Blogs

HIPAA & Health Information Technology Blog

William Maruca, Michael Kline and Elizabeth Litten maintain a blog that provides information regarding current legal and practical issues that health care providers and business must consider with regard to the exchange of health information, including the use of electronic health records (EHR). The HIPAA Privacy Rule and Security Rule requirements are among the legal standards with which there must be compliance when utilizing EHR, as well as sharing and exchanging health information in general. This blog also considers possible solutions to maneuver the legal and other barriers to establishing an EHR system and infrastructures for the beneficial exchange of health information.

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Physician Law Blog

Todd A. Rodriguez and Edward J. Cyran maintain a blog that can be used as a resource for current legal issues and news affecting physicians and other non-institutional health care providers. Their blog provides updates on new legislation and legal issues relating to practice management, billing and coding, ancillary services, malpractice insurance, fraud and abuse developments and other important legal issues affecting physicians in their personal and professional lives.

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Recent Blog Posts

  • Pennsylvania Department of Health Issues New Physician Regulations for Medical Marijuana As first posted on our sister blog, “In The Weeds” (Fox Rothschild’s Cannabis Law Blog), the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued its long-awaited proposed temporary regulations regarding physicians on April 11, 2017.  A copy of the temporary regulations can be found here:  PA Temporary Physician Medical Marijuana Regulations The temporary regulations provide additional detail on the physician registration process, including the required four-hour training session regarding the legal use of medical marijuana and research on its effects, as well as the process... More
  • Regulatory changes allow patients greater access to medical marijuana in New York state   The New York State Department of Health recently announced two regulatory enhancements to improve patient access to medical marijuana. On March 22, 2017, chronic pain was added as a new qualifying condition for patients seeking medical marijuana in New York. “Chronic pain” is defined as “any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability; where the patient has contraindications, has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options.” There... More
  • CMS Requests “National Conversation” About Improving Medicare As many people are discussing methods to improve healthcare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is giving stakeholders an opportunity to send in their thoughts on this topic.  In CMS’s April 14, 2017 proposed rule, CMS issued a “Request for Information” (“RFI”), where they described their desire to have a “national conversation” about improving the health care delivery system. CMS would like to know, amongst other ideas: (1) How CMS can help make its healthcare delivery system (Medicare) less bureaucratic and... More
  • How Much Can I Prescribe? Delaware and New Jersey Enact Stricter Opiate Prescribing Laws Beginning April 1, 2017, the regulations regarding opiate prescribing will be changing.  A Delaware healthcare practitioner will only be able to prescribe initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain episodes for up to seven (7) days for adult patients, and are required to follow new rules for chronic pain patients and patients that require more opioid medications for their acute pain episode.  The new regulations do have exemptions for hospice care patients, active cancer treatment patients, and terminally ill/palliative care patients.... More
  • Healthcare Apps: Physicians Should Proceed with Caution Advancements in healthcare technology continue at an explosive pace and nowhere is this more evident than in the field of mobile healthcare applications. Technology giants such as Apple and Garmin are diving into the wearable healthcare device arena and healthcare app companies are rapidly developing technology to enable devices to transmit healthcare information directly to physicians from these devices. Not surprisingly, physicians are also being courted by technology companies to endorse, invest in, Beta test and enter into licensing agreements... More
  • CMS Introduces New Education Initiative for Chronic Care Management The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently introduced a new education initiative for Chronic Care Management (“CCM”) patients and providers. The initiative, called Connected Care, is intended to raise awareness of the benefits of providing CCM services to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions and to help ensure that health care providers are receiving optimal reimbursement for providing such services. CMS has stated that two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions, and one-third have four or... More
