Lawrence J. Tabas, Esq.

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Cybersecurity and data breaches have been in public spotlight in the past several years as a result of recurring cyber-attacks on numerous organizations, business, its customers and communities in general. Media have been actively discussing cybersecurity trends and looking at the rise of identity technologies and web intelligence. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, more than 170 million American health records have been exposed since 2009. Such…
Providers participating in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program now have an additional thirteen days to register and attest to meeting the meaningful use requirements for 2016. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has extended the reporting deadline until March 13, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. ET. This extension is intended to allow providers additional time to attest to the 2016 program requirements and avoid a 2018 payment adjustment.…
The failure to timely report a breach of unsecured protected health information (PHI) has cost Presence Health (one of the largest health systems in Illinois) almost half of a million dollars. Earlier this month, Presence Health agreed to pay $475,000 and enter into a corrective action plan (CAP) with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) based upon its failure to timely report a data breach in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act…
In today’s busy world, convenience is a prized commodity. From pre-ordering and paying online for your favorite Starbucks drink to pulling up instantaneous directions on Google Maps, people value solutions that save time and make their lives easier. This trend carries over into the health care industry; most notably in the increasing popularity of urgent care centers. Since health insurance companies, like Independence Blue Cross, began to cover the health care provided at these clinics,…
One of the fastest growing areas of cybercrime is ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts data and makes it inaccessible to authorized users. The hackers who orchestrate ransomware attacks demand that authorized users pay a ransom in order to obtain the key to decrypt their data. Payment is generally required to be paid in bitcoin (or other forms of cryptocurrency) in order to maintain anonymity. In an effort to combat the…
Question: Can a Pennsylvania prison forcibly administer a psychotropic medication to an inmate against the inmate’s will? Answer: In Pennsylvania, a prison’s ability to forcibly medicate an inmate with a psychotropic drug depends upon the circumstances and whether the circumstances constitute an extreme emergency. However, in the majority of cases, prisons must follow a formal procedure before medication can be administered against an inmate’s will.…
By August 1, 2016, all federal agencies must adjust their civil monetary penalties, including penalties required by the False Claims Act (“FCA”), to account for inflation. Last month, the Railroad Retirement Board, which occasionally has FCA cases, became the first agency to adjust its penalties. These adjustments are in response to Congress’s Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (“Act”), which requires federal agencies to update their civil monetary penalties to account for inflation, including a cost-of-living…
OCR has announced several recent settlement agreements to resolve violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). These settlement amounts range from $25,000 to $3.9 million dollars and illustrate a range of mistakes that health care providers make with respect to their HIPAA compliance. This post briefly summarizes OCR’s findings with respect to each settlement agreement. Based on OCR’s findings, the Health Law Gurus provide steps that your organization can take to reduce…
The Health Law Gurus™ are here to help you stay current on issues and breaking news in health law. To help you stay up-to-date, we are excited to announce our new segment, “Ask the Health Law Gurus™.” Each month, we will select a reader’s question and answer it here, on the Health Law Gurus™ blog. In response to our last blog post, “Historic Moment: Husband Reports Wife’s HIPAA Violation Triggering Six Figure Penalty Against