December 2022: Pennsylvania Amends Breach Notification Law

07 Dec


Update Applicable to:
All employers of employees covered by HIPPA in the state of Pennsylvania

What happened?
On November 4, 2022, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 696 (SB 696) into law, amending Pennsylvania’s breach notification law. 

What are the details?
Effective May 2, 2023, SB 696 expands the definition of “personal information” to include the following data elements when compromised in combination with a resident’s name:

  • Medical information: any individually identifiable information contained in the individual’s current or historical record of medical history or medical treatment, or diagnosis created by a healthcare professional.
  • Health insurance information: an individual’s health insurance policy number or subscriber number in combination with access code or other medical information that permits misuse of an individual’s health insurance benefits.
  • Username or e-mail address, in combination with a password or security question that would permit access to an online account

SB 696 also provides a new permissible method of providing notice of a breach if the affected personal information consists of a username or email address in combination with a password, allowing for electronic notice “if the notice directs the person whose personal information has been materially compromised by a breach of the security of the system to change the person’s password promptly and security question or answer, as applicable, or to take other steps appropriate to protect the person’s online account….” Additionally, SB 696 excludes covered entities and business associates subject to HIPAA.

For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill 696 (SB 696)

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and ensure that their privacy and security standards comply with the law’s new amendments come May 3, 2023.