  • Physician Investment in Grower-Processors and Dispensaries of Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania Until March 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (the “DOH”) will be accepting applications from companies seeking permits as Grower/Processors and/or Dispensaries of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.  Among other things, these applications require that the applicant raise substantial funding.  To do so, certain applicants have been seeking investment from physicians.  If you receive such a request, we encourage you to consult with a knowledgeable attorney before contributing funds to or agreeing to purchase securities in such a company. It is important... More
  • Where’s Your Wallet? The Ongoing Saga of FTC v. LabMD (Part 2 of 2) It was the wallet comment in the response brief filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit that prompted me to write this post. In its February 9, 2017 filing, the FTC argues that the likelihood of harm to individuals (patients who used LabMD’s laboratory testing services) whose information was exposed by LabMD roughly a decade ago is high because the “file was exposed to millions of users who easily could... More
  • Charges for Copies of Medical Records may Violate HIPAA, Despite Compliance with State Law A patient requests a copy of her medical record, and the hospital charges the per-page amount permitted under state law. Does this violate HIPAA? It may. In the spring of 2016, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that enforces HIPAA, issued a new guidance document on individuals’ right to access their health information under HIPAA (“Access Guidance”).   The Access Guidance reminds covered entities that state laws that provide individuals with... More
  • Health Law Alert – Medicare Quality Payment Program We recently issued a Health Law Alert on the Medicare Quality Payment Program, focusing specifically on what physicians and their medical practices need to know to be in compliance with the Program in 2017.  The Alert may be accessed at this link: Fox Rothschild Health Law Alert – Medicare Quality Payment Program You may also view some of our recent posts on the Physician Law Blog for more information on the Medicare Quality Payment Program.  In short, compliance with the Program in 2017 can... More
  • Will the New Administration Trump Efforts to Forecast 2017 Healthcare Trends? As she has done in January for several years, our good friend Marla Durben Hirsch quoted my partner Elizabeth Litten and me in Medical Practice Compliance Alert in her article entitled “MIPS, OSHA, other compliance trends likely to affect you in 2017.” For her article, Marla asked various health law professionals to make predictions on diverse healthcare matters including HIPAA and enforcement activities. Full text can be found in the January 2017 issue, but excerpts are included below. Marla also wrote... More
  • From the Wild West to Westworld and (Maybe) Back to Normal – the Ongoing Saga of LabMD (Part 1 of 2) It was nearly three years ago that I first blogged about the Federal Trade Commission’s “Wild West” data breach enforcement action brought against now-defunct medical testing company LabMD.   Back then, I was simply astounded that a federal agency (the FTC) with seemingly broad and vague standards pertaining generally to “unfair” practices of a business entity would belligerently gallop onto the scene and allege non-compliance by a company specifically subject by statute to regulation by another federal agency. The other agency,... More
  • 21st Century Cure for a “Broken” Mental Health System Includes HIPAA Clarification U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) has been a vocal advocate for mental health reform for a number of years.  Part of his crusade is driven by his concern that the HIPAA privacy rule “routinely interferes with the timely and continuous flow of health information between health care providers, patients, and families, thereby impeding patient care, and in some cases, public safety.”  Congressman Murphy’s efforts have resulted in the inclusion in the recently-passed 21st Century Cures Act of a provision entitled... More
  • Are You Ready for the New Medicare Quality Payment Program? (Part 2): Basics of the MIPS and How to Qualify in 2017 The Medicare incentive programs with which you and your medical practice are familiar will soon be no more.  As of January 1, 2017, these programs (including the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Meaningful Use Incentive Program, the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), and the Physician Value-Based Modifier Program) will morph into the new Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP).   The QPP will also include a fourth category of incentives entitled “Clinical Practice Improvement Activities”, which we discuss in more detail below. The purpose... More
  • Foreshadowing HIPAA Under the New Administration: Will Transparency Trump Privacy? It may not come as a surprise that Congressman Tom Price, MD (R-GA), a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act who introduced legislation to replace it last spring, was selected to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Trump administration. What may come as a bit of a surprise is how Price’s proposed replacement bill appears to favor transparency over individual privacy when it comes to certain health care claim information. Section... More