NY AG and HHS Flex Regulatory Muscles in Recent Protected Health Information Breach Settlements

Recent enforcement actions against Aetna Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. resulted in respondents agreeing to pay significant fines and to update their policies, procedure and training. These cases, brought by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York and the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, are an important reminder that human error is often a significant factor in data breaches and that physical security is a critical component of data privacy. In addition, the Aetna action is the most recent example of New York's active cybersecurity efforts. "New York has been on the leading edge of data security regulation. . . The Attorney General [] has been proactive," Patterson Belknap partner Craig A. Newman told Cybersecurity Law Report. "It's fair to say that cyber is at the top of the state's regulatory agenda." We detail the breaches and settlement terms. See also “Takeaways From State AGs’ Record-Breaking Target Data Breach Settlement” (May 31, 2017).

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