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Showing 10 posts in HITECH Act.

OIG Recommends Audits of Meaningful Use Incentive Payments

In order to encourage health providers to use electronic medical records (“EHRs”) in lieu of paper records, Congress passed the Medicare and Medicaid Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH Act”) in 2009. Read More ›

Categories: HITECH Act, Medicare/Medicaid

Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of FCA Whistleblower Lawsuit Based on Health Data Breach

fca whistleblower lawsuitThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a whistleblower lawsuit alleging violations of the False Claims Act based on an individual security breach. The case, United States ex rel. Sheldon v. Kettering Health Network, arose after the relator (or whistleblower) received letters from Kettering Health Network (KHN) informing her that KHN employees, including her now ex-husband, impermissibly accessed her medical records. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Compliance, HITECH Act, Providers

Hospital Mergers Continued to Climb in 2014

hospital mergersSince the approval of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, hospital consolidation has been on the rise and according to a report detailed in a recent Chicago Tribune article, 2014 followed suit with a “flurry of mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.” The article features findings from a report issued by healthcare consulting firm Kaufman Hall, including that in 2014 95 deals were announced, down slightly from 98 in 2013 but up from 66 in 2010.

Passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 increased pressure on hospitals to operate more effectively and efficiently, which has driven industry consolidation. The ACA favors a service model that rewards organizations for producing quality outcomes – not quantity – and many providers believe that compliance will be easier with the greater scale and integration enabled by mergers. Through consolidation, many also hope to be better positioned to attract new patients with expanded services and medical specializations.

Additionally, the ACA’s introduction of a massive wave of new patients into the healthcare system, combined with diminishing Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, means that the business of healthcare is becoming increasingly expensive, especially for independent hospitals. Another challenge – and driving force behind consolidation – has been the need to upgrade IT systems and facilities to comply with rules and regulations beyond the ACA. Read More ›

Categories: Health Care Reform, HIPAA, HITECH Act, Hospitals, News & Events

And Then There Was One: Economic Pressures Squeeze Metro Detroit Hospitals into Consolidation

Reduced reimbursements. A shift toward global payment. A demand for integration, quality of care and medical specializations. In order to compete amidst today’s healthcare market pressures, independent hospitals in Michigan and around the nation are increasingly deciding that they cannot go it alone. A recent Detroit News article reveals how this trend is playing out in Metro Detroit, with one of the region’s last two independent hospitals poised for acquisition.   

Observers of Detroit’s healthcare environment are reportedly not surprised by the news that Crittenton Hospital Medical Center has signed a letter of intent to join St. Louis-based Ascension Health, the largest Catholic and nonprofit health system in the nation. With Monroe-based Mercy Memorial Hospital announcing on January 6 that it is joining the ProMedica health care company, the Crittenton deal will leave Doctors’ Hospital in Pontiac as the region’s last remaining independent hospital.

Laura Wotruba, spokeswoman for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, said that this is not a Michigan issue, but rather a widespread pattern. “[It is] a national trend [and] something we’ve been seeing around the country.” Read More ›

Categories: Electronic Health Records, Health Care Reform, HIPAA, HITECH Act, Hospitals, News & Events, Regulatory

Long-Awaited Privacy Rules Just Published

The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services recently released its final rule (the "Rule") modifying the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") and implementing the statutory requirements of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH”).  (The Rule was originally expected to be released in February of 2010 when HITECH became effective.) In short, the Rule: modifies HIPAA’s privacy, security and enforcement rules; changes HIPAA’s enforcement rules to increase penalties consistent with HITECH; provides a final rule on breach notification; and modifies HIPAA as required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

The new rule is approximately 563 pages and can be accessed here.  If you have any questions about how the Rule may impact your health care practice, please contact Nicole Stratton at (517) 371-8140 or by using the form below.

Categories: Compliance, HIPAA, HITECH Act, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Physicians, Privacy, Regulatory

Newly Released Audit Protocol Serves as Guidance for Compliance Programs

Newly Released Audit Protocol Serves as Guidance for Compliance ProgramsThe Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act ("HITECH Act"), passed in 2009, imposed new requirements on health care providers (among others) related to the privacy and security of Protected Health Information ("PHI").  Included in the HITECH Act's requirements was a mandate that the Department of Health and Human Services’ ("HHS") Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") conduct audits to analyze the processes, controls and policies of certain covered entities.  The pilot program for such audits began in 2011 and will conclude in December, 2012. Read More ›

Categories: Compliance, HIPAA, HITECH Act, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Physicians, Regulatory

Hot Off the Presses: Foster Swift Health Care Law Newsletter

health care lawThe latest edition of the Foster Swift Health Care Law Newsletter has just been released.  Topics include Electronic Health Records, Medicare Reimbursement for Resident Research and Hospital Community Needs Assessments.  In order to whet your appetite, below is a brief summary of the articles: Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Electronic Health Records, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Exchange, HITECH Act, Hospitals, Medicare/Medicaid, Physicians

Auditing for HIPAA Compliance - It's Coming!

auditing for hipaa complianceThe Department of Health and Human Services ("DHHS") is moving forward with its HIPAA auditing program, which will launch in late 2011 or in 2012.  After the audit protocols have been created, they will be field-tested through approximately 20 audits.  Once the field tests are completed, up to 150 on-site audits will take place through the end of 2012.  It is not clear which types of entities will be selected for audit.  It is also not yet clear whether the DHHS Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") will audit only covered entities, or whether business associates will be audited as well.  In addition, the OCR has not yet determined whether or how it will publish its audit results.  Given the significance of being subject to a HIPAA audit, organizations should take this time to review their policies and procedures for HIPAA privacy and security compliance. Moreover, with the newness of electronic health record ("EHR") systems, those with EHR will especially want to make sure that these systems are compliant. Please contact me at 517.371.8231 or 906.226.5501 if you would like assistance with any review.

Categories: Electronic Health Records, HIPAA, HITECH Act, Regulatory

Recent Enforcement Activity for HIPAA Violations

The United States Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently imposed a civil monetary penalty of just over $4.3 million against Cignet Health of Prince George's County, Maryland (Cignet).  Forty-one patients had filed complaints with OCR after being denied access to their medical records by Cignet.  OCR investigated the matter and determined that Cignet had indeed violated the patients' rights by denying them access to their medical records.  The penalty for these violations was $1.3 million.  However, Cignet also failed to cooperate with the OCR investigation, and was fined an additional $3 million for such failure.  Read More ›

Categories: HIPAA, HITECH Act

Now's the Time to Upgrade to Electronic Health Records with Incentive Registration

Registration for the electronic health record ("EHR") incentive programs with Medicare and Medicaid in Michigan began on January 3, 2011.  Hospitals, critical access hospitals, and professionals who register and can demonstrate "meaningful use" of certified EHR programs  within the extensive guidelines of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") are eligible for the incentives.  Read More ›

Categories: HITECH Act, Hospitals