Health Communications & Media Privacy

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Health issues written by leading professionals.
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Federal Court Finds That 2015 TCPA Safe Harbor Applies to Automated Flu Shot Reminders

A recent decision from a federal court in California found that a retail pharmacy’s “flu shot reminder” calls to mobile phones fall within the FCC’s TCPA safe harbor for exigent health care treatment messages. But the holding...more

HHS-OCR Announces Guidance On HIPAA Compliance And Cloud Computing

On October 6, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued guidance on complying with HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification rules when using cloud computing technology...more

Ten Things to Know About the CMS Long-Term Care Requirements Final Rule

Deadlines are looming to come into compliance with sweeping changes to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements for long-term care facilities (LTC) participating in Medicare and Medicaid. The CMS final...more

Don't Post That! Protecting Patient Privacy in the Age of Social Media

Social media has great utility for urgent care centers, providing invaluable opportunities to connect with the local community, and offering a host of educational tools for providers and patients. The explosion of myriad...more

The Tech Industry’s Next Frontier?

Tongue-in-cheek references to Pokémon Go as a health App aside, maybe the tech industry is on to something. In the U.S., seven out of every ten deaths are due to chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease. Perhaps...more

OCR Releases HIPAA Guidance on Cloud Computing

On October 6, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released HIPAA guidance on cloud computing (Guidance). The Guidance is intended to help covered entities and business associates...more

Ransomware? Don’t Pay It, Says FBI

What should companies do when ransomware hits? The FBI says: (a) report it to law enforcement and (b) do not pay the ransom. Given the recent onslaught in ransomware attacks—such as a 2016 variant that compromised an...more

FTC Bureau Director Highlights Continuing Health-Related Enforcement, Homeopathic Guidance, and ROSCA at NAD Conference

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, highlighted the agency’s enforcement priorities at the National Advertising Division’s annual conference earlier this week. Key mentions included the...more

Yuba Sutter Medical Center Hit With Ransomware

Yuba Sutter Medical Center in California (Yuba Sutter) has notified its patients that it has suffered a recent ransomware attack that caused parts of its network to be incapacitated. As a result, patient files were unable to...more

Health Care E-Note - September 2016

In an article published in the September 2016 MASA Newsletter, Jim Hoover and Angie Cameron Smith discuss how physicians should properly respond to subpoenas and requests for patients’ health information. They stress how...more

CMS Warns Against Social Media Postings Involving Nursing Facility Residents

In an August 5, 2016, Survey and Certification memorandum to state Survey Agency Directors, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) directs surveyors of nursing facilities on matters relating to the use of social...more

Locky Ransomware Continues to Hit Health Care Entities

FireEye Labs has reported that the Locky ransomware continues to hit the health care industry hard, and has increased in the month of August. Although the telecommunications, manufacturing and aerospace/defense...more

Agencies Encourage New Privacy Regulations to Close the mHealth Black Hole and Keep Pace with Evolving Technologies

On July 19, 2016, the ONC submitted a report to Congress which suggests that health privacy regulations soon may be revised to catch up with the universe of mHealth technologies that now use and share personal health data....more

Nursing Facilities to Face Surveyors’ Review of Photo and Video Policies

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month took aim at the unauthorized taking and sharing of photos and videos – including through social media – in nursing facilities. In response to media reports and...more

Final Order against Practice Fusion Approved by FTC

On August 16, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the final order resolving its privacy complaints against Practice Fusion. The complaint alleged that Practice Fusion “misled consumers by soliciting reviews for...more

CMS Cracks Down On Social Media Abuse By Nursing Home Staff

On August 5th the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memorandum to all state survey agencies requiring that during the next standard survey of a nursing home, whether a Traditional or Quality Indicator...more

CMS Issues Warning to Nursing Homes Regarding Abuse of Residents Via Social Media

On August 5, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to nursing homes in a letter to state survey agencies that addresses nursing homes’ obligations to protect residents. The Letter focuses on...more

JCAHO Delays Decision Allowing Physicians To Text Orders

We previously reported that the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) lifted its ban on allowing health care providers to use texts for physician orders....more

FTC Mobile Health Guidance

On April 5, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released new guidance for mobile apps directed towards providing health-related services and information. This guidance was developed with numerous other agencies,...more

Illinois Revises Data Privacy Statute

Earlier this year, Illinois enacted a number of changes to the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). The amendments to PIPA, among other things, expand the definition of personal information subject to...more

Hospital Text Messaging Rules Placed on Hold by Joint Commission

The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals and other health care organizations, hit pause on its prior May 2016 announcement to allow secure text messaging in hospitals and other health care organizations. The use of...more

Report Warns Providers of HIPAA Violations When Responding to Negative Online Reviews

ProPublica, a public interest investigative newsroom, recently identified more than 3,500 one-star medical reviews on Yelp in which patients complained about privacy issues. ProPublica determined that “in dozens of instances,...more

OCR Announces First HIPAA Enforcement Action against a Business Associate

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced an agreement with Catholic Health Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling allegations that CHCS violated the Health...more

Facebook and HIPAA: Strange Bedfellows

As a social media user, you may have experienced Facebook’s targeted advertising. Mere moments after searching for a specific item on Google or visiting another website, your Facebook ads reflect your recent browsing history....more

Recent Enforcement Action: Business Associates Not Off the Hook

Despite the fact that Business Associates have been directly subject to and liable under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its implementing regulations (HIPAA) since February 18, 2010 the...more

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