AMA Suggests Access Control for Doctors Working From Home and DEA Loosens Controlled Substance Restrictions

Take control of the physical data breach and drug diversion risks that threaten your healthcare organization with Senseon’s Physical Security Breach Roundup. 

We bring you the most recent physical data breach and drug diversion announcements each month. If you want to learn more about what you can do to minimize the risk of your facility ending up on this list, we can help.

Physical Security News

Temporary Hospital Sites Require Physical Security

The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted some hospitals to set up temporary field operations. This creates challenges across the board, particularly with physical security. Hospitals are advised to establish physical security measures for these sites, including simple, lockable facilities that help prevent attacks and maintain a sense of calm. 

AMA Highlights Access Controls in Security Tips for Clinicians Working from Home

More clinicians are working from home, creating multiple challenges that the American Medical Association has addressed in recently released guidelines. The section on medical devices highlights critical security priorities, including:

  • Establishing formal coordination and communication processes
  • Having a dynamic process to maintain an accurate inventory of medical devices and specifying which are network connected, network capable, or standalone
  • Prioritizing installation of updates and cyber vulnerability patches
  • Defining who’s responsible for maintaining patches
  • Monitoring updates and patch statuses
  • Deploying network segmentation strategies 
  • Ensuring proper access controls, password protection, and encryption
  • Purging unnecessary patient information stored on medical devices 

OCR Breach Updates

The so-called “Wall of Shame,” maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, highlights two breaches of Protected Health Information (PHI) under HIPAA this month:

  • On April 10, Beacon Health Options in MA reported a breach that impacted 6,723 individuals. It resulted from the loss of a portable electronic device.
  • In California on April 3, Child, Family, and Community Services, Inc. reported a breach that impacted 1,658 in the laptop, other portable electronic device categories.

Drug Diversion News

Fentanyl Now Most-Needed Drug in Battle Against COVID-19

Fentanyl, a drug used with patients who are put on ventilators, is now in short supply. In response, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approved an increase of 15% in the production of fentanyl and other drugs needed to respond to the outbreak. This follows a decision earlier in the year in which the agency ordered a 31% reduction in production.

1 Out of 3 Hospital Pharmacy Pros Knows a Drug Thief

Medication management solutions leader, Kit Check, released its 4th annual Hospital Pharmacy Operations report, which surveyed 237 top hospital pharmacy leadership professionals. The report found that:

  • Over 53% of respondents had a diversion event within the last year 
  • 37% knew of at least one colleague who had diverted controlled substances
  • 47% stated that drugs were diverted from wasted or leftover medications
  • 27% reported diversions directly from patients.  

DEA-Registered Hospitals Receive New Guidance for Controlled Substances

The DEA has released new guidance for registered hospitals and clinics to reduce burdens during the pandemic and make it easier to treat patients at satellite locations and respond to increasing demands. The new guidance provides for three added exceptions, including 

  • Allowing facilities to use controlled substances at satellite locations under certain conditions
  • Permitting narcotic treatment programs (NTPs) to accept deliveries without a signature under certain conditions
  • Allowing registered dispensers to distribute controlled substances beyond the 5% annual limit without registering as a distributor. 

Want to learn how to leverage your access control to reduce hospital-acquired infections? Start here