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Year-End Breach Notification and the Importance of HIPAA Plan Review

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires every Covered Entity that knows or should know of a breach of Protected Health Information (PHI) to notify the individuals affected by the breach as well as report the incident to the Federal government. While a breach affecting less than 500 individuals does not require immediate reporting to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,...

Does the Federation of State Medical Board’s Interstate Licensing Compact Enhance Your Ability to Practice Medicine Across State Lines?

In 2015, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) announced and successfully lobbied for the introduction of the Interstate Licensing Compact (ILC) in order to streamline state licensing procedures for physicians. Understanding and taking advantage of the ILC will allow physicians who wish to engage in the practice of medicine via telehealth technology across state lines a less burdensome barrier to entry. What is the Federation of State Medical Boards?...

HIPAA Compliance Violations Result in Significant Fines for Healthcare Providers

Two recent settlements by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) related to potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) have resulted in significant fines for several providers. These settlements demonstrate the fervor with which the Federal Government is pursuing HIPAA violations. In one case a Massachusetts teaching hospital agreed to pay an $850,000 settlement related to the...

AMA Holds Off on Setting Telemedicine Ethics Policy

Earlier this month, the American Medical Association House of Delegates chose to defer publication of guidelines for ethical practice in telemedicine at its 2015 Interim Meeting. The ethics policy is intended to provide standards for ensuring patient privacy and education, specifically with respect to the limitations of telemedicine, the need for coordinated care, and the importance of follow up treatment. Once published, physicians would be expected to abide by the guidelines...

HIPAA: Do I Need to Report?

Many physicians may not fully understand the breach reporting requirements mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and further enforced by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. A breach is considered any acquisition, access, use or disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) which compromises the security or privacy of the PHI. However, if the disclosed PHI has been rendered unusable, unreadable, or...