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OCR Updates Change Healthcare Cybersecurity Incident FAQs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published an update to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) webpage concerning the Change Healthcare cybersecurity incident. The webpage, first published on April 19, 2024, provides answers to FAQs concerning the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Rules and the cybersecurity incident impacting Change Healthcare, a unit of UnitedHealth Group (UHG), and many other health care entities.

OCR enforces the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, which sets forth the requirements that HIPAA covered entities (health plans, health care clearinghouses, and most health care providers) and their business associates must follow to protect the privacy and security of protected health information and the required notifications to HHS and affected individuals following a breach.

“Ensuring patient privacy is one of the pillars of HIPAA. Our updated FAQs webpage on the Change Healthcare breach reiterates that importance by making clear that individuals affected by this breach must be notified that their protected health information was breached. This ensures that the potentially millions of Americans, including the elderly, the disabled, those with limited English proficiency, those with limited access to technology, and more, will understand the impact of this breach on their private medical records and their health care,” said OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer. “Affected covered entities that want Change Healthcare to provide breach notifications on their behalf should contact Change Healthcare. All of the required HIPAA breach notifications may be performed by Change Healthcare. We encourage all parties to take the necessary steps to ensure that the HIPAA breach notifications are prioritized.”

The webpage updates address questions OCR has received concerning who is responsible for performing breach notification to HHS, affected individuals, and where applicable the media. Specifically, the FAQs make clear that:

  • Covered entities affected by the Change Healthcare breach may delegate to Change Healthcare the tasks of providing the required HIPAA breach notifications on their behalf.
  • Only one entity – which could be the covered entity itself or Change Healthcare – needs to complete breach notifications to affected individuals, HHS, and where applicable the media.
  • If covered entities work with Change Healthcare to perform the required breach notifications in a manner consistent with the HITECH Act and HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, they would not have additional HIPAA breach notification obligations.

The new and updated FAQs on the Change Healthcare Cybersecurity Incident may be viewed at:

The HHS Breach Portal: Notice to the Secretary of HHS Breach of Unsecured Protected Health Information may be found at:

OCR is committed to enforcing the HIPAA Rules that protect the privacy and security of peoples’ health information. Guidance about the Privacy Rule, Security Rule, and Breach Notification Rules can also be found on OCR’s website.

If you believe that your or another person’s health information privacy or civil rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with OCR at