Concededly, pity is not a word often linked with people’s perceptions of business actors operating within the health care industry. Entities like large hospital chains, pharmaceutical companies, device makers and insurers are often viewed as too-big-to-fail entities that amass incalculably high profits and are beyond the reach of any real injury inflicted by outside forces.
That assessment, while perhaps understandable, is flawed, though, given the realities that face the health care industry and routinely challenge it in ways that are arguably unrivaled in any other business domain.
We note on our health law website at the New York law firm of Daniels, Porco & Lusardi, LLP, the “layers of regulatory and compliance issues that must be addressed” by medical actors and the “broad array of laws and regulations” that apply to them. Health care industry participants are seemingly under a microscope at all times, with the potential for material liability to attach in an instant when they are perceived to fall short in some requirement.
Lawsuits, of course, abound, with one high-profile example garnering national headlines within just the past week.
In that matter, health insurer Anthem Inc. agreed to a settlement that will require it to dole out $115 million to compensate victims for a 2015 hacking incident that compromised some personal information of millions of insured customers. Reportedly, no medical information was leaked, and no evidence of breach-related fraud has been discovered.
The settlement funds will be used to pay for credit monitoring services over a two-year period for affected policyholders. The $115 million outlay (which is pending judicial approval) is reportedly the largest settlement ever reached in the United States in a hacking case.