Health Law Gurus

Health Law Gurus

Health Law: News,
Commentary & Insights

No Kidding: Overseas Medical Tourism Is Well Worth Trip

Posted in Medical Tourism, Trends
Renée-Marie Stephano, J.D.

Renée-Marie Stephano, J.D.

Surgery was on his bucket list, but Bruce Ryan didn’t want to wait until he retired to repair his debilitating and painful rotator cuff injury. The 59-year-old construction manager could have traveled the six hours to Stanford Medical Center – considered one of the top facilities in the United States. He had other reservations, instead.

“No, we went to France – to Toulouse, France – and did it,” said Ryan, chuckling at the thought. “It was great.”

All kidding aside, the American patient didn’t have to pay a dime for his medical tourism surgery in France – even $7,000 worth of deductibles and co-pays were waived – plus, he got to tour the Pyrenees Mountains, take in the local art scene, and sample baguettes, chateaux, truffles and other French indulgences. Continue Reading

HITECH Act Assures Meaningful Use & Care Coordination…For Some

Posted in Behavioral Health, EHR, HITECH, Technology, Trends
Brandon Danz, M.P.A.

Brandon Danz, M.P.A.

The passage of the ARRA HITECH Act in 2009 fostered significant advancements in patient engagement and care coordination by incentivizing primarily physical health providers and acute care hospitals to make smarter use of technology. Specifically, the Act provided funding for eligible providers and hospitals to adopt electronic health records (EHR) and then “meaningfully use” those EHRs to improve care coordination, reduce health disparities, promote population health, enhance patient engagement, and maintain patient privacy.

Eligible providers and hospitals benefit greatly from transferring patient records from the filing cabinet to the computer. Information becomes instantaneously available to inform improved patient engagement and person-centered care decisions. Most importantly, this information can be used to manage a patient’s care across the many health systems he or she uses. Continue Reading

Proposed Reforms to Liver Transplant System Address Disparity, Raise Ethical Questions

Posted in Guest Contributor, Legislation, Trends

 

Brandon Danz, M.P.A.

Brandon Danz, M.P.A.

Each year over 1,500 individuals in the United States die while waiting for a liver transplantation. Another 1,500 candidates are removed from waiting lists because they are deemed too medically frail to receive a liver. Some reformers believe that these figures can be reduced by changing administrative procedures used to determine how organs are distributed. Others believe that these changes would have detrimental effects on certain regions of the nation. Central to this discussion is our underlying ethical obligation to maximize benefits across a population while assuring a minimum level of duty and fairness to each individual. Continue Reading

CMS Announces Launch of Open Payments Database: $3.5 Billion Paid to Physicians and Teaching Hospitals

Posted in Affordable Care Act (ACA), Anti-Kickback Statute, Fraud and Abuse, Trends

The Open Payments database (the “Database”) is now live, and the first round of data is available to the public on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) website. This first round of data reflects “nearly 4.4 million payments valued at nearly $3.5 billion attributable to 546,000 individual physicians and almost 1,360 teaching hospitals,” according to a recent CMS press release (the “Press Release”). Continue Reading

September 22, 2014 – HIPAA Compliance Deadline for Business Associate Agreements Is Just Around the Corner

Posted in Business Associates, Compliance Issues, HIPAA, Regulations

All business associate agreements (“BAAs”) must be updated and compliant with current Health Insurance Accountability and Portability Act (“HIPAA”) regulations by September 22, 2014. Failure to meet this deadline could result in large penalties for covered entities and/or business associates if there is a breach of protected health information (“PHI”) or a government audit. If you have not already done so, act now to ensure that you meet this important deadline. Continue Reading

News from the Health Law Gurus™: Week of August 31, 2014

Posted in Fraud and Abuse, News from the Health Law Gurus, Privacy, Technology, Trends

News from the Health Law Gurus™ is a weekly summary of notable health law news from around the country with helpful links to related content. Check back every week for the latest health law news stories.

