Health Employment And Labor labor and employment law for the healthcare industry

Category Archives: HIPAA

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Protecting Patient Privacy in Light of the NLRB’s Scrutiny of No-Recording and Social Media Policies

The increased use of portable electronic devices in the workplace and the popularity of social media pose unique challenges for health care employers, particularly when the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) conflict with the NLRB’s position on policies that could infringe upon an employee’s right to engage in concerted activity under the NLRA.

HIPAA governs the use and disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) by health care providers. HIPAA violations may occur when health care employees post images of patients or patients’ records or vitals on social media. Oftentimes, the disclosure is inadvertent. … Continue Reading

Complimentary Webinar – Eye on Ebola: Issues Impacting Health Care Providers

WHEN: November 17, 2014

TIME:    2:00pm – 3:30pm EST

To register for this webinar, please click here.

Please join us for a complimentary webinar addressing the professional and business challenges encountered by health care providers dealing with Ebola and other infectious diseases. This webinar will offer a clinical overview as well as a review of the guidelines which offer protocols for addressing concerns over Ebola and similar diseases, the health regulatory and risk management issues providers might consider in developing a response strategy, and the resulting labor and employment considerations facing health care employers. A question and answer period … Continue Reading

Being Compliant in a Post-Omnibus Rule World

Several colleagues and I recently wrote Health Reform: Key Compliance Actions for the New HIPAA Privacy Regulations, an alert published by the Implementing Health and Insurance Reform team of Epstein Becker Green.

In it, we summarized areas in which employers should consider taking action prior to September 2013 to facilitate compliance with the new requirements.  Here are our top five action items for covered entities and business associates to focus on in their Omnibus Rule compliance efforts:

  1. Review Business Associate Relationships, and Update Business Associate Agreements;
  2. Evaluate Compliance with Heightened Safeguard Requirements;
  3. Update Notices of Privacy Practices;
  4. Update Privacy
Continue Reading

OCR Publishes Guidance for De-Identifying Protected Health Information

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule provides standards for the use and disclosure of “individually identifiable health information,” dubbed protected health information, or PHI.  PHI is information, including demographic information, that relates to an individual’s physical or mental health, the provision of health care to the individual, or payment for the provision of health care to the individual.  Such information constitutes PHI if it identifies the individual or if there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual to whom the health information pertains.  Thus, PHI includes many … Continue Reading

Affordable Care Act Webinar, January 9 – To Pay or To Play: An Analysis of the Shared Responsibility Rules

Please join Epstein Becker Green’s Health Care & Life Sciences and Labor & Employment practitioners as we continue to review the Affordable Care Act and its ongoing impact on employers and their group health plans.

In less than a year, employers employing at least 50 full-time employees will be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions. Under these provisions, if employers do not offer health coverage or do not offer affordable health coverage that provides a minimum level of value to their full-time employees, they may be subject to a tax penalty under the proposed regulations just issued by the … Continue Reading

Texas Privacy Protections Becoming Bigger

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and the Lone Star State’s new privacy protection laws are no exception.  Texas House Bill 300 (“HB 300”) amends the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act (“Texas Act”) and takes effect on September 1, 2012.  HB 300 significantly expands patient privacy protections for Texas covered entities beyond those federal requirements as outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act by:

•revising the definition of a “covered entity;”

•increasing mandates on covered entities;

•establishing standards for the use … Continue Reading

Employer Beware: OCR Heats Up HIPAA Enforcement

For those healthcare employers that have been resting on your laurels and viewing through rose-colored glasses your entity’s HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) compliance efforts, the time has come to thoroughly clean your glasses and prepare for increased Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) enforcement actions.  Speaking at the recent National HIPAA Summit, the OCR’s Director, Leon Rodriguez, announced that the OCR intends to follow the Office of Inspector General’s (“OIG”) vigilant enforcement model for HIPAA violations.  The OCR intends to focus its enforcement efforts on … Continue Reading

Poorly Crafted Wellness Programs Could Make Employers Sick

Kara Maciel, Member of the Epstein Becker Green Labor and Employment, Litigation, and Health Care and Life Sciences  Practices, was recently interviewed by Employment Law360 concerning employer wellness programs. 

According to the article, businesses are turning to wellness programs to curb health care expenses, but programs that aren’t carefully crafted can open employers up to costly privacy and discrimination litigation, attorneys say.  Wellness programs can lead to big savings for employers by targeting behaviors that can cause  conditions that drive up their health care expenditures. But programs that give employers too much  information about their employees can leave employers vulnerable … Continue Reading

Social Media and the On-Going Battle to Protect Patient Information

by Pamela D. Tyner

Social media have become de rigueur globally.  Today, millions maintain connections with their friends, relatives and business acquaintances via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube.  Recent studies indicate that social media popularity even predicts polling popularity and the stock market.  Translated to the healthcare arena, healthcare facilities and organizations are now trained to promote their business by communicating effectively via social media.  In addition, patients, physicians and employees of healthcare facilities and organizations frequently communicate and discuss patient status via cell phones, Facebook, YouTube and other social media.  However, many people do not realize that … Continue Reading