5th Circ. Creates Roadblocks For New HHS Privacy Enforcers

By Allison Grande (February 5, 2021, 6:02 PM EST) -- The Biden administration could face a tougher time punishing data security missteps and securing record-setting fines following an unprecedented Fifth Circuit ruling in January that cut down a $4.3 million penalty against MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In a first-of-its-kind challenge to a penalty issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a unanimous appellate panel slammed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for holding MD Anderson to an unreasonably strict encryption standard and imposing a harsh punishment that didn't align with prior enforcement actions or its guidelines for calculating penalties.

"The Fifth Circuit's decision essentially eviscerates HHS' ability...

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