Blog Posts: Healthcare
In data-breach class-action lawsuits, plaintiffs' biggest problem often is convincing the court that the unauthorized disclosure of their personal information caused some type of injury. Often they cannot and this leads the court to dismiss their case on the ground that plaintiffs lack standing to sue.
Omnicare — the nation’s largest pharmacy specializing in providing drugs to nursing-home patients — recently agreed to pay $120 million plus attorneys’ fees to settle allegations that it violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). The company was charged with engaging in illegal "swapping" arrangements by offering discounts and below-cost pricing on prescription drugs or supplies for Part A patients in nursing facilities in exchange for referrals of patients in the Medicare Part D prescription benefit program.
Medical records contain some of the most intimate details about a person’s life, from physical and mental health, social behaviors and personal relationships to financial status. Security breaches involving this information can result in damage ranging from social or psychological harm to financial repercussions such as loss of a job, health insurance or housing. The danger of identity theft always exists if such information falls into the wrong hands. Not surprisingly, medical privacy is a major concern for many Americans.
The Shadow, a noted 1930s radio show, asked “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” A slightly different question — Who knows what patient information lurks in the hearts of medical databases? — drives recent lawsuits brought under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA).
In his poem "The Waste Land," T.S. Eliot famously decided that April is the "cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land...."
It recently took a jury just five hours to return a $39.3 million verdict against Tuomey Healthcare System for billing Medicare for services provided under non-disclosed illegal referral agreements in violation of the Stark Law and the False Claims Act.
Pharmaceutical companies are preparing for unprecedented scrutiny as they begin collecting data on their payments to physicians and teaching hospitals for public disclosure. Collection began this month and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will publish data collected through December 2013 on its website in the fall of 2014, under the new Physician Payment Sunshine Act.
Employers have until October 1, 2013 to provide their employees with written notice of the existence of state-based health insurance exchanges and the manner in which the employees may contact an exchange to request information and assistance.
A health plan recently received a costly reminder that protected health information (PHI) may lurk in the hard drives of photocopiers and other office equipment. Earlier this month, Affinity Health Plan, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides healthcare coverage within the New York metropolitan area, agreed to a $1.2 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
The managed care company Wellpoint Inc. recently agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle allegations that it failed to properly safeguard electronic protected health information (ePHI) concerning 612,402 individuals.