News & Analysis as of

Treating Mental Illness? Special Privacy Considerations Apply to Healthcare Providers

Decisions and unresolved questions about when and how to share information about mental illness treatment continue to make headlines. A variety of groups, including health care providers, law enforcement and mental health...more

The Affordable Care Act—Countdown to Compliance for Employers, Week 36: Hacking the Affordable Care Act’s $100/Day Penalties for...

Particularly with the issuance of final regulations under the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility rules, employers have been concerned—justifiably—with the pay-or-play penalties. ...more

OCR Announces the Results from it's Pilot Audit and it's Plans For Next Year

The Office of Civil Rights Audit Pilot Program has come to an end with 115 audits, primarily in person, having been completed. The Pilot Program had multiple revelations in privacy, some of which were probably, not so...more

HIPAA Impaired Providers and the ER - What Happens When Your Employee Becomes Your Patient?

I was speaking this week at IAHIMA’s Annual Conference on the issues relating to HIPAA audits and recent updates from OCR and ONC. As part of my program we typically solicit questions prior to the presentation, most of which...more

Free HIPAA Help

Health care providers, health plans, business associates, and other entities affected by the federal HIPAA privacy and security regulations are quickly running out of excuses for not having a robust HIPAA compliance program...more

ACA, HIPAA, COBRA and HSA Penalties: What Do They Mean?

What do all of these acronyms stand for and why do employers and human resource professionals care? These acronyms stand for statutory requirements which apply to employer-provided health plans and stiff penalties can apply...more

HHS releases Security Risk Assessment Tool to Help Providers with HIPAA Compliance

In collaboration with the HHS Office for Civil Rights, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released a new tool designed to help practices conduct and document a comprehensive assessment to...more

HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool Released by HHS

HIPAA security risk assessment (SRA) tool was recently made available through HHS. The tool was developed as a collaborative effort between the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC),...more

OCR Clarifies Permitted Disclosures, Including Mental Health Care

The disclosure of mental health records and other disclosure-related issues tends to be less than clear for providers in their efforts to comply with the federal privacy rules. Such issues relate to appropriate disclosures to...more

Eye on Privacy Newsletter - March 2014

In this issue: - Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Settles California Attorney General Charges over Delayed Data Breach Notification - Status of the EU Regulation and the Safe Harbor Framework - FTC Steps...more

Self-pay Confidentiality Rights: How Far Do Those Rights Go?

The HIPAA Privacy Rule has always provided an individual patient the right to request special, confidential treatment of his or her protected health information (PHI). That right is not absolute, however. Covered entities...more

First HIPAA Settlement with County Government

On March 6, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights settled potential HIPAA violations with the Skagit County Public Health Department in Washington State for $215,000. Initially, OCR’s...more

Health Update

Ten Years In: Charting the Progress of Health Information Exchange in the U.S. - HITECH: Federal Dollars Spur Adoption and Use: The modern era of HIE-related public policy began in May 2004 with the appointment...more

There’s a Code for That: Counting Down to ICD-10 and a Poem to Help You Remember!

On October 1, 2014, all HIPAA-covered persons and entities must be compliant with the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification/Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS,...more

Trustee Alert – HIPAA EDI Certification Proposed Rule

The Trust's business associates who perform electronic transactions on its behalf are required to follow certain HIPAA standards and operating rules. A recently published proposed rule introduces a new requirement to submit...more

Counties Beware – Your Governmental Status Does Not Protect You from Liability for a HIPAA Breach

As a county government, you may think that you have the protection of sovereign immunity and protection from other governments penalizing you. Your status does not protect you. The Department of Health and Human Services...more

HHS Releases Guidance On Disclosure Of Mental Health Information Under HIPAA

The HHS Office for Civil Rights issued guidance in question-and-answer format clarifying when a provider may release information regarding a patient’s mental health to family members, friends, law enforcement, and others. The...more

Do Windows XP Users Risk HIPAA Non-Compliance?

Microsoft recently announced that, after April 8, 2014, it will not longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows XP. Microsoft’s statement that “businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such...more

FTC Settles Case With Medical Transcription Company

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that it had settled its data privacy case against medical transcription firm GMR Transcription Services, Inc. (GMR) following allegations that GMR had failed to adequately...more

Get Ready! HHS OCR Announces Next Round of HIPAA Audits

To combat new risks associated with rapidly evolving health information technology, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act...more

Health Law Blog: County Government Settles Alleged HIPAA Violations

A small county in Washington has agreed to pay $215,000 to settle allegations that it violated HIPAA by failing to secure electronic protected health information. Skagit County maintained protected health information (“PHI”)...more

HHS Reports First HIPAA Settlement with a County Government

According to a HHS press release issued last Friday, Skagit County, Washington, has agreed to a $215,000 settlement with the agency to resolve allegations that the county’s HIPAA compliance program was deficient. The Skagit...more

CMS Issues Final Rule on Direct Access of Lab Test Results by Patients

On February 3, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule that permits patients or their representatives to have direct access to the results of their lab tests. This rule change is...more

HIPAA and Mental Health Information: HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance Addressing Mental Health Information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently issued new guidance clarifying how the HIPAA Privacy Rule strikes the balance of protecting individuals’ privacy of mental health information and communicating...more

Healthcare Legal News - February 2014 • Volume 4, Number 1

In This Issue: - CMS ISSUES FINAL RULE ON DIRECT ACCESS OF LAB TEST RESULTS BY PATIENTS: On February 3, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule that permits patients or...more

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