Judge Rules ACA Contraceptive Mandate Subject to Religious Objection

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Ft. Worth, Texas, who last year ruled the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) unconstitutional, this past week ruled that individuals with religious objections must be allowed to buy insurance without the ACA-mandated contraceptive mandate. Judge O’Connor’s prior ruling is on hold pending a July 8 hearing before […]

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HHS Releases Fact Sheet on HIPAA Liability of Business Associates

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a new fact sheet that provides a clear compilation of all provisions through which a business associate can be held directly liable for compliance with certain requirements of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules (“HIPAA Rules”), in accordance with the Health Information Technology […]

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HHS Proposes to Reverse Transgender Protections under Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) contains language prohibiting discrimination in health care based on sex, which was expanded under a 2016 rule by the Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to include gender identity. Now the Trump HHS has proposed reversing that rule and confining ACA anti-discrimination protections to only the […]

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HHS to Base HIPAA Fines on Culpability

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in late April issued a notice of enforcement discretion regarding fines for violations of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and its privacy, security and breach rules. The fine structure was established in 2009 with a piece of legislation titled  the Health Information Technology for Economic […]

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HHS Releases Additional Funding to Fight Opioid Crisis

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released an additional $487 million to supplement first-year funding through its State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program. The awards to states and territories are part of HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy and the Trump administration’s tireless drive to combat the opioid crisis. Together with the $933 million in second-year, […]

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Cottage Health Settlement Caps Record Year for HIPAA Enforcement

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has concluded an all-time record year in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforcement activity. In 2018, OCR settled 10 cases and was granted summary judgment in a case before an Administrative Law Judge, together totaling $28.7 million from […]

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HHS Seeks Comments on Healthy People 2030 Initiative

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting written comments regarding the Healthy People 2030 objectives. The public comment period will be open from Dec. 3, 2018 through Jan. 17, 2019. Healthy People focuses on critical health promotion and disease prevention topics. Since its launch in 1979, the initiative has grown substantially — […]

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HHS Seeks to Revamp HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), has  issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from the public on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules, especially the HIPAA Privacy Rule, could be modified to further the HHS secretary’s goal of promoting coordinated, value-based health […]

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Anthem On the Hook for $16M to U.S., $115M to Consumers

As a result of a single data breach of protected health information (PHI), albeit one affecting 79 million consumers, Anthem Inc. is now being fined $16 million by the government and owes an additional $115 million to those affected, who won a class action lawsuit that was approved by a judge this past August. The […]

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HHS Sued Over Delay in Drug Discount Rule

Congress in 2010 passed legislation requiring transparency in drug pricing for a hospital program known as 340B, and the Obama administration issued a final rule (finally) in January 2017. Now, the Trump administration is delaying implementation at the cost of a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The American Hospital Association […]

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