Lobbying Affiliate: MML&K Government Solutions
{ Banner Image }

Healthcare Law Blog

Comprehensive Healthcare law services.
It's kind of our bag.

Contact Us

* Indicates a required field.

Categories

McBrayer Blogs

Related Blogs

Showing 9 posts in Personal Health Information.

Telehealth/Telemedicine: An Opportunity for Physicians and Providers to Add a New Line of Service

The cost effectiveness of providing health care via telemedicine or telehealth promises to be an effective tool to increase coverage and reimbursement of healthcare provided remotely or through telehealth. Towers Watson, a national consulting company, recently published a 2014 study that suggests that telemedicine could save $6 billion annually for the health care industry. "Achieving this savings requires a shift in patient and physician mindsets, health plan willingness to integrate and reimburse such services, and regulatory support in all states," according to Dr. Allan Khoury, a senior consultant at Towers Watson.[1] Recent studies have assigned significant cost savings generated by telehealth use that include cost savings of $537 million per year for emergency departments using telehealth to reduce transfers and spending reductions of 7.7% to 13.3% per person per quarter in the cost of care for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries using a health buddy via telehealth. [2] As the cost effectiveness of providing services via telehealth and telemedicine is proven, Medicare, most state Medicaid programs and commercial insurers are increasing coverage as well as reimbursement for telehealth services. State law requirements for providing telehealth and coverage differ greatly. Consequently, physicians and health care providers should be aware of the complexity of providing telehealth and its requirements, but should also incorporate telehealth services into their practices as a new way of providing services and a new line of business. More >

A New Reason to Protect Protected Health Information

Recently, an Indiana jury awarded a plaintiff $1.8 million in damages after a Walgreens pharmacist inappropriately used her position to find and share the plaintiff’s protected health information (“PHI”). [1] As health care providers know, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) provides both civil and criminal penalties for improper disclosure of medical information but it does not create a state-based private cause of action for violation of its provisions. Thus, when someone’s PHI is inappropriately shared or disclosed by a health care provider, the individual does not have personal legal recourse against the offending party. The recent Indiana case (herein “Walgreens Co.”) illustrates, however, that HIPAA still has a significant role in state court suits alleging negligence and professional liability as it relates to confidentiality.

More >

Guidance on Mental Health & the HIPAA Privacy Rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued guidance entitled, “HIPAA Privacy Rule and Sharing Information Related to Mental Health.” As the title implies, it offers information as to when it may be permissible under HIPAA for health care providers to share information related to a patient’s mental health, including instances when the patient may be a minor. The direction, issued in the form of Q&As, comes as HHS seeks to strike a balance between a patient’s privacy rights in mental health records and public safety concerns. The clarifications could not come at a better time, as the health care industry prepares for an influx of patients who now have insurance that includes mental health coverage.  Below are some of the highlights from the guidance: More >

Secure Text Messaging in a HIPAA World?

Texting is becoming an increasingly acceptable form of communication in the business world, but can it be relied upon in the health care industry? There are numerous advantages to texting in the fast-paced world of health care. In an environment where time is of the essence, voicemails and pagers can slow down providers’ care and fail to convey adequate information. A text, on the other hand, is both immediate and can be detail-specific. In addition, texting can involve more than one sender and/or receiver in a closed-loop conversation, and, unlike through the paging system, a sender can be notified when the message has been read by the receiver(s). Text messaging can not only improve an entity’s efficiency, but it can also serve as a way to easily connect with patients, thereby improving quality of care. 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 >

Coming to a Medical Practice near You: HIPAA and Hi-Tech Audits

On December 26, 2013, the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced  its first settlement with a covered entity for not having policies and procedures in place to address the breach notification provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act. Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, P.C., (“the Practice”) of Concord, Massachusetts agreed to settle potential violations with a $150,000 penalty and corrective action plan. More >

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure Adopts the Model Policy

Over the summer, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure adopted the Model Policy for the Appropriate Use of Social Media and Social Networking in Medical Practice (“Model Policy”) that was issued by the Federation of State Medical Boards (“FSMB”). FSMB created their policy in 2012 to help medical boards provide guidance and education about issues related to social media. The FSMB Model Policy followed the American Medical Association’s (“AMA”) 2010 “Professionalism in the Use of Social Media” policy. Both incorporate the same principles, but the FSMB offers more concrete examples of conduct that should be avoided in social media activity. 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 >

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 >

Lexington, KYLouisville, KYFrankfort, KY: MML&KFrankfort, KY LawGreenup, KYWashington, D.C.