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Compliance Update
HIPAA Compliance in 2017: The Heat is on Print E-mail
Written by Vitale Health Law   
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 19:04

The doctor-patient relationship has always involved a certain level of privacy. But over the years, the stakes for healthcare providers who violate patient privacy have increased exponentially. Barely two months into 2017 and already we are seeing increased activity.

According to a newly released report from Protenus, in conjunction with, January saw 31 healthcare data breaches disclosed resulting in the exposure of 388,307 patient and health plan member records.

The largest healthcare data breach reported last month involved CoPilot Provider Support Services, Inc. and impacted 220,000 individuals. However, the breach actually occurred in October 2015, with CoPilot discovering the incident two months later in December 2015. The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights, however, was only notified of the breach in January 2017, well outside the 60-day deadline for reporting breaches.

According to the report, the average number of days between the breach occurring and the incident being reported to OCR was 174 days. It took an average of 123.5 days for healthcare organizations to discover a breach had occurred.

Those healthcare entities affected by data breaches are finding themselves having to pay significant penalties. Case in point, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently announced the first HIPAA settlement based on the untimely reporting of a breach of unsecured protected health information.

Presence Health, one of the largest healthcare networks serving Illinois, agreed to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule by paying $475,000 and implementing a corrective action plan.

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Last Updated on Monday, 13 March 2017 17:18
Court Strikes Down Florida Law Barring Doctors From Discussing Guns With Patients Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 20 February 2017 15:50

Rebecca Hersher reports for NPR on 2/17/17:

A federal appeals court says doctors in Florida must be allowed to discuss guns with their patients, striking dow portions of a Florida law that restricts what physicians can say to patients about firearm ownership.

In a 10-1 decision, the full panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law, known as the Privacy of Firearm Owners Act, violates the First Amendment rights of doctors.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>
Health Care Regulation Debate Rekindled Print E-mail
Written by The News Service of FL via Health News Florida   
Friday, 20 January 2017 18:42

Florida lawmakers could be preparing for a renewed debate about easing regulations in the state's health-care industry.

A House panel last week began considering the "certificate of need" process - a long-controversial system that requires state regulatory approvals before facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes can be built. Also, bills have been filed in the House and Senate that address issues such as the regulation of ambulatory surgical centers and clearing the way for "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients.

The issues are not new: House leaders in recent years have repeatedly sought to scale back certificate-of-need laws and make other regulatory changes. The House and Senate, however, have not agreed on the issues, which have been closely watched by lobbyists for sometimes-competing parts of the health-care industry.

House leaders have backed eliminating the certificate-of-need process for hospitals, arguing that such a free-market approach would improve access to care.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 14:49
New Year: New prescribing laws take effect Print E-mail
Written by Vitale Health Law   
Monday, 09 January 2017 00:00

Two new prescribing laws took effect this month that physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners should be familiar with.

Effective Jan. 1, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants (PAs) are allowed to prescribe, order, and administer controlled substances, subject to certain protocols. This came with the passage of HB 423, which was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott last year.

ARNPs and PAs practicing in Florida must apply for DEA registration to prescribe controlled substances.

The other new law, which came with the passage of Amendment 2 in November, legalizes the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions.

The law took effect on Jan. 3, however, the Florida Department of Health has not yet promulgated rules to Amendment 2 and has six months to do so. The department has nine months to implement the regulations.

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2016 A Banner Year for Security Breaches Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 02 January 2017 17:22

Marla Durben Hirsch reporting for Fierce Healthcare on 12/29/16:

Security breaches of electronic protected health information (ePHI) continue to plague the healthcare industry-and the trend shows no signs of abating.

More than 25 million patient records were reportedly compromised as of October 2016. And then, in November, the cases spiked: There were 57 health data breaches-the most in any one month this year, according to the Protenus Breach Barometer.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>> 
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