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Showing 18 posts in Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

CMS Proposes Sweeping Changes for Nursing Home Oversight

Posted In Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Medicaid, Medicare

On July 16, 2015, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a Proposed Rule with new standards that will have a sweeping effect on the long-term care industry. This new Rule is the first comprehensive review and update to Medicare and Medicaid nursing home standards since 1991. Since the last update, the number of Medicare beneficiaries, excluding Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, residing in nursing homes has tripled to 1.8 million residents and the Medicaid Program has become the primary payer of long term care (64% of residents are on Medicaid).[1] More >

OIG Guidance for Healthcare Boards

In April, the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“OIG”), in conjunction with the American Health Lawyers Association, the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors, and the Health Care Compliance Association, released “Practical Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards on Compliance Oversight.” Rather than merely discussing aspirational goals or stating governing principles, the guide lives up to its name in giving practical suggestions for how health care governing boards oversee compliance programs, a true product of a partnership between the OIG and associations that represent those regulated by the office. The document stressed new compliance challenges for healthcare governing boards, such as value-based payment systems and the effect of ever-expanding publicly available data (under the Sunshine Rule, for instance). The guidance covered specific topic areas of concern, each of which will be discussed briefly. More >

All Eyes on Hospice Care

In 2013, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) charged the nation’s largest for-profit hospice chain, Vitas Innovative Hospice Care (“Vitas”), with false Medicare billings, inappropriately admitting patients with “aggressive marketing tactics,” and misleading patients and families about Medicare hospice benefits. This suit is just one of many recently filed against hospice providers, indicating that they are being watched keenly by enforcement authorities and government agencies. More >

A New HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool For Your Compliance Arsenal

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new security risk assessment (“SRA”) tool for small and medium size healthcare providers. The downloadable tool (available for free here) is a self-contained, independent application that is available for Windows and iOS platforms. The SRA works by asking a series of in-depth questions about the provider’s activities and facilities. The “yes” or “no” answer format for each question reveals whether corrective action is needed in a particular area. Additional resources in the SRA help providers understand the risks associated with the use, disclosure and storage of protected health information. The SRA offers providers the opportunity to generate, update and document assessment materials and corrective action plans through the SRA; documentation is especially important for audit purposes. More >

More Patient Access, but Less Understanding?

On February 3, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a Final Rule granting a patient, or his/her personal representative or designee, direct access to the patient’s completed laboratory test reports, if so requested. In addition, the Final Rule eliminates the exception under the HIPAA Privacy Rule to an individual’s right to access his or her protected health information when it is held by a CLIA-certified or CLIA-exempt laboratory. More >

Are U.S. Providers Ready to Catch Up in Medical Coding?

Posted In Compliance Officer, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), EHR Systems, Health Care Law, HealthCare.gov, ICD-10, ICD-9

After the bungled introduction of HealthCare.gov, providers are unquestionably leery of other technical health care-related requirements on the horizon. If there is a lesson to be learned in the wake of the Health Exchange debacle, it is this: it is never too early to prepare for change. More >

PHI May Be In More Places Than You Think

A recent HIPAA settlement serves as an important reminder that protected health information (PHI) may be stored on “ordinary” office equipment such as printers, photocopiers, scanners and fax machines, and not just on computer hard drives.  On August 14, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a settlement with the not-for-profit managed care plan Affinity Health Plan, Inc. (“Affinity”) for over $1.2 million in connection with HIPAA Privacy and Security breaches stemming from PHI stored on a photocopier hard drive. More >

Tools for the Trade: Understanding HIPAA

As a result of the intricate details and requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), it comes as no surprise that HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules can cause challenges and confusion for even the most sophisticated providers. With this in mind, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has recently provided tools meant to educate both consumers and providers on HIPAA. More >

More on the Final HIPAA Omnibus Rule

To follow up our previous blog on the Final Omnibus Rule (“Rule”) regarding HIPAA and HITECH, 78 Fed.Reg. 17, Part II, 5566-5702 (Jan. 25, 2013), which modifies 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, we will now discuss the changes to the Breach Notification Rule. The modifications will greatly reshape how Covered Entities and Business Associates view a breach. More >

HHS Issues Final HIPAA Omnibus Rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently announced its issuance of the highly-anticipated regulations or Final Omnibus Rule (“Rule”) relating to the modification of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement rules under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“the HITECH Act”). 78 Fed.Reg. 17 Part II (January 25, 2013) modifying 45 CFR Parts 160, 162, 164. The Final Rule, 78 Fed.Reg. 17 Part II, 563 pages in length, makes significant changes of which all providers need to be aware. A complete examination of the sweeping changes cannot be done in one article, so we will make a general summary of the most important changes. More >

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