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

September 5, 2014 | By Lawrence J. Tabas

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.

Physician-Patient Video Consults Expected to Skyrocket in 2015 – MobiHealthNews is reporting that video consultations between physicians and patients are expected to nearly triple by 2015. MobiHealthNews cites statistics from research firm Parks Associates, which indicate that physician-patient video consultations will sharply increase from “5.7 million in 2014 to over 16 million in 2015, and will exceed 130 million in 2018.” As indicated by the numbers, various sectors of the health care industry are working to integrate telemedicine into their business operations, and patients are increasingly taking advantage of these opportunities. However, before a health care business jumps into the practice of telemedicine, there are a variety of legal concerns to address. To see our previous blog post discussing the background of telemedicine and some legal issues to consider, click here. To read the full MobiHealthNews article by Brian Dolan, click here.   

CMS Announces New Rule for Certified EHR Technology – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), issued a new final rule (the “Final Rule”), which is intended to help providers achieve meaningful use in 2014 by providing more flexibility in providers’ use of certified electronic health record technology. According to the CMS press release, “[b]y providing this flexibility, more providers will be able to participate and meet important meaningful use objectives like drug interaction and drug allergy checks, providing clinical summaries to patients, electronic prescribing, reporting on key public health data and reporting on quality measures.” To read a copy of the Final Rule, click here. To read the full CMS press release, click here.

OIG Podcast Highlights August Enforcement Actions and OIG Reports – On September 3, the OIG posted its monthly podcast, which highlights the agency’s August enforcement actions and reports. To listen to the podcast or to read a transcript of the podcast, click here.