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Medical records theft from NFL team's trainer could violate HIPAA

Late last month, the NFL Players Association informed its member teams that a Washington Redskins trainer’s laptop containing players’ medical records was stolen and that it would collaborate with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to determine possible patient privacy violations. Also in recent GRC news: A new proposal would roll back Dodd-Frank compliance regulations and the SEC strongly reiterates broker-dealer rules among private equity firms.

Laptop with thousands of NFL players’ medical records stolen

On May 27, the NFL Players Association informed NFL players that the backpack of a Washington Redskins’ athletic trainer was stolen from inside a locked car in late April. Inside that backpack were paper and electronic medical records of thousands of current and former NFL players. While the laptop that contained the electronic records was password-protected, it was not encrypted. The players union consulted with the U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS) on the matter.

Storage of data on unencrypted devices does not adhere to both local and federal medical privacy standards, including HIPAA, making the breach a potentially costly one for the NFL. Deadspin reported that the HHS has aggressively pursued HIPAA violations in recent years and noted that athletes’ medical records are legally protected under HIPAA regulations.

The latest statement by the NFL regarding the data breach said that the theft involved only information maintained by the Redskins, and that no information maintained on the NFL’s overall electronic medical records (EMR) system was compromised. The league also said that it is not aware of the thief having obtained information from the stolen computer or making the information public.

Dodd-Frank proposal could exclude CLOs from risk retention

U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R, Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has proposed the Financial Choice Act, which would roll back parts of the Dodd-Frank Act affecting the leveraged finance markets, including the Volcker Rule and risk retention mandates.

In his remarks, Hensarling said that the Volcker Rule “undermined financial stability” and recommended that all asset classes, including collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), be exempt from risk retention (except for residential mortgages) in order to encourage growth among businesses looking for financing. There is little likelihood the proposal will pass, according to market observers, because of the current political climate in Congress.

SEC urges private equity firms to heed Exchange Act broker-dealer rule

Private equity firms would do well not to follow Blackstreet Capital Management’s footsteps, said Robert B. Baker, assistant regional director of the Securities and Exchange Commission. On June 1, the Chevy Chase, Md., firm agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle securities violation allegations including charging Blackstreet’s investors for brokerage services without registering as broker-dealers.

Blackstreet’s violation of section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is unprecedented, Baker said, adding that “advisers should be carefully considering whether their conduct violates this rule.”