June 13, 2014
According to the latest report published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), almost 95 percent of hospitals have registered for the Meaningful Use / MIPS program and 91 percent of hospitals have received reimbursements for Stage 1.
However, the work towards Stage 2 attestation is moving at a slower pace. It appears that only 447 eligible professionals and eight eligible hospitals have attested to Stage 2 in 2014. Given the slow progress, CMS is working towards a deadline extension for Stage 2.
An unencrypted USB drive containing the protected health information of nearly 34,000 patients was stolen from an employee’s unlocked locker at a hospital in northern California. The hospital is operated by St. Joseph Health — this is their third reported HIPAA breach, all of which involved the loss or theft of unencrypted electronic devices.
The hospital is currently examining their security policies and will be offering one-year-long credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to affected patients.
To date, 32 million patients have had their protected health information compromised as a result of a HIPAA privacy and security breach.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has announced that Joy Pritts, the chief privacy officer at HHS, will step down in July. Pritts’ final day is July 12 and a replacement has not been named.