Archives: Healthcare

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House Pushes OSHA to Create a Standard Concerning Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Sector

Members of the House of Representatives recently introduced legislation that would require the Department of Labor to promulgate a standard addressing workplace violence in the healthcare and social service industries. Under the bill, the standard would need to include requirements for employers in the healthcare and social service industries to develop comprehensive plans protecting workers … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment in Hospitals: Interns, Residents, Students, Attending Physicians: How to Navigate a Troublesome Problem Among a Diverse Workforce

Much has been written lately about the #MeToo movement and its presence in workplaces as diverse as universities, movie and TV studios. Hospitals are no exception. Savvy employers know that hospitals—large facilities that employ people of all educational backgrounds, races, religions, sexual orientations, ages, and more—can be ground zero for sexual harassment at any time. … Continue Reading

HIPAA Penalties Change Under HHS Notice of Enforcement Discretion

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a notification of enforcement discretion changing its interpretation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 resulting in a reduction in the amount of the cumulative annual penalty limit for violations of HIPAA. Our colleagues in the Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity … Continue Reading

Considerations for an Aging Physician Policy

Aging is inevitable. As the general population trends older, so do the physicians providing care across the United States. While data differs depending on the source, somewhere between one in three and one in four practicing physicians are over the age of 65, with this percentage rising even higher in many specialties. With this aging … Continue Reading

Small Michigan Medical Practice to Close Following Ransomware Attack

Small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) continue to be targeted by ransomware, phishing and other cyberattacks; the consequences of which could be devastating. Those consequences include putting SMEs out of business, which is unfortunately the case for one small medical practice in Battle Creek, Michigan, as reported by HIPAAJournal. Our colleagues in the Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity … Continue Reading

Just Culture–What Is It and Can It Minimize Patient Harm and Promote a Positive Workplace Culture?

Healthcare employers, along with other high-risk industries, continually look for ways to minimize risk and to promote a positive work culture for employees. One approach is the implementation of a “just culture” framework. In essence, “just culture” is a shared accountability methodology. In a “just culture” framework, both employers and employees are responsible for their … Continue Reading

Large Health Systems’ CEOs Predict Less Mergers, Continued High Demand for Employees in 2019

On February 23, 2019, Modern Healthcare reported key takeaways from its “CEO Power Panel.” Of the 24 CEOs who completed the survey, only three (12.5 percent) responded that mergers and acquisitions “will be their primary growth strategy in 2019,” down from 25.8 percent of respondents in 2018. CEOs questioned whether organizations achieved any actual value … Continue Reading

Healthcare Whistleblowers Collecting Under The FCA Even Where There Are No Fraudulent Billings: What Is An Employer To Do?

The Department of Justice recently reported that the healthcare industry accounted for $2.5 billion of the $2.8 billion dollars it recovered in False Claims Act (FCA) cases in Fiscal Year 2018. Qui tam actions (FCA claims brought by private individuals on behalf of the government) allow whistleblowers to receive up to 30 percent of the … Continue Reading

February Forecast for Healthcare Employers: Expect Flurry of FLSA Wage and Hour Suits

Healthcare employers can expect the rise of class action lawsuits to continue, as 2019 has seen a steady influx of class actions against healthcare employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and various state wage-and-hour counterparts. A hospital system is defending a class action suit filed by nurses in Oregon alleging that they were … Continue Reading

Protected Concerted Activity: Healthcare Employers Should Remain Wary Despite Narrowing Labor Board Standard

In a decision that affects both union and non-union employers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) has taken what is likely the first step toward reining in the expanded scope of what the Obama-era Board considered “protected, concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In Alstate Maintenance, the NLRB overturned its … Continue Reading

Healthcare Lawyers Meeting Highlights Need for a Coordinated Approach to Preventing Sexual Harassment in Hospitals

Speakers at the 2019 American Health Lawyers Association’s Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute repeatedly emphasized the importance of a coordinated approach to preventing harassment in hospitals. Programs at the conference reviewed the history of the #MeToo movement and its effect on hospitals and the healthcare field generally. One speaker cited Medscape’s Sexual Harassment of Physicians … Continue Reading

NPDB Guidebook Update: Does Your Institution Know What’s Reportable?

Title IV of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA), created the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The NPDB is a national clearinghouse and repository of information on medical malpractice payments and adverse actions taken against licensed healthcare providers. Hospitals and health systems with formal peer review are among the entities required to … Continue Reading

A Trio of OCR HIPAA Breach Resolutions: Is Your Organization HIPAA Compliant?

Over the past thirty days, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has reached three HIPAA breach resolutions, signaling to organizations that are covered entities and business associates under HIPAA, the importance of instituting basic best practices for data breach prevention and response. Our colleagues in the Workplace Privacy, Data Management & Security practice group discusses … Continue Reading

Illinois Hospitals to Face Requirements Designed to Reduce Violence Against Nurses

The Illinois Health Care Violence Prevention Act mandates hospitals and other healthcare providers to comply with requirements aimed at protecting their workers from violence. Beginning January 1, 2019, healthcare providers in Illinois will need to implement specific violence-prevention policies outlined in the Act (Public Act 100-1051). Our Workplace Safety and Health colleagues offer details on … Continue Reading

One Solution to the Healthcare Talent Shortage Problem

Much has been written in recent years about the escalating talent shortage in the healthcare industry. According to a recent survey, the talent shortage is among the top issues for more than 90 percent of U.S. hospital executives (Economist Intelligence Unit, (http://healthcare.prudentialretirement.com/survey-highlights.php). The Association of American Medical Colleges forecasts a gap of between 40,000 and … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor’s Investigation of Arizona Hospital Highlights Need for Awareness of Workplace Lactation Accommodation Laws and Policies

As the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), a hospital in Arizona was recently ordered to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirement that employers must provide nursing mothers adequate time and space to express breast milk. The WHD announced on December 11 that … Continue Reading

‘Tis the Season for Budget Negotiations: What is the Potential Impact of Another Government Shutdown on Healthcare?

With less than a week left on the December 21st deadline to reach a spending deal and avoid another government shutdown, tensions are high in Washington D.C. On Tuesday, President Trump stated he would refuse to sign a spending bill that did not contain a $5 billion allocation for a border wall.  It is questionable, … Continue Reading

Developing Best Practices for Addressing Workplace Violence in the Homecare and Assisted Living Settings

In the wake of a recent uptick in workplace violence based lawsuits against home care and assisted living providers, lawmakers introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 16th that would require health care and social services providers to write and implement workplace violence prevention plans. If signed into law, H.R. 7141—the … Continue Reading

Seven Fundamental Elements of an Effective Compliance Program

The American Health Lawyers Association’s Fundamentals of Health Law program held on November 11-13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois centered on key health law topics and emerging trends in health care. One focus of the program was the need for healthcare organizations to promote a culture of compliance, which includes implementing an effective compliance program. A … Continue Reading

Is your e-PHI Secure? ONC and OCR Update HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool

October 2018 marks the 15th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In honor of this occasion, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have jointly launched an updated HIPAA Security Risk Assessment (SRA) Tool to help covered entities and business associates comply with … Continue Reading

“Doc, mind if I record this?” – Recording Visits Between Patients and Medical Providers

In today’s world, people are accustomed to accessing endless information with their mobile phone. Accessibility to their own conversations regarding their health may not be any different. What happens when a patient wants to use this technology to preserve his or her access to medical information by recording their medical appointment? A recent study by … Continue Reading

New York State Enacted Budget Includes New Limits, Mandates for Licensed Home Care Services Agencies

The 2018-2019 New York State Budget seeks to advance the state’s strategic policies of encouraging the merger of existing Licensed Home Care Services Agencies (LHCSAs), reducing the number of new LHCSA providers entering the marketplace, and providing more state control over existing LHCSAs. Our colleagues in the Health Law and Transactions team provide details on … Continue Reading

Class Certification Denied in Physician Equal Pay Lawsuit Under a Blanket Compensation Plan

An Illinois District Court recently denied certification of a class of female physicians claiming that their employer’s pay practices unlawfully discriminated against women in violation of Title VII, the Illinois Equal Pay Act, and the Illinois Civil Rights Act (Ahad v. Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University). Plaintiff alleged that the implementation of the … Continue Reading
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