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HIPAA, HITECH & HIT Legal Issues, Developments and Other Pertinent Information Relating To The Creation, Use and Exchange of Electronic Health Records

Category Archives: Health IT

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Complex New Healthcare Relationships Create New Challenges in Electronic Health Records

Posted in EHR and PHR, Health IT

My partner Elizabeth G. Litten and I were interviewed by Marla Durben Hirsch in the FierceEMR article “Healthcare Attorneys: New Business Relationships Will Create New EHR Problems.” It is always a pleasure for us to talk with Marla because she provokes our thinking in new areas.  While the full text can be found here as… Continue Reading

Embarrassing Fact: Few Seem to Understand HIPAA or the ACA (at least when it comes to individual health coverage to be purchased on an Exchange)

Posted in Health IT, Privacy & Security

I read a recent Forbes.com post by Rick Ungar (“Claims That Obamacare Website Violates Health Privacy Reveals Embarrassing Fact – GOP Does Not Understand HIPAA or Obamacare”) that revealed a truly embarrassing fact:  very few of us really understand HIPAA, let alone the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Obamacare”) and its interplay… Continue Reading

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: How Not to Defend Against Fraud Allegations

Posted in Health IT

If your hospital is being raked over the coals in the media for alleged fraudulent billing, it’s understandable to want to set the record straight. However, releasing patient information without consent is not the wisest approach.  California’s Shasta Regional Medical Center and its parent company Prime Healthcare Services have come under fire for aggressive Medicare billing practices, arising out… Continue Reading

What’s HIT, Doc?

Posted in Health IT

Need to educate the public about health information technology? How about an animated cartoon? According to an article entitled When Health IT Meets Bugs Bunny in Information Week Healthcare,  ONC is seeking bids from contractors to produce short animated films explaining the concepts in plain English. In the RFP, ONC noted: "Although the widespread use of health IT by… Continue Reading

Selecting A Practice Management System? AMA/MGMA Toolkit May Help

Posted in Health IT

Looking to buy or upgrade your scheduling, billing and collection software? Want to make sure what you’re buying meets the latest HIPAA electronic standard transaction criteria and is able to handle the new ICD-10 codes? Shopping for an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system that includes a practice management component and will qualify for HITECH subsidies? The American Medical Association and… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania “QUICKSTEPS” Program to apply $10 Million in Federal Funds Toward Promotion of Pediatric EHR

Posted in Health IT

  Pennsylvania, get ready for another acronym: "QUICKSTEPS" (Quality Improvement and Care for Kids through Electronic Programs).  This is the state’s new five-year pediatric EMR initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, or CHIPRA. Using $10 million in federal grants, the state’s departments of Insurance… Continue Reading

Certifying EHRs for “Meaningful Use”

Posted in EHR and PHR, Health IT, Meaningful Use

On November 2, 2009, the Texas-based Drummond Group Inc. announced in a Press Release that it will submit to become a certifying body upon the release of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) requirements for certifying bodies for Electronic Health Records (EHR).  ONC is currently working on the scope and definition… Continue Reading

Governance Considerations from HIT for the Board and Other Hospital Stakeholders – The Need for an IT Champion to Serve as a Link between IT Personnel and Other Stakeholders – Installment 7

Posted in Governance Issues, Health IT

This is the seventh installment in a series of blog posts that relate to the governance concerns surrounding developments in HIPAA, HITECH and HIT. For a number of months this series has been emphasizing the importance of establishing a credible and knowledgeable liaison at the governing body and/or senior administrative level to articulate and educate… Continue Reading

Distressed Hospital Survival Through HIT?

