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CMS Seeking Public Comments on Reforming Scope of Practice Regulations

Acting on Executive Order #13890, "Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation's Seniors," the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") will consider new regulations designed to eliminate the regulatory barriers that constrain advanced practice providers (i.e., physician assistants and advanced practice nurses) from practicing at the top of their professional licenses. These barriers include burdensome billing requirements, conditions of participation, and supervision requirements that are more stringent than applicable...

DEA Announces Plans to Permit Prescriptions of Controlled Substances via Telehealth

The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 prohibits providers from prescribing or dispensing controlled substances in the absence of a valid in-person encounter, with limited exceptions. One such exception permits a practitioner who has obtained "special registration" to prescribe a controlled substance for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice as a result of a telemedicine encounter that permits the prescriber to obtain...

Sentara Hospitals’ $2.175 Million HIPAA Settlement

Virginia-based Sentara Hospitals has agreed to a $2.175 million settlement with the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OCR) for alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on behalf of its ten hospitals. On April 17, 2017, the OCR received a complaint alleging that an incorrect hospital bill, containing another patient's Protected Health Information (PHI), was mailed to a...

$4 Million Settlement Latest in Growing Trend of Patient Assistance Program Scrutiny

On November 20, 2019, The Assistance Fund (TAF) agreed to pay a $4 million settlement and enter a three-year integrity agreement, to resolve allegations of False Claims Act violations related to paying impermissible kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries. This represents the third settlement involving a patient assistance fund in the past month, indicating a trend in enforcement action. TAF operated assistance programs to assist patients, including Medicare beneficiaries, with co-payment, co-insurance,...

Texas Health and Human Services Commission Receives $1.6 Million Civil Money Penalty for HIPAA Violations

Last week, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) imposed a $1.6 million civil money penalty against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), a state agency, after a 2015 breach notification report revealed a security vulnerability on the HHSC web-facing application for its Community Living Assistance and Support Services and Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities program. When transferring the internal application...