HealthCare.gov Has Been Hacked, but Your Personal Information Is Safe – HealthCare.gov was hacked in July of this year. Fortunately, according to recent reports, the hacker only breached a server for code testing, and personal information appears to be safe. The hacking only adds to the list of problems that the government has faced with the launch of HealthCare.gov, which has been well-known for technical difficulties during the first period of open enrollment. The hacking also highlights the need for health care companies and organizations to evaluate the security of their networks and servers as cybersecurity incidents continue to be a serious source of concern in the health care industry. Notably, Chinese hackers recently infiltrated a health system network, compromising the information of 4.5 million individuals. To read our previous blog post about this Chinese hacking incident, click here. To read a Wall Street Journal article by Danny Yadron about the hacking of HealthCare.gov, click here. Continue Reading

News from the Health Law Gurus™: Week of August 24, 2014

Posted in Affordable Care Act (ACA), Anti-Kickback Statute, Medicare, News from the Health Law Gurus, OIG Advisory Opinion, Trends

News from the Health Law Gurus™ is a weekly summary of notable health law news from around the country with helpful links to related content. Check back every week for the latest health law news stories.

CMS Bolsters Roster Before Next Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period – The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) have announced the addition of two new individuals to their team in anticipation of the next Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period, which begins this fall, to obtain health insurance coverage in 2015. According to the press release, Kevin Counihan and Lori Lodes, have been hired to help ensure successful enrollment. Mr. Counihan has been named the Marketplace CEO and Ms. Lodes is the new Director of Communications for CMS. Mr. Counihan previously served as the CEO for Connecticut’s successful Health Insurance Exchange and Ms. Lodes was the Senior Vice President for Campaigns and Strategies for the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Center for American Progress. To read the full announcement, click here. Continue Reading

News from the Health Law Gurus™: Week of August 17, 2014

Posted in Affordable Care Act (ACA), Compliance Issues, False Claims Act, Fraud and Abuse, Health Insurance, HIPAA, News from the Health Law Gurus, Stark Law

News from the Health Law Gurus™ is a weekly summary of notable health law news from around the country with helpful links to related content. Check back every week for the latest health law news stories.

Chinese Hackers Infiltrate Health System Network Affecting 4.5 Million Individuals – Community Health Systems, Inc. (“CHS”) reported this week that the information of approximately 4.5 million individuals has been affected by a Chinese cyber-attack. CHS and its affiliates own and operate 206 hospitals in 29 states. CHS stated in a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that the attackers, believed to be a group originating in China, “used highly sophisticated malware and technology to attack” its computer network. Read our full blog post here. Continue Reading

Chinese Hackers Infiltrate Health System Network – Information of 4.5 Million Individuals Stolen

Posted in Compliance Issues, HIPAA, Privacy

Community Health Systems, Inc. (“CHS”) reported yesterday that the information of approximately 4.5 million individuals has been affected by a Chinese cyber-attack. CHS and its affiliates own and operate 206 hospitals in 29 states.

CHS stated in a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that the attackers, believed to be a group originating in China, “used highly sophisticated malware and technology to attack” its computer network. Continue Reading

News from the Health Law Gurus™: Week of August 3, 2014

Posted in Affordable Care Act (ACA), Compliance Issues, Fraud and Abuse, News from the Health Law Gurus, Technology, Trends

News from the Health Law Gurus™ is a weekly summary of notable health law news from around the country with helpful links to related content. Check back every week for the latest health law news stories.

ICD-10 Compliance Deadline Is Now October 1, 2015 – Health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses (“Health Care Entities”) are required to comply with ICD-10 (which stands for the International Classification for Diseases, 10th Edition) on October 1, 2015, according to a new final rule (“Final Rule”) released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). This means that Health Care Entities must be ready for ICD-10 on October 1, 2015 in order to receive reimbursement for claims. Health Care Entities are required to continue using ICD-9 through September 30, 2015. Read our full blog post here.  Continue Reading