile Health Applications
On September 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced a new “Health Apps” feature on the HHS.gov website. The new website, which replaces the OCR’s Health App Developer Portal, highlights existing guidance for mobile health (“mHealth”) apps regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act…
California Legislature Advances Privacy Legislation
Our colleagues at the Inside Privacy blog have summarized a proposed bill in California (the Genetic Information Privacy Act) that would impose certain privacy obligations on direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies that go beyond the California Consumer Privacy Act. This summary may be of interest to entities that process genetic data in California.