Wyatt HITECH Law

A Blog About Health Information Technology, Privacy & Security Developments

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Recent OIG Studies Recommend Tighter Enforcement of the Privacy and Security Rules

By Margaret Young Levi

The U.S. Department for Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) has conducted two recent studies calling for tighter enforcement of the Privacy and Security Rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

OCR Should Strengthen Its Oversight of Covered Entities’
Compliance With the HIPAA Privacy Standards

In the first study, the OIG recommends that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the government agency responsible for enforcing covered entities’ compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Standards, should strengthen its oversight of these privacy standards. The OIG reviewed a statistical sample of privacy cases investigated by the OCR from September 2009 through March 2011, surveyed and interviewed OCR staff, reviewed the OCR’s investigation policies, and surveyed providers’ compliance with five selected privacy standards.

Based upon this review, the OIG concluded that OCR should strengthen its oversight of covered entities’ compliance with the Privacy Rule. It criticized the OCR’s oversight as “primarily reactive” and suggested they be more Continue reading

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Stages 1, 2, And Now 3, Meaningful Use Criteria

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) proposed Meaningful Use criteria to implement Stage 3 and allow eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (“CAHs”) to qualify for incentive payments (or avoid downward payment adjustments) under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program implemented by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act of 2009. stethoscope, keyboardThen CMS made changes to Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria to better align with the proposed Stage 3 criteria just two weeks later.

On March 30, 2015, CMS published a long-awaited proposed rule which, if finalized, would implement Stage 3, making changes to the objectives and measures of meaningful use for providers effective in Continue reading

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April 1 Deadline for Hospitals to Earn EHR Incentives

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reminds hospitals that 2015 is the last year for eligible hospitals to begin participating in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program and earn incentive payments.

In order to earn a 2015 incentive payment, be eligible for a 2016 incentive payment, and avoid a 2016 payment reduction (called an “adjustment”), first-time hospital participants should:

  • Begin their 90-day reporting period no later than April 1, 2015 and
  • Attest by July 1, 2015.

Eligible hospitals that do not start their 90-day reporting period on April 1, 2015 have one last chance to earn a 2015 incentive payment if they begin their reporting period by July 1, 2015 and attest by Continue reading


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