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Category Archives: Protected Health Information (PHI)

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Act Now Advisory – Protecting Your Workforce: What You Need to Know About Ebola

By Frank C. Morris, Jr.

The Ebola virus disease (“Ebola”) has become a worldwide threat, which, among many other effects, has forced employers to think about how to protect their employees. Employers also must consider how Ebola might impact employment policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, those addressing attendance, leaves of absence, discipline, and medical testing.

My colleagues and I have written a detailed Act Now advisory providing legal framework of best practices and legal risks pertaining to Ebola.

Click here to read the advisory in its entirety.… 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
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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

Hurricane Sandy: Tax and Employee Benefits Relief Available to Employers

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, employers with employees and operations impacted by Hurricane Sandy are asking what types of tax and employee benefits relief may be available to them and their affected employees.  The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) have moved quickly to provide disaster relief guidance for affected employers and their employees.

IRS Relief.  In response to Hurricane Sandy, on November 2, 2012, the IRS in IR-2012-84 declared Hurricane Sandy a “qualified disaster” for federal income tax purposes under Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code of … 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

Epstein Becker Green Recognized as a HITRUST CSF Assessor to Provide Clients with Security and Privacy Risk Assessment for Protected Health Care Information

Epstein Becker Green has been designated by the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) as a Common Security Framework (CSF) Assessor. This will allow the firm to provide health care organizations with privacy and security risk assessments to protect the entities from breaches of protected health information (PHI). The health care industry has accepted the HITRUST CSF as the most widely adopted security framework. Epstein Becker Green is the first law firm to become a CSF Assessor and the designation exemplifies the firm’s distinct capability to identify and address risk for health care industry clients.

HITRUST provides resources, tools, education, and … Continue Reading