HIPAA Enforcement: Did you know that the federal Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently settled a HIPAA enforcement action for $1,500,000 with a Massachusetts hospital? This occurred after the hospital reported to OCR that a thief had taken a hospital laptop containing unencrypted patient health information. OCR explained that it demanded such a large financial settlement due to a pattern of lax HIPAA compliance at the hospital, especially with regard to portable electronic devices containing patient data.
Billing & Coding: Did you know that the Department of Health & Human Services recently delayed to October 2014 (from October 2013) the implementation date of its regulation mandating that all health plans, health care providers, and health information clearinghouses engaging in electronic transactions, implement the tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) medical data coding regime? The Department said it was delaying the rule to give small providers time to integrate the new coding regime into their practices, noting that many providers were already burdened by the transition to electronic health records systems and lack the resources simultaneously to update staff and systems familiar with the long-established ICD-9 regime.