News from the Health Law Gurus™: Week of December 14, 2014

December 19, 2014 | By Lawrence J. Tabas

Patient Medical Records Stolen from New Jersey Storage Facility – Tribeca Medical Center is notifying patients that their protected health information may be compromised. According to a privacy notice posted on Tribeca Medical Center’s website, patient records were stolen from a locked storage facility in Jersey City, New Jersey on October 21, 2014. Unidentified individuals cut door latches to enter the facility, and they stole boxes of medical records. The records included patient names, addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth, gender designation, insurance information, billing information, medical diagnoses, treatment records, laboratory and test results, and pharmacy/medication records. The theft was immediately reported to the Jersey City Police Department. To read the entire privacy notice, click here.

American Telemedicine Association to Accredit Virtual Visit Providers – The American Telemedicine Association (the “ATA”) has developed a program for accrediting live direct-to-consumer telemedicine services (i.e., phone or video consultations.) According to the CEO of the ATA, the ATA wants to make sure that customers and patients know “who the providers are, how the site works, what they can expect in terms of services, and some idea of the costs.” For more information about the new accreditation program, read this MobiHealthNews article written by Jonah Comstock.

2.5 Million Individuals Have Selected Plans Through the Federal Marketplace – In a recent press release, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell stated the following: “As of December 12, about 2.5 million consumers selected plans through the federal marketplace and large numbers of new and renewing consumers continued to shop through the weekend. This shows that millions of Americans want access to affordable quality health insurance and they came to the Marketplace to find it.” To read the HHS press release, click here.

First Opinion App Allows Text Conversations with Physicians A mobile app, called First Opinion, allows individuals to text a doctor and get a response within 24 hours for free. The app has been designed in an attempt to eliminate unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office and provide consumers with access to 24/7 continuous care. To ensure compliance with HIPAA, users of the app are anonymous and messages are encrypted.  To learn more about the app, read this MobiHealthNews article written by Jonah Comstock.

About the Authors

Lawrence J. Tabas


Lawrence is the Chair for Obermayer’s Health Care Law Department and Election Law Practice Group. Lawrence’s Health Care Law legal experience includes the representation of Pennsylvania County governments in Behavioral Health Managed...

Read More by Author