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HIPAA Tips from the Trenches

June 14, 2018| Blog

Earlier this week, I moderated a panel discussion at an event hosted by the New York chapter of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The panel was comprised of private sector health information technology and security experts and was tasked with discussing challenges related to the interoperability and security of health information systems.
Last week, Mintz’s Health Care Enforcement Defense Group published a new Qui Tam Update, which analyzes 60 health care-related False Claims Act qui tam cases unsealed in December 2017 and January 2018 and the trends they reflect.
Many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) have been the subject of litigation over the last decade, with several high-profile Supreme Court cases including: NFIB v. Sebelius, King v. Burwell, and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. One of the more overlooked topics of litigation has been the ACA’s “Risk Corridors” program.
This week the Senate Finance Committee will mark up its opioid package. Additionally, the HELP Committee will hear from Secretary Azar on the Administration's effort to lower prescription drug prices. For our complete review and what else to watch for this week.
States may be starting to take aim at prescription automatic refill programs. Automatic refill programs have been proven to increase patient adherence, especially among patients with chronic conditions. However, regulators argue that automatic refill programs result in waste to the system, stockpiling, and federal program payment for unneeded prescriptions.
Late last month, Senators Grassley (R-IA), Brown (D-OH), and Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Fighting the Opioid Epidemic with Sunshine Act, a bill that would expand Physician Payment Sunshine Act reporting requirements to cover payments and other transfers of value made to advance practice nurses and physician assistants.
Congress is back in session for a four week work period. With the focus on opioids, there's the potential that meaningful legislation gets done. We will also continue monitoring state action as it relates to work requirements and other initiatives via 1115 waivers.
To date, 34 states (including D.C.) have adopted Medicaid expansion. Of the remaining 17 states, some are considering expanding Medicaid.
The May 2018 cyber security newsletter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) focused on a topic often overlooked by covered entities and their business associates: physical security.
HHS's Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) has long faced a backlog in Medicare appeals to Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). In an effort to address this backlog, OMHA established a Settlement Conference Facilitation (SCF) process.
In a previous blog, we reviewed pending and approved 1115 waivers in 11 states. These reviews provide an overview of 1115 waiver applications, including a focus on work requirements, lock-outs, changes in coverage structures, repealing the Medicaid IMD exclusion, and other behavioral health initiatives.  
Recently the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a statement that it had intervened in a False Claims Act (FCA) case against Insys Therapeutics, Inc. and consolidated five separate qui tam cases into one case, U.S. ex rel Guzman v. Insys Therapeutics, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
This week, the House is set to vote on Right to Try legislation which has gained the support of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. In the Senate, the HELP Committee will review the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act, or PAHPA, along with rural health care issues, which the Senate Finance Committee also happens to be looking at this week.
On Wednesday May 9th, I was floored when the Administration released the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which contained this nugget: by December 2018, HRSA will publish its 340B Omnibus Guidance. Readers of our blog know that, as we predicted, this so-called Mega-Guidance was withdrawn in January 2017 without ever seeing the light of day.
Earlier this week, our colleague Don Davis addressed the increasing amount of disability discrimination litigation against health care entities on the Employment Matters Blog.
In less than 10 days, the European Union will begin enforcing its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will apply to any company that collects, processes, or uses EU-origin personal data, regardless of where the company is located.
This week, the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold its second round markup of opioid-related legislation. While they remain on pace for passage by Memorial Day, the timing will be determined by how smooth the markup this week goes.
On Friday, after weeks of delay, the President finally delivered his Drug Pricing Speech and released the HHS Blueprint detailing the Trump Administration's plan to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs.
Businesses engaged in human drug compounding, both traditional pharmacies and the more recently created outsourcing facilities, have been on quite a roller coaster ride since congressional enactment of the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) approximately four-and-a-half years ago.
Back in late 2015, we blogged about the interesting twist in the $125 million Warner Chilcott settlement that a Massachusetts physician had been criminally charged with violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). That physician has now been convicted of the HIPAA violation, as well as an unrelated charge of obstructing a federal health care investigation. 
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