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Email Encryption

PDF Version of DQA 10-031  (PDF, 40 KB)

Date: October 23, 2010 -- DQA Memo 10-031
To: Adult Day Care ADC 08
Adult Family Homes AFH 13
Ambulatory Surgery Centers ASC 07
Certified Mental Health and AODA CMHA 09
Clinical Lab Improvement Amendments CLIA 08
Community Based Residential Facilities CBRF 18
End Stage Renal Dialysis Units ESRD 07
Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled FDD 09
Home Health Agencies HHA 09
Hospices HSPCE 12
Hospitals HOSP 11
Nursing Homes NH 14
Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities OPT/SP 06
Personal Care Providers PCP 09
Residential Care Apartment Complexes RCAC 12
Rural Health Clinics RHC 06
From: Alfred C. Johnson, Director
Bureau of Technology, Licensing & Education
cc:

Otis Woods, Administrator
Division of Quality Assurance

Email Encryption

The Department of Health Services (DHS) has implemented an e-mail encryption solution designed to protect e-mails sent to recipients outside of the state e-mail network. There are two ways in which encryption can be accomplished with the State of Wisconsin e-mail system.

The first way encryption can be accomplished is via the e-mail encryption service. This software will "encrypt" e-mails and e-mail attachments containing confidential data such as social security numbers or terms which may indicate the presence of sensitive information, such as personal health information protected under the HIPAA privacy rules.

Whether a particular e-mail message is encrypted depends on how many occurrences of such terms there are and which specific terms are used. If an e-mail from the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) to a provider or other external recipient is encrypted, the incoming message will include a subject line reading: "You have received a secure message. To read the secure message the recipient must open the attachment, "securedoc.html" or similar wording, which will direct them to the CISCO Registered Envelope Service (CRES).

The CRES will prompt the recipient to setup an account in order to be able to view the encrypted e-mail. Once an account has been created with CRES, that individual can receive and reply to encrypted e-mail. Registration only needs to occur the first time an encrypted e-mail is received. When opening any subsequent encrypted e-mails the recipient will only need to enter his or her password. If a recipient receives a message in this manner that means there is no TLS connection between the State of Wisconsin and the providers e-mail system.

The second way is for a Transport Layer Security (TLS) connection to be established between the State of Wisconsin e-mail system (DHS) and the provider. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is an extension of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). It provides secure communication between e-mail gateways. Once the connection is established no action is required by the sender or the receiver to encrypt e-mail. The message going to and from each gateway is secure.

If you would like to request a TLS connection be established with the State of Wisconsin (DHS), please complete the attached TLS Request Form and submit to the following e-mail address: postmaster@wisconsin.gov 

 

Attachment
TLS Request Form

 

 

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Last Updated: September 30, 2011