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Health Law

HIPAA Health Law & Technology HIPAA Health Law & Technology

Legal developments, issues, and other pertinent information relating the creation, use, and exchange of health information. Topics include EHRs and PHRs; HIEs, RHIOs, and EHR networks; privacy and security; breaches; and recent legislation.
By Helen Oscislawski

Post Frequency: 3/day

Last Entry: April 10, 2015 at 15:50:40

Recent Entries: 379

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Health Information Technology in NJ ? Where Are We Now?

Posted on April 10, 2015
  Part 2 Money talks. In other words, offering financial incentivesis one way to effectbehavior change. It seems to have worked ingetting providers to adopt and use health IT in everyday practice, both in New Jersey and nationally. HITECH and Meaningful Use Incentive Payments As explained by ONC in its October 2014 ?Report to Congress?:… Continue Reading

Health Information Technology in NJ ? Where Are We Now?

Posted on April 09, 2015
When I need to travel from the southern part of NJ to northern NJ, I often rely on my car or phone GPS and the relative ease and simplicity of the NJ Turnpike. If I needed my southern NJ physician to share information with my northern NJ physician, I might be surprised to learn that… Continue Reading

Doctor is Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Thousands of Patient Records

Posted on March 24, 2015
Our partner Elizabeth Litten and I were quoted by our good friend Marla Durben Hirsch in her recent article in Medical Practice Compliance Alert entitled ?Doctor is Arrested for Stealing Thousands of Patient Records.? While the full text can be found in the February 16, 2015 issue of Medical Practice Compliance Alert, the following considerations… Continue Reading

When HIPAA Applies to Patient Assistance Programs (and When it Doesn?t), Part 2

Posted on March 19, 2015
I posed a question in Part 1 of this post which I will summarize here: is personal health information provided to a Patient Assistance Program (PAP) in order to help with covering the cost of prescription drugs protected as ?protected health information? (PHI) under HIPAA? Let?s use two examples...

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Hacked Health Records Prized for their Black Market Value

Posted on March 16, 2015
I received a disturbing robo-call over the weekend informing me that someone had attempted to use my credit card number fraudulently in a retail store in the next county. When I called back and verified these were not legitimate charges, my card issuer assured me that I would not be financially responsible, canceled my card… Continue Reading


Posted on March 11, 2015
A registered nurse employed by Minnesota Blue Cross Blue Shield (BC/BS) with a history of drug offenses allegedly accessed a prescription drug database 249 times without a legitimate purpose, according to a report by Minneapolis CBS affiliate WCCO posted by reporter Esme Murphy...

When HIPAA Applies to Patient Assistance Programs (and When It Doesn?t)

Posted on March 06, 2015
Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) have proliferated in recent years, despite the fact that many commonly-prescribed medications have lost patent protection and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has attempted to eliminate pre-existing condition discrimination by insurance companies...

Protecting Health Information in the Context of Divorce Proceedings and Domestic Relations ? Part III

Posted on February 20, 2015
(Part III continues Part I and Part II of this series on privacy of health information in the domestic relations context, which may be found here and here. Capitalized words not defined in this Part III shall have the meanings assigned in Part I or Part II...

Protecting Health Information in the Context of Divorce Proceedings and Domestic Relations ? Part II

Posted on February 19, 2015
(Part I of this series on privacy of health information in the domestic relations context may be found here.Capitalized words not defined in this Part II shall have the meanings assigned in Part I.) Tips on dealing with IHI Issues in the Domestic Relations Context 1...

Protecting Health Information in the Context of Divorce Proceedings and Domestic Relations ? Part I

Posted on February 18, 2015
The November 2014 ruling in the Connecticut Supreme Court in the case of Byrne v. Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C., ? A.3d ?-, 2014, WL 5507439 (2014) (the ?Byrne case?) has been discussed in a number of posts on this blog, including those here and here...

?Digital Quarantine? or Vaccination? What Cybersecurity Experts Can Learn from Health Care

Posted on February 11, 2015
Perhaps the health care industry has a cybersecurity solution staring us in the face: vaccines. Perhaps we should be trying to vaccinate our data storage systems rather than relying on firewalls to quarantine them. In an article posted on www.philly...

Welcome to ?Fraud Fridays?

Posted on February 06, 2015
This post, written by my colleague Elizabeth Hampton,originally appeared on Garden State Gavel, a new blog focusing on New Jersey litigation topics. Fraud is on the rise in every industry and the lengths that some people will go to make money by ?gaming? the system is both fascinating and alarming...

Basic HIPAA Question for Mobile Health Application Developers: What Are You?

Posted on February 03, 2015
Health-related technology has developed light-years faster than health information privacy and security protection laws and policies, and consumers can find new mobile health applications for a wide range of purposes ranging from diabetes management to mole or rash evaluation to fitness tracking...

Not All Sensitive Health Information is Protected Health Information Under HIPAA

Posted on January 30, 2015
Recently our partner Keith R. McMurdy posted an entry on the Fox Rothschild Employee Benefits Legal Blog entitled ?HIPAA Medical Privacy Matters: Court Permits ADA Claim to Proceed.? While the full text of the excellent blog posting can be found here, I thought that a specific HIPAA point in Keith?s posting was well worth emphasizing:...

Medicare ACO Claims Data Sharing and Opt-Out, Take 2

Posted on January 26, 2015
I had an interesting conversation with Mike Barrett, Chairman of the National Association of ACOs, as a result of my January 7th post on the Medicare beneficiary opt-out process described in Medicare Shared Savings Program (?MSSP?) regulations proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (?CMS?)...

