The Consequences of Neglecting Shared Responsibility: A Business Associate Case Study

February 9, 2024

The world of healthcare data is complex, with numerous players responsible for safeguarding sensitive patient information. While doctors and hospitals are at the forefront, Business Associates (BAs) also play a critical role in HIPAA compliance. From marketing firms to IT organizations, any entity handling protected health information (PHI) for a Covered Entity (CE) becomes a BA, entrusted with a dual mission: serving clients and ensuring data security.

Abyde has written a case study on the consequences of Business Associates neglecting their shared responsibility.

 The case of Doctors’ Management Services (DMS) serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of avoiding BA responsibilities. In April 2017, a ransomware attack compromised the PHI of over 200,000 patients, putting them at risk. Shockingly, DMS discovered the breach over a year later, failing to implement basic security measures and promptly report the incident. This resulted in a $100,000 fine – the first-ever HIPAA penalty related to ransomware – and three years of corrective action under OCR monitoring.

The key takeaways are clear:

  • BAs, be proactive: Regular risk assessments, comprehensive policies and procedures, and continuous monitoring are non-negotiable. Proactive security is essential to prevent breaches and minimize damage.
  • Time is of the essence: Early detection and swift reporting of breaches are crucial. Delays, like in the DMS case, can significantly worsen the situation and lead to heftier fines.
  • Compliance is paramount: Ignoring HIPAA regulations is never an option. BAs must actively invest in security protocols and stay informed about evolving cyber threats.

Here’s how Abyde can help BAs navigate HIPAA compliance with ease:

We have a new software launching soon focused on assisting Business Associates achieve HIPAA compliance. Our software is revolutionizing, and it: 

  • Simplifies complex tasks: Our intuitive security risk analysis tool identifies vulnerabilities, while dynamically generated policies and procedures streamline compliance efforts.
  • Fosters a culture of compliance: Engaging training empowers your team, and the BA | CE Portal facilitates agreements and holds Covered Entities and Sub-Business Associates accountable, outlining each party’s responsibilities. 
  • Focuses on excellence: With Abyde, you can confidently fulfill your shared responsibility in protecting PHI, allowing you to focus on delivering exceptional service and achieving remarkable results.

Don’t wait to become the next cautionary tale. Choosing Abyde’s HIPAA for BA software demonstrates your commitment to compliance excellence.

Read the entire case study here

For more information on how your organization can achieve compliance, email and schedule an educational consultation here