Secretary of HHS

News & Analysis as of

Boosts in Ransomware Attacks Spark Multiple Government Agency Responses

Following a recent U.S. government interagency report indicating that, on average, there has been an alarming 300 percent spike in daily ransomware attacks since early 2016 as compared with 2015, the U.S. Department of Health...more

Landmark Overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act

EPA Issues First Year Implementation Plan - On June 22, 2016, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was signed into law. This law amends the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and is the first...more

House of Representatives Approves Mental Health System Reform Bill

The House of Representative has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill (H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act) to reform the nation’s mental health care system. Key provisions of the legislation...more

Federal Government Sued Over Emergency Physician Reimbursement Policy

Emergency physicians have long alleged that health insurance companies are unfairly and inconsistently setting low out-of-network reimbursements for emergency care, and now they are imploring the federal government to do...more

Energy & Commerce Committee Approves Mental Health System Reform Bill

The House Energy & Commerce Committee has unanimously approved an amended version of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which is intended to reform the nation’s mental health care system. Among other...more

Reexamining HIPAA’s Applicability During Emergencies After the Tragedy in Orlando

Immediately following Sunday’s tragic shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, friends and family frantically gathered at Orlando Regional Medical Center, attempting to get information about their loved ones. However, hospital...more

Federal Court Rejects Hospitals’ Challenge to Medicare Wage Rule 

In a decision with far-reaching implications within the health care industry, on February 22, 2016, a federal judge rejected a challenge to how Medicare reimbursement is adjusted based on local labor costs, dismissing...more

Members of Congress Seek NIH Hearing on Use of March-in Rights

On March 28, 2016, a dozen members of Congress sent a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health...more

20 Days Left to File Your Annual HIPAA Breach Report

Did your organization experience a HIPAA breach involving fewer than 500 individuals in 2015? If so, remember to submit your mandatory report to the Secretary of HHS no later than February 29, 2016, through the online breach...more

CMS Publishes Clarification of FY 2004 Outlier Fixed-Loss Threshold As Required by Two Recent Federal Court Rulings

On January 22, 2016, CMS published an explanation of its FY 2004 outlier fixed-loss threshold rulemaking. The explanation was required by two 2015 federal court orders in cases brought by hospitals challenging the outlier...more

New Guidance Outlines Requirements for State Innovation Waivers

New guidance from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) places the spotlight on the ability of states to seek approval of “State Innovation Waivers” to test new approaches for delivering health insurance reform....more

President Obama Signed Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015

President Obama has signed into law S 799, the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015, which is intended to combat the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). S 799 directs the HHS Secretary to...more

Challenges to Medicare's Outlier Payment Rules - the Secretary Largely Prevails

As we reported in an earlier Payment Matters article, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed hospitals a partial victory on May 19, 2015, in their challenge to Medicare outlier payments...more

The Bad Debt Moratorium Requires a Flexible Approach to Evaluating "Reasonable Collection Efforts"

On September 10, 2015, District Judge Randolph D. Moss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion in Mountain States Health Alliance v. Burwell (Mountain States) involving Section 310 of the...more

Uncertainty Continues for Two-Midnight Rule's Payment Reduction

In Shands Jacksonville v. Burwell [PDF], No. CV 14-1477, 2015 WL 5579653, (D.D.C. Sept. 21, 2015), the United States District Court for the District of Columbia gave the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human...more

Washington Healthcare Update

On Oct. 8, the House Republican caucus did not select a candidate for Speaker of the House and selection has been delayed. The current Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH), had announced that he would step down and retire from...more

District Court Says CMS’s 0.2 Percent IPPS Rate Cut Violated APA

On September 21, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) failed to provide a meaningful opportunity to comment on...more

CMS Releases Proposed Rule Reforming Medicare CLFS Payment Rates

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a proposed rule [CMS-1621-P] in accordance with Section 216 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (“PAMA”), which establishes a new payment methodology...more

“Two-Midnight” Rule Needs Tweaking, Says Federal Judge

A Federal Judge found that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it cut hospital inpatient payments by 0.2% as part of its “two-midnight” rule. ...more

Drug and Device Companies May Soon Face Less Burdensome FDA Approval Process

On July 10, 2015, Congress passed H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, with a bipartisan vote of 344 to 77. The 352-page bill seeks to make the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug and device approval process less...more

Washington Healthcare Update

This Week: FDA Begins Device User Fee Talks with Patients and Consumers Sept. 15... CMS Extends Partial Enforcement Delay of Two-Midnight Policy Through 2015... Alaska Legislature Sues Governor Over Medicaid Expansion....more

House Easily Passes 21st Century Cures Legislation, Includes Significant FDA Reforms

On July 10, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed with an overwhelming majority (344-77), the 21st Century Cures bill (H.R. 6), a high-profile bipartisan bill intended to speed up and improve the process for...more

Washington Healthcare Update

This Week: Leading Up to the SCOTUS King v. Burwell Decision... House Votes to Repeal the Medical Device Tax... CMS Announces It Will Bolster Transitional Reinsurance Payments... MedPAC Releases June Report to Congress....more

Largest Criminal Health Care Fraud Takedown – 243 Charged and $712 Million in False Billings

On June 18, 2015, HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell and DOJ Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced nationwide arrests in Medicare fraud schemes amounting to approximately $712 million in false billings. Attorney General...more

Partial Victory for Hospitals in Medicare Outlier Challenge

In a decision issued May 19, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit handed hospitals a partial victory in their challenge to their Medicare outlier payments for 2004. District Hospital...more

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