An Alaskan nonprofit mental health care provider has agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve allegations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that it violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by failing to maintain adequate computer security measures, which resulted in a data breach affecting 2,743 individuals’ medical records.
The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) received notification from Anchorage Community Mental Health Services (ACMHS) in 2012 regarding a breach of unsecured electronic protected health information, or ePHI, according to the resolution agreement. The breach was due to malware compromising the security of the nonprofit’s information technology resources, but an OCR investigation revealed ACMHS failed to conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities of its electronically stored medical records.
According to OCR, the security incident was the direct result of ACMHS failing to identify and address basic risks, such as not regularly updating their IT resources with available patches and running outdated, unsupported software.
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