Montana’s Data Breach Notification law states:

  •  Any person or business that conducts business in Montana and that owns or licenses computerized data that includes personal information shall disclose any breach of the security of the data system following discovery or notification of the breach to any resident of Montana whose unencrypted personal information was or is reasonably believed to have been acquired by an unauthorized person. The disclosure must be made without unreasonable delay, consistent with the legitimate needs of law enforcement, as provided in subsection (3), or consistent with any measures necessary to determine the scope of the breach and restore the reasonable integrity of the data system.
  • Any person or business that maintains computerized data that includes personal information that the person or business does not own shall notify the owner or licensee of the information of any breach of the security of the data system immediately following discovery if the personal information was or is reasonably believed to have been acquired by an unauthorized person.

  • Notwithstanding subsection (5), a person or business that maintains its own notification procedures as part of an information security policy for the treatment of personal information and that does not unreasonably delay notice is considered to be in compliance with the notification requirements of this section if the person or business notifies subject persons in accordance with its policies in the event of a breach of security of the data system.
  • If a business discloses a security breach to any individual pursuant to this section and gives a notice to the individual that suggests, indicates, or implies to the individual that the individual may obtain a copy of the file on the individual from a consumer credit reporting agency, the business shall coordinate with the consumer reporting agency as to the timing, content, and distribution of the notice to the individual. The coordination may not unreasonably delay the notice to the affected individuals.
  • Any person or business that is required to issue a notification pursuant to this section shall simultaneously submit an electronic copy of the notification and a statement providing the date and method of distribution of the notification to the attorney general’s consumer protection office, excluding any information that personally identifies any individual who is entitled to receive notification. If a notification is made to more than one individual, a single copy of the notification must be submitted that indicates the number of individuals in the state who received notification.

    Take our HIPAA Training to learn more.

    Find the data breach notification laws in your state.

    Federal Requirements: 

    In general, State laws that are contrary to the Privacy Rule are preempted by the federal requirements, which means that the federal requirements will apply.

    Privacy Rule:

    •  Each covered entity, with certain exceptions, must provide a notice of its privacy practices. The Privacy Rule requires that the notice contain certain elements. The notice must describe the ways in which the covered entity may use and disclose protected health information. The notice must state the covered entity’s duties to protect privacy, provide a notice of privacy practices, and abide by the terms of the current notice. The notice must describe individuals’ rights, including the right to complain to HHS and to the covered entity if they believe their privacy rights have been violated. The notice must include a point of contact for further information and for making complaints to the covered entity. Covered entities must act in accordance with their notices. The Rule also contains specific distribution requirements for direct treatment providers, all other health care providers, and health plans.
    • A covered entity must develop and implement written privacy policies and procedures that are consistent with the Privacy Rule.
    •  A covered entity must train all workforce members on its privacy policies and procedures, as necessary and appropriate for them to carry out their functions. A covered entity must have and apply appropriate sanctions against workforce members who violate its privacy policies and procedures or the Privacy Rule.
    •  OCR may impose a penalty on a covered entity for a failure to comply with a requirement of the Privacy Rule.  Penalties will vary significantly depending on factors such as the date of the violation, whether the covered entity knew or should have known of the failure to comply, or whether the covered entity’s failure to comply was due to willful neglect.  Penalties may not exceed a calendar year cap for multiple violations of the same requirement.

    For violations occurring prior to 2/18/2009

    For violations occurring on or after 2/18/2009

    Penalty Amount

    Up to $100

    per violation

    $100 to $50,000 or more

    per violation

    Calendar Year Cap



    • A person who knowingly obtains or discloses individually identifiable health information in violation of the Privacy Rule may face a criminal penalty of up to $50,000 and up to one-year imprisonment.  The criminal penalties increase to $100,000 and up to five years imprisonment if the wrongful conduct involves false pretenses, and to $250,000 and up to 10 years imprisonment if the wrongful conduct involves the intent to sell, transfer, or use identifiable health information for commercial advantage, personal gain or malicious harm.

    Security Rule:

    The Security Rule requires covered entities to maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for protecting e-PHI.

    Specifically, covered entities must:

    • Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI they create, receive, maintain or transmit;
    • Identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity of the information;
    • Protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures; and
    • Ensure compliance by their workforce.

    Business Associates:

    • The Privacy Rule requires that a covered entity obtain satisfactory assurances from its business associate that the business associate will appropriately safeguard the protected health information it receives or creates on behalf of the covered entity. The satisfactory assurances must be in writing, whether in the form of a contract or other agreement between the covered entity and the business associate.
    • A “business associate” is a person or entity that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of, or provides services to, a covered entity.


    If you believe that a HIPAA-covered entity or its business associate violated your (or someone else’s) health information privacy rights or committed another violation of the Privacy, Security, or Breach Notification Rules, you may file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

    Take our HIPAA Training to learn more.

    Find the data breach notification laws in your state.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.