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ABI Journal Article Provides Precautions on Privacy Protection and Data Security in Health Care-Related Bankruptcies

Alexandria, Va. — As the number of health care-related bankruptcies continues to climb, an article in the June ABI Journal examines the extra precautions that practitioners should take in handling data and privacy concerns in a typical health care insolvency. “Among the most important considerations in any bankruptcy case, protecting privacy and safeguarding data becomes exponentially more complex in cases involving health care institutions, where patients’ confidential medial information is involved,” Jennifer Meyerowitz of GCG (Lake Success, N.Y.) writes in her article, “Privacy Protection and Data Security in Health Care-Related Bankruptcies.”

As in any bankruptcy case, Meyerowitz said that the collection and presentation of voluminous amounts of data is required. “However, in a health care-related bankruptcy or restructuring, the accidental and unintentional disclosure of protected data and other patient/consumer information is especially problematic, as fines and penalties are more significant and can be financially crippling at a time when many companies are facing significant liquidity constraints,” she writes. “Moreover, these errors can often expose professionals to significant litigation from various damaged parties.”

Meyerowitz said that more than 30 health care entities are under investigation by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for HIPAA violations occurring between Jan. 1 and Feb. 21, 2018. “These violations — stemming from unauthorized access or disclosure, hacking, IT incidents, loss, theft and improper disposal — can result in significant penalties for the health care entities,” she writes.

To remain ahead of compliance concerns, Meyerowitz cautions that counsel (together with all professionals engaged in the bankruptcy matter) should evaluate the health care institution’s current cybersecurity and data-protection protocols at the outset and work with the patient care ombudsman, if one has been appointed in the case, to address potential internal and external threats. “Failure to put fundamental data-protection mechanisms in place could result in penalties, including fines, damages and additional consumer remediation,” she writes.

To obtain a copy of “Privacy Protection and Data Security in Health Care-Related Bankruptcies” from the June edition of the ABI Journal, please click here. To speak with the authors, please contact ABI Public Affairs Manager John Hartgen at 703-894-5935 or jhartgen@abiworld.org.

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ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes nearly 12,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abi.org/education-events.

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