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Press Release Mistake Leads to $2.4 Million HIPAA Penalty for Health System

On May 10, 2017, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced an agreement whereby Memorial Hermann Health System (“MHHS”) will pay a $2.4 million penalty for releasing a patient’s name in a press release.  According to the resolution agreement, in September 2015, a patient at an MHHS clinic presented … Continue Reading

Mealtime Waiver Decision is Good News for California Healthcare Employers Hungry for Clarity

In a rare move, the California Court of Appeal reversed itself and validated a California hospital’s policy of allowing healthcare workers to waive an otherwise mandatory second meal period on shifts longer than 12 hours.  In reversing itself, the California Court of Appeal in Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center (Gerard II) held that … Continue Reading

Stable or Fable: Will the Trump Administration Proposed Rule Save the Exchanges or Hasten Their Demise?

A proposed rule intended to stabilize the individual and small group insurance markets was issued on February 17, 2017, only a week after the Senate confirmed Tom Price as the Secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS).[1] Although the proposed rule is intended to stabilize these markets, it may make it more difficult for … Continue Reading

BRN Sunset Report Criticizes Enforcement Process, Treatment of Nurse-Midwives

The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) received a negative evaluation of its enforcement program in the most recent sunset review. The sunset review included a performance audit by the California State Auditor due to complaints received about the BRN’s enforcement process. 31 out of the 40 investigated consumer complaints between January 1, 2013 and … Continue Reading

What’s in Your Local Transportation Policy?

The Anti-Kickback Statute Those in the business of providing healthcare services to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries are all too familiar with the federal Anti-kickback Statute (AKS). Among other dreadful sanctions, it imposes criminal penalties on those individuals or entities that knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit, or receive remuneration in order to induce or reward … Continue Reading

MBC Disciplinary Guidelines Relieve Licensees of Onerous Probation Condition

(Updated March 11, 2017) On February 3, 2017, the Medical Board of California (MBC) published the much-anticipated 12th Edition of its Manual of Model Disciplinary Orders and Disciplinary Guidelines (Guidelines).  Drafts of this latest edition had been slugging through the approval process since mid-2015. The most notable modification is to Standard Condition #33 (Non-practice While … Continue Reading

Opthalmologists’ Group Boycott has the FTC Seeing Red

On January 19, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement which would resolve allegations that competing ophthalmologists violated federal antitrust laws when they refused to negotiate contracts with MCS Advantage, Inc. (MCS), a Medicare Advantage Plan, and Eye Management of Puerto Rico (Eye Management), MCS’s network administrator. According to the complaint, the charges arise … Continue Reading
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