Another business associate breach, another gap to notification of patients
So here’s yet another breach with what seems like a long delay to notification.
In this case, Re-Solutions, a division of RSC Insurance Brokerage in Massachusetts, is a business associate to healthcare providers.
On August 23, 2018, an employee’s laptop was stolen. In its disclosure letter, the laptop was described as “password-protected,” but there was no mention of any encryption or ability to remotely wipe the drive upon discovery of the theft.
On January 22, 2019, RSC provided written notification to its clients that it had completed its investigation and analysis of the incident. There was no explanation in the notification to patients as to why the investigation and analysis took 5 months.
On March 1, RSC notified HHS of the breach as impacting 2,088 patients. They also began sending notifications to those affected. A template of the letter appears on the California Attorney General’s site.
Obviously, this incident did not impact as many clients or patients as the Wolverine Solutions Group I’ve reported on previously. But once again, we have a business associate breach and notification to patients within 60 days of notification to the covered entities — but long gaps (more than 60 days) from initial discovery that there has been an incident to notification to the covered entities.
I really wish HHS would dive into this issue more, as a thief obtained PHI on August 23, 2018 and had from them until March of 2019 to possibly be misusing data before patients were ever alerted. And that may be fine under HIPAA or HITECH, but perhaps it shouldn’t be (if it is fine).