HIPAA Breach Notifications

Chris Meller filed this request with the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States of America.
Tracking # 14-0423
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Chris Meller

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All HIPAA breach notifications received by HHS between 01-01-2013 and the date this request is processed, regardless of the number of individuals affected. Please include both initial reports and addenda to previous reports.

At a minimum, please include the following fields, all of which are collected on the online breach notification form (http://ocrnotifications.hhs.gov/):

- Report type (initial or addendum)
- Name of Covered Entity
- Address of Covered Entity (Street, City, State, and Zip)
- Type of Covered Entity
- Name of Business Associate
- Address of Business Associate (Street, City, State, and Zip)
- Date(s) of Breach
- Date(s) of Discovery
- Approximate Number of Individuals Affected by the Breach
- Type of Breach
- Type of Breach (Other)
- Location of Breached Information
- Type of Protected Health Information Involved in the Breach
- Brief Description of the Breach
- Safeguards in Place Prior to Breach
- Date(s) Individual Notice Provided
- Was Substitute Notice Required?
- Was Media Notice Required?
- Actions Taken in Response to Breach
- Describe Other Actions Taken
- The date on which notice was filed with HHS

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Chris Meller

From: HHS FOIA

Received On: 12/24/2013

Request Number : 14-0423

This acknowledges your Freedom of Information Act request received in this Office on the above date. We have asked the appropriate action Office(s) to send the requested records to us for review.

Your request has been assigned a case number based on the date of its receipt in this office and is being processed as expeditiously as possible. Pursuant to Departmental regulations, 43 CFR Part 5 Subpart D, charges can be made if applicable. The actual processing time will depend on the complexity of your request and whether sensitive records, voluminous records, extensive search, and/or consultation with other HHS components or other executive branch agencies are involved. These agencies will provide a direct response to you. There may be a charge for those records and, in some cases, the charges may be substantial.

You may contact this office by phone at (202) 690-7453, at any time concerning your request. When making an inquiry, we request that you please refer to the FOIA Request Number above.

Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Division
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
330 C Street, S.W.
Switzer Building, Room 2206
Washington, DC 20201

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #14-0423.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #14-0423.

Thank you for your help.

From: Andra Wicks

Chris Meller,

Please contact me. I am the person who is processing your FOIA request related to documents about Breach Notification. We need to have a conversation. Please call me on my cell at 202-230-3777. Thank you.

Andra Wicks
Health Information Privacy Specialist

From: Bell, Michael (OS/ASPA)

Mr. Meller,
Ms. Wicks, an analyst with the Office of Civil Rights needs to speak to you about your request. Please call her at 202-230-3777 and use reference number 2014-0423. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks.
Sincerely,

Michael Bell
Acting FOIA Director
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)
Office of Secretary (OS)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Switzer Bldg, Room 2216
Phone: (202) 260-0793
Fax: (202) 690-8320
michael.bell@hhs.gov<mailto:michael.bell@hhs.gov>

From: Department of Health and Human Services

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Department of Health and Human Services

The request has been rejectedby the agency.

From: Chris Meller

I apologize, I had not seen the interim responses. I have left a voicemail at the indicated number with return contact information.

From: Chris Meller

July 3, 2014
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services FOIA Office
Freedom of Information Officer
Mary E. Switzer Building, Room 2221
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

This is a follow up to request number 14-0423:

I apologize, I had not seen the interim responses. I have left a voicemail at the indicated number with return contact information.

---

On June 30, 2014:

The request has been rejectedby the agency.

---

On April 4, 2014:

A fix is required to perfect the request.

---

On March 24, 2014:

Mr. Meller,
Ms. Wicks, an analyst with the Office of Civil Rights needs to speak to you about your request. Please call her at 202-230-3777 and use reference number 2014-0423. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks.
Sincerely,

Michael Bell
Acting FOIA Director
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)
Office of Secretary (OS)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Switzer Bldg, Room 2216
Phone: (202) 260-0793
Fax: (202) 690-8320
michael.bell@hhs.gov<mailto:michael.bell@hhs.gov>

---

On March 18, 2014:

Chris Meller,

Please contact me. I am the person who is processing your FOIA request related to documents about Breach Notification. We need to have a conversation. Please call me on my cell at 202-230-3777. Thank you.

