Are Recommendations of the White House Task Force on Behavioral Health Parity Trumped by the Election?

Posted in Accountable Care Organizations, Affordable Care Act and Other Healthcare Reform Legislation, Healthcare Law

Recently the White House Behavioral Health Parity Task Force issued guidance on the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Law). The Task Force could not have known, though, that on November 8th, the election may have changed the direction of the Task Force report and subsequent implementation.  Continue Reading

HHS Publishes a New Rule to Protect Dialysis Patients From Being “Steered” into Private Coverage for the Benefit of Dialysis Centers

Posted in Health Insurers & Managed Care Organizations, Healthcare Law, Medicare & Medicaid, Physicians

On implementing significant, new requirements for Medicare-certified dialysis facilities that make payment of premiums for individual health coverage, on December 14, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published an Interim final rule with comment period. The regulations become effective 30 days after the date of publication – January 13, 2017, and comments regarding the interim must be received by HHS by 5 p.m. on January 11, 2017.  Continue Reading

Deciphering Florida’s New Laws on ARNP and PA Controlled Substance Prescribing

Posted in Hospitals & Health Systems, Pharmacy, Drugs, Medical Devices & Equipment, Physicians

During the 2016 legislative session, Florida granted authority to both advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to prescribe controlled substances, subject to approval by their supervising practitioner. This change brings these professionals’ authority in line with what most other states allow. However, this was not a complete grant of prescribing authority and, as explained below, leaves these professionals with a few restrictions to track. Continue Reading

Now is the Time to Prepare for MACRA: 2017 Will Bring Major Changes to Physician Medicare Reimbursement

Posted in Medicare & Medicaid

MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) is bi-partisan legislation that was enacted to change Medicare reimbursement from being based on the current system of volume of services provided to reimbursement based on the quality of care, as well as value and participation in alternative payment and delivery models. MACRA replaces the Sustainable Growth Formula (SGR), which has for decades required Congress to pass periodic last minute ‘doc fixes’ to prevent physician reimbursement rates from plummeting. MACRA (also called the Quality Payment Program) replaces the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the EHR Incentive (Meaningful Use) Programs. MACRA only affects physician and non-physician practitioner reimbursement under Part B. It does not affect Medicare Parts A, C, D or reimbursement for diagnostic tests or other items and services provided under Part B. Continue Reading

HIPAA Audits – Phase 2: On-Site Audits Scheduled for First Quarter of 2017

Posted in HIPAA, Privacy, and Data Security, Hospitals & Health Systems, Physicians

Covered Entities and Business Associates may be ringing in the New Year with the prospect of responding to on-site HIPAA audits by federal regulators. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced that a certain number of comprehensive on-site HIPAA compliance reviews will be done over the first quarter of next year. Details of these audits are currently being finalized and will be posted on the OCR website in the coming months. Continue Reading

Recent CyberSecurity Incidents Emphasize Importance of Cyberinsurance

Posted in Healthcare Law, HIPAA, Privacy, and Data Security, Pharmacy, Drugs, Medical Devices & Equipment

As the threat of cyberattacks continues to pose daily threats to businesses large and small, more companies have turned to cyber insurance products to shore up protection against these disruptive threats. A spate of recent incidents has highlighted the importance of taking steps to prepare for and mitigate possible damages. As such, healthcare entities have begun exploring Cyberinsurance as a method of aiding in better securing company data, as well as financial security. Continue Reading

New Tools Help Providers Become Smarter Users of Electronic Health Records Systems

Posted in Electronic Health Records & Medical Records

Healthcare providers excel at providing care to their patients, not designing IT strategies. Even so, with the trend toward value-based payments increasing, more healthcare providers have turned to electronic health records (EHR) systems to help them fine-tune practice efficiency and improve patient outcomes.

The EHR management systems options from which to choose can be dizzying, yet few decisions have so great an effect on a provider’s daily operations. As a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released two free tools that aim to help providers get the most out of their EHR systems. Continue Reading

Best Practices for Safeguarding Protected Health Information in Inclement Weather

Posted in HIPAA, Privacy, and Data Security

As the East Coast prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, covered entities and business associates should take the opportunity to remind their workforce members to safeguard protected health information (PHI) that is in paper form. Certainly, HIPAA requires covered entities and business associates to protect and secure PHI at all times. However, healthcare providers that deal with volumes of records (and particularly those relying heavily on paper records) should take extra precaution in preparation for inclement weather that may involve wind and water damage.  Covered entities and business associates should remind and advise their workforce members as follows:

  • PHI in paper form should be secured in locked file cabinets (where it will be less prone to wind and water damage) and should be kept separate from other paper documents.
  • Consider storing physical PHI a locked file room or other locked interior room that can be used for storage so that it is contained in a secure interior location (and again less prone to wind and water damage).
  • Workforce members, including physicians and other ancillary providers, should not remove PHI in paper form from the premises unless absolutely necessary.

Continue Reading

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Releases an Invitation to Negotiate for a Vendor to Provide an All Payor Claims Database to Florida Consumers

Posted in Healthcare Law

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) released ITN 003-16/17 (the “ITN”) to select a vendor to provide All Payer Claims Database (APCD) services pursuant to section 408.05(3)(c), Florida Statutes. The ITN, published on September 26, 2016, contains a tight time-frame for the submission and evaluation of responses to it. While written inquiries regarding the ITN must be submitted to AHCA by 2:00 on October 3, 2016, completed responses to the ITN must be received by AHCA by 2:00 on November 7, 2016. It is anticipated that AHCA will post its notice of intent to award the APCD vendor contract on January 17, 2017, with the anticipated term of the contract to run for five (5) years, from February 1, 2017 through January 31, 2022.  Continue Reading