The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently proposed two new rules designed to increase patient and provider access to health records. As stated by HHS in its press release, the proposed rules “will support seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information.” These proposed rules stem from two separate components within HHS – the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The rules have much in common, with both sharing the same goal of increased health information interoperability in order to improve access to, and the quality of, health information.
In November 2018, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking at the AHLA Fundamentals of Health Law program in Chicago. This is a conference that is designed for attorneys (and others) who are relatively new to health law. I spoke on the exciting topic of “Medicare Parts A and B.”
As I prepared for this session, the first thought I had was that it was too hard a topic, even though I have been working with Medicare issues for more than 30 years. And then I wondered if I could possibly do credit to the topic in the time allotted. Medicare is a program that has been in place since 1965 but continually evolving, seemingly at warp speed, since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.
Virginia lawmakers have taken new steps to expand the use of remote patient monitoring among the State’s residents, with both the House and Senate unanimously passing bipartisan legislation ensuring that commercial health plans will cover remote patient monitoring services. The bill now heads to the office of Governor Ralph Northam for signature.
Last week, the federal HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) gave the greenlight to allow a virtual care company and pharmaceutical manufacturer to loan patients free smartphones, so the patients (which include Medicare beneficiaries) could use the smartphones to track their drug therapy adherence via a mobile digital health app. The OIG’s recent Advisory Opinion marks the sixth favorable telemedicine/digital health advisory opinion issued by OIG to date. This article describes the drug and digital health technology, outlines the proposed program for free smartphones, and explains why OIG issued a favorable advisory opinion.
On January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down a key ruling that will make it significantly easier for consumers and workers to sue and recover damages for mere non-compliance with the requirements of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. (BIPA or Act). In its highly anticipated decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., the state’s high court unanimously held that actual harm is not required to bring an actionable claim under BIPA, and that a violation of BIPA’s technical requirements alone can support a cause of action under the Act. Thus, an individual who merely alleges a technical violation of BIPA is sufficiently “aggrieved” under the Act—with statutory standing to sue for significant statutory damages and injunctive relief—even if that person suffered no actual injury or harm as a result of the violation.