[ISN] VA remains one of top privacy offenders

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/va-remains-one-top-privacy-offenders By Erin McCann Associate Editor Health IT News October 14, 2013 The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to be one of the biggest offenders of HIPAA privacy and security rules and has reported egregious breaches in recent years, affecting millions of veterans and active service members. From 2010 through May 2013, VA department employees or contractors were responsible for 14,215 privacy breaches affecting more than 101,000 veterans across 167 VA facilities, including incidences of identity theft, stealing veteran prescriptions, Facebook posts concerning veterans’ body parts, and failing to encrypt data, a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigation revealed. Recent VA privacy and security violations prompted a June 2013 hearing on Capitol Hill regarding the topic of protecting veterans’ private information. “VA places the highest priority in safeguarding Veterans’ and employees’ personal information,” Stephen W. Warren, acting assistant secretary at the Office of Information and Technology at VA, told lawmakers at the hearing. However, some say the agency doesn’t appear to have the privacy track record to support those comments. […]