Andra Wicks
Health Information Privacy Specialist

---

On March 2, 2014:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #14-0423.

Thank you for your help.

---

On Jan. 31, 2014:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #14-0423.

Thank you for your help.

---

On Dec. 24, 2013:

Received On: 12/24/2013

Request Number : 14-0423

This acknowledges your Freedom of Information Act request received in this Office on the above date. We have asked the appropriate action Office(s) to send the requested records to us for review.

Your request has been assigned a case number based on the date of its receipt in this office and is being processed as expeditiously as possible. Pursuant to Departmental regulations, 43 CFR Part 5 Subpart D, charges can be made if applicable. The actual processing time will depend on the complexity of your request and whether sensitive records, voluminous records, extensive search, and/or consultation with other HHS components or other executive branch agencies are involved. These agencies will provide a direct response to you. There may be a charge for those records and, in some cases, the charges may be substantial.

You may contact this office by phone at (202) 690-7453, at any time concerning your request. When making an inquiry, we request that you please refer to the FOIA Request Number above.

Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Division
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
330 C Street, S.W.
Switzer Building, Room 2206
Washington, DC 20201

---

On Dec. 23, 2013:

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All HIPAA breach notifications received by HHS between 01-01-2013 and the date this request is processed, regardless of the number of individuals affected. Please include both initial reports and addenda to previous reports.

At a minimum, please include the following fields, all of which are collected on the online breach notification form (http://ocrnotifications.hhs.gov/):

- Report type (initial or addendum)
- Name of Covered Entity
- Address of Covered Entity (Street, City, State, and Zip)
- Type of Covered Entity
- Name of Business Associate
- Address of Business Associate (Street, City, State, and Zip)
- Date(s) of Breach
- Date(s) of Discovery
- Approximate Number of Individuals Affected by the Breach
- Type of Breach
- Type of Breach (Other)
- Location of Breached Information
- Type of Protected Health Information Involved in the Breach
- Brief Description of the Breach
- Safeguards in Place Prior to Breach
- Date(s) Individual Notice Provided
- Was Substitute Notice Required?
- Was Media Notice Required?
- Actions Taken in Response to Breach
- Describe Other Actions Taken
- The date on which notice was filed with HHS

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Chris Meller

Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 9722
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

PLEASE NOTE the new address as well as the fact that improperly addressed (i.e., with the requester's name rather than MuckRock News) requests might be returned by the USPS as undeliverable.

From: Bell, Michael (OS/ASPA)

Mr. Meller,
Thank you for the response. I will contact OCR on Monday morning (I believe she is out today) and I will make sure your case is reopened with its original place in the queue. So you will not fall to the back of the line or anything like that. Please know, we only closed the case because we were told by our staff that they could not process the request without more information from you. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Sincerely,
Mike

Michael Bell
Supervisory FOIA Analyst/Senior Advisor
FOI/Privacy Acts Division
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) 
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Switzer Bldg, Room 2216
Phone: (202) 260-0793
Fax:  (202) 690-8320
michael.bell@hhs.gov

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #14-0423.

Thank you for your help.

From: Bell, Michael (OS/ASPA)

Good morning Mr. Meller,
After checking with OCR, I received an update last week that said you and Ms. Wicks have been in contact. She said that she had explained the type of records that OCR possessed and that there were as many as 119,000 separate breach reports/complaints. The last thing mentioned was that she suggested that OCR's report to congress might have the information you were looking for. Ms. Wicks said she was waiting to hear back from you if that was acceptable. Is there something I can pass on or clarify? Thanks.
Sincerely,

Michael Bell
Supervisory FOIA Analyst/Senior Advisor
FOI/Privacy Acts Division
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) 
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Switzer Bldg, Room 2216
Phone: (202) 260-0793
Fax:  (202) 690-8320
michael.bell@hhs.gov

From: Chris Meller

Ms. Wicks has essentially rejected my request - she believed it could only be met by printing out hundreds of thousands of pieces of physical paper and insisted there was no electronic version of the data which could be provided, even though it is originally collected electronically.

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