Posted in Governance Issues, Health IT

[Installment 6 - Governance Considerations from HIT for the Board and Other Hospital Stakeholders] On August 4, 2009 the Associated Press reported at http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-08-04-electronic-medical-records_N.htm that Sac-Osage Hospital, a 47-bed hospital in rural western Missouri, “is borrowing nearly $1 million to pitch its paper medical charts and purchase a state-of-the-art electronic health records  [EHR] system. The… Continue Reading

A Little Intellectual Property 101 for HIT

Posted in Health IT

Introduction to Intellectual Property As my initial entry to this blog, I would like to provide a high-level overview of U.S. Intellectual Property ("IP”) law. This overview will provide background information on the various areas of IP. Future entries will consider how the various aspects of IP effect and are affected by HIPAA/HITECH and the electronic patient… Continue Reading

Joint Commission Throws “HIT’s” Weight In the Ring

Posted in Health IT

The Joint Commission released a Report today titled "Health Care at the Crossroads: Guiding Principles for the Development of the Hospital of the Future" that, among other things, emphasizes that health information technology ("HIT") will be key to hospitals’ viability in the future.  According to the Report, HIT will play a significant role in enhancing health care quality and safety.  More… Continue Reading

HIT Bills, Bills, and More Bills [*sic*]

Posted in Health IT

Health information technology (HIT) bills continue to abound in Congress.   Recently, House bill (HR 6898) was introduced by House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair Pete Stark, which includes proposed penalties for providers who do not adopt HIT by a certain date.  A similar House bill (HR 6357) was introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee… Continue Reading

Obama and McCain Support Health IT Adoption

Posted in Health IT

As Election Day rapidly approaches, I thought that it would be interesting to note the presidential candidates’ views on health information technology.  In short, both Barack Obama and John McCain appear to support and include health care IT adoption as a major part of their health care reform plans. I have visited and reviewed each candidates’ respective websites, and noted that McCain’s plan includes general… Continue Reading

Congressman Pete Stark’s un-”Health-e Technology Act”

Posted in Health IT

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Pete Stark introduced H.R. 6898 entitled the “Health-e Information Technology Act.”  Among other things, the Bill proposes the following action, which may not all be that particularly “healthy” for HIT adoption: Make the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) a permanent position that would manage the development, routine updating and dissemination of an open source… Continue Reading

CCHIT to Certify PHRs in 2009

Posted in Health IT

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) plans to certify personal health records (PHR) beginning in mid-2009.  Certification of PHR products would aim to ensure that records meet standards for patient privacy and security, as well as interoperability between providers.  CCHIT created a PHR Advisory Task Force to develop recommendations that the organization unanimously approved in… Continue Reading

Think Tank Thinks ONC’s Plan will Tank

Posted in Health IT

Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank published a "scathing critique of the government’s efforts to promote healthcare information technology," reports Healthcare IT News. In its August 2008 edition of Health Care News, Heartland’s analysts call the ONC- Coordinated Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan 2008-2012 "poorly conceived" and argue that "any plan for changing the healthcare system is… Continue Reading

Wikipedia for Health Care? It’s Coming . . .

Posted in Health IT

The Los Angeles Times reported today about MEDPEDIA.com,  the website currently being developed by Internet entrepreneurs, together with doctors, researchers, and other medical professionals in order to create what is hoped (by them) will be largest body of health information on the Internet.  The information being gathered for the website is of the nature typically confined to academic circles.  The team working… Continue Reading

$$$ Carrots (and Sticks) are Coming for Physicians to Adopt HIT

Posted in Health IT

In one of my earlier blog posts, I mentioned that carrots and sticks could be coming in connection with the adoption of health information technology.  Well, yesterday afternoon the Senate passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (H.R. 6331) which proposes that Medicare physicians who use e-prescribing technology would be eligible for incentive payments… Continue Reading

Horizon BC/BS Grants a Limited EHR Subsidy to New Jersey Health Care Providers

Posted in Health IT, New Jersey

Health Data Management reported yesterday that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will commit up to $500,000 to help select hospitals in its New Jersey network adopt electronic medication history technology.  This would give physicians real-time medication histories when patients check into a hospital or emergency department.  Under the program, Horizon will pay for… Continue Reading

ONC releases its Comprehensive HIT Plan

Posted in Health IT

Today, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a comprehensive Strategic Plan for advancing health information technology (HIT). The Strategic Plan is intended to serve as a guide to coordinate the federal government’s health IT efforts to achieve nationwide implementation of an interoperable health IT infrastructure throughout both the public and private sector. … Continue Reading