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For the second time in as many years, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) entered into settlement agreements with and levied hefty fines on three hospitals that allegedly impermissibly disclosed patients’ protected health information to ABC News in the course of filming a television network documentary series.  OCR announced on September 20 that Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital each reached agreements with HHS…
In the face of the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) recently released two fact sheets to clarify how the requirements of 42 CFR Part 2 apply in different provider contexts, including via electronic health information exchange (“HIE”). The Part 2 regulations were initially promulgated in 1975 to ensure the confidential treatment of…
On February 13, 2018, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that the court appointed receiver of Filefax, an Illinois company that moved and stored medical records for covered entities before going out of business in 2016, has agreed to pay $100,000 out of a receivership estate to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.  According to the Resolution Agreement between HHS and the receiver for Filefax, OCR began investigating Filefax…
Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued two helpful new HIPAA guidance documents regarding research uses and disclosures of PHI, fulfilling a mandate in the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-255) (the “Act”).  Although the documents merely reaffirm prior guidance in many places, the documents also contain helpful new information and serve to collect prior guidance spread in numerous places into a single location.  The first
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) officially delayed the effective date of the controversial “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines” final rule by a full eight months to June 2, 2018 and temporarily reinstated the previous versions of the workplace examination rules – deemed 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002T and 30 C.F.R. § 57.18002T –  that were in effect as of October 1, 2017. The final rule was scheduled to go into effect in May of this…
On January 23, 2017, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published its long-awaited final rule regarding modified workplace examination requirements in non-coal mines.  The rule was originally scheduled to go into effect in May of this year, but implementation was delayed twice until October 2, 2017. Over the past several months, operators have been widely implementing organizational changes in preparation for the October 2 effective date of the new requirements; however, on September 12,…
In the final days of the Obama Administration, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released the much anticipated “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines” final rule amending 30 CFR Sections 56.18002 and 57.18002.  The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017 with an effective date of May 23, 2017 notwithstanding a broad regulatory freeze affecting all federal agencies issued on January 20, 2017 by President…
According to data released on October 11, 2016 by the US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the fiscal year of 2016 was the “safest year in mining history.” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Joseph A. Main, announced at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, West Virginia that between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016, the mining industry experienced a historic low of 24 deaths across the nation’s…
Congress is moving quickly on multiple fronts in response to the August 2015 spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Colorado.  Republicans in the House held a hearing on a package of mining reform bills proposed by Rep. Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Hice (R-GA), and Rep. Hardy (R-NV) that would, respectively, promote private sector remediation of abandoned mines and facilitate abandoned mine cleanup through an energy and mineral reclamation foundation, and redirect federal funding towards…
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is rolling out an aggressive fatality prevention initiative in response to a spike in fatalities at metal and non-metal (MNM) mines over the last sixteen months.  Since October 2013, 37 MNM miners have lost their lives, more than double the number of MNM fatalities in the previous three fiscal years combined. MSHA announced the initiative during two stakeholder conference calls last week and explained that the agency will…