HIPAA Compliance Trends for 2015

Posted on January 20, 2015
As she had done in 2014, Marla Durben Hirsch interviewed my partner Elizabeth Litten and me for her annual Medical Practice Compliance Alert article on compliance trends for the New Year. While the article, which was entitled ?6 Compliance Trends That Will Affect Physician Practices in 2015,? was published in the January 5, 2015 issue...

New NJ Standard More Stringent than HIPAA

Posted on January 13, 2015
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill (S.562)into law on January 9, 2015 that will impose a standard more stringent than HIPAA on health insurance carriers authorized (i.e., licensed) to issue health benefits plans in New Jersey. Effective August 1, 2015, such carriers will be required to secure computerized records that include certain personal...

?No? to ACO Data Sharing? Proposed Rules Tweak Medicare Beneficiary Opt-Out Notice Procedure

Posted on January 07, 2015
Medicare beneficiaries whose healthcare providers participate in an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) may want to add the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website, ?Medicare & You?, to their lists of favorite internet links if they don?t want their Medicare claims data shared...

HIPAA Hurdles in 2015

Posted on December 30, 2014
Nearly a year ago, as described in an earlier blog post, one of my favorite health industry journalists, Marla Durben Hirsh, published an article in Medical Practice Compliance Alert predicting physician practice compliance trends for 2014. Marla quoted Michael Kline?s prescient prediction that HIPAA would increasingly be used as ?best practice? in actions brought in...

HIPAA Holiday Cheer (Lament?)

Posted on December 23, 2014
On the twelfth day of breaches my hacker sent to me: Twelve Data Downloads Eleven Plundered Patches Ten Missed BA Contracts Nine Malware Installs Eight Mis-sent Faxes Seven Stolen Laptops Six Snooping Staffers Five Old NPPs Four Lost Thumbdrives Three Re-sent Texts Two Pop-up Links ? And a Bill for Compliance Auditing...

Connecticut ?Opens Floodgates? for HIPAA Litigation

Posted on December 17, 2014
My partner Elizabeth Litten and I were recently interviewed for an article entitled ?Connecticut ?opens floodgates? for HIPAA litigation? published in ?Privacy this Week? by DataGuidance. The full text of the article can be found in the November 13, 2014 issue of ?Privacy this Week,? but a discussion of the article is set forth below...

Celebrities? Health Information Compromised by Sony Hacking

Posted on December 09, 2014
Fox Rothschild partner Scott Vernick recently appeared as a guest on the Willis Report to discuss the fallout of the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Click here to view the segment. Celebrities? individually identifiable health information, some of which appears to be protected health information (?PHI?) under HIPAA, was among the sensitive personal data hacked...

Michael Kline?s ?List of Considerations? for Indemnification Provisions in Business Associate Agreements

Posted on November 18, 2014
I strongly urgeeverycovered entityand business associatefaced with a Business Associate Agreement that includes indemnification provisions to read Michael Kline’s “List of Considerations” before signing. Michael’s list, included inan article he wrote that was recently published in the American Health Lawyers Association’s “AHLA Weekly” and available here, highlights practical and yet not obvious considerations...

OCR: HIPAA Privacy Rule ?Not Set Aside in an Emergency?

Posted on November 12, 2014
The threats to health privacy in the face of the Ebola scare has not escaped the notice of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). As we reported last month, a great deal of information regarding the identity and condition of individuals who may have been exposed to or treated for Ebola has appeared in news...

Connecticut Supreme Court Decision Depicts Rubik?s Cube of Federal and State Privacy and Security Compliance

Posted on November 11, 2014
As if compliance with the various federal privacy and data security standards weren’t complicated enough, we may see state courts begin to import these standards into determinations of privacy actions brought under state laws. Figuring out which federal privacy and data security standards apply, particularly if the standards conflict or obliquely overlap, becomes a veritable...

Connecticut Supreme Court Recognizes Individual?s Right for State Tort Action Using HIPAA as Standard of Care

Posted on November 09, 2014
The Connecticut Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Byrne v. Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C., — A.3d —-, 2014 WL 5507439 (2014) that [a]ssuming, without deciding, that Connecticut’s common law recognizes a negligence cause of action arising from health care providers’ breaches of patient privacy in the context of...

Patient Support Groups, Email and the Duty to Warn

Posted on November 05, 2014
I was recently asked whether the sending of an unencrypted group email to participants in a health-related support group violated HIPAA. Faithful blog readers can guess my first question: ?Was the sender a covered entity, business associate, or subcontractor?? Many support group entities are non-profit organizations staffed by volunteers and do not meet the definition...

Medical Device, ?Heal Thyself? from Data Hacking

Posted on October 27, 2014
Innovative health care-related technology and developing telemedicine products have the potential for dramatically changing the way in which health care is accessed. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) grappled with some of the complexities that arise as information is communicated electronically in connection with the provision of medical care and issued a Model Policy...

Which Privacy Protections Apply? HIPAA, FERPA and Ebola

Posted on October 22, 2014
Recent news articles regarding a New Jersey elementary school?s handling of the enrollment of two new students from Rwanda provided another glimpse of Ebola hysteria and the opportunity for me to follow up on Bill Maruca?s blog about Ebola and HIPAA with yet another (fairly obscure) statutory acronym...

Ebola In The News ? Is Too Much PHI Being Revealed And By Whom?

Posted on October 15, 2014
The names and photos of the late Thomas Eric Duncan and his former nurse Nina Pham are all over news media reports of the first cases of Ebola in the United States. But just how did news outlets learn their identities? Or, as my assistant asked me this morning, ?isn?t this a HIPAA violation?? as...

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