Senate Democrats recently introduced the Stop Price Gouging Act

White, blank doctor's prescription pad with an orange prescription medication bottle lying on top of it with pills spilling out of the bottle. The bottle has a blank label on it. Tan colored pills lay on top of prescription. A large "RX" is at the top left corner of the page. Pharmacy, healthcare, drugs, medicine concepts. Desk, table, countertop.Senate Democrats recently introduced the Stop Price Gouging Act (S. 378), which seeks to place an excise tax on pharmaceutical companies in proportion to price spikes on prescription drugs.

The bill generally requires a company to justify to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) any spike in prescription drug prices, but it is short on details regarding the criteria the inspector general of DHHS would have to abide by when analyzing the spike.

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PE Investment in Physician Practice Management ‒ What’s to Come in 2019?

Private equity (PE) investors entered the physician practice management (PPM) market in 2011, and eight years later the PPM sector continues to be a ripe middle market for PE investors looking to diversify their portfolios. However, as the healthcare market continues to change in light of increasing vertical integration between payors and providers and disruption caused by new players such as Amazon, changes may be on the horizon for PE investment in the PPM space. Read more >>

The Use of Smart Speakers in Healthcare

Smart speaker on the table in the living room, 3D

Smart speakers are voice-activated, internet-connected devices with an integrated virtual assistant that can answer questions, follow instructions and control other smart devices. Nearly one in five U.S. adults has access to a smart speaker, and it has been estimated that in 2018, the number of smart speakers installed reached 100 million worldwide. Using voice recognition, a smart speaker’s virtual assistant can understand what is being said and act upon it. Once the system is activated, it records what is being said and sends it over the internet to the main processing service, which deciphers the speech and sends a response back to the smart speaker. Smart speakers can control other smart devices upon verbal command and perform tasks such as controlling music, lights, television and home security systems, as well as playing audible books.

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Provisioning Workforce Access to Electronic Protected Health Information: It May Be ‘Common Sense,’ but Is It Easy to Implement?

Secure and protected medical records. Bar code added to folder, not actual patient information. Concept image. Narrow depth of field.

In December 2018, Pagosa Springs Medical Center settled potential Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rule violations and entered into a corrective action plan with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The incident involved a former employee who continued to have remote access to Pagosa Springs Medical Center’s web-based scheduling calendar for two months after the employee’s termination, which resulted in 557 individuals’ electronic protected health information (ePHI) being improperly disclosed. Additionally, there was no business associate agreement between Pagosa Springs Medical Center and Google, the web-based scheduling calendar vendor. Pagosa Springs Medical Center, an 11-bed critical access hospital located in rural Colorado, paid $111,400 and entered into a two-year corrective action plan. The corrective action plan includes updates to Pagosa Springs Medical Center’s HIPAA security management, business associate agreement, and policies and procedures, as well as training its workforce in these areas.

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Physician Hospitalist Group Settles with OCR and Enters Into a Resolution Agreement for Failure to Have HIPAA Policies and Business Associate Agreement in Place

On Dec. 5, 2018, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Advanced Care Hospitalists PL (ACH) had entered into a $500,000 settlement and resolution agreement (RA) resulting from OCR’s investigation of ACH’s breach notification on April 11, 2014, and subsequent supplemental notification. On Feb. 11, 2014, ACH was initially notified by a local hospital that patient demographic and clinical information, including Social Security numbers, were viewable on the website of Doctor’s First Choice Billing Inc. (First Choice). On April 11, 2014, ACH initially notified 400 patients, and after further investigation, notified an additional 8,855 patients.

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Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

This week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update” includes the latest on a pending Senate vote on opioid legislation as Congress races to enact a response to the crisis before the November election; the Senate votes to expand Sunshine Act disclosure requirements; and a key House Republican backs requiring drug manufacturers to include prices in their ads; and more. (Note: Congress is in recess today and Tuesday in observance of Rosh Hashanah. The House and Senate will reconvene Wednesday for legislative business.)

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Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

This week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update” includes the latest on a series of healthcare bills scheduled for House votes, including one to repeal the medical device tax; Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins’ scheduled testimony on before a House committee; reaction from congressional leaders to the Trump administration’s plan to import drugs from other countries; and more.

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Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

HOUSE PANEL TO EXAMINE POTENTIAL CHANGES TO STARK LAW

Senior Health and Human Services (HHS) officials are scheduled to testify this week before a House subcommittee examining whether laws governing physician self-referral are an impediment to coordinated care.

HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and Deputy General Counsel Kelly Cleary are scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee.

Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has said the physician self-referral law, or “Stark Law,” impedes value-based reforms that reward better outcomes and higher-value care.

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Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

LAWMAKERS COOL TO TRUMP PLAN ON HHS, GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION

The response from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to the White House plan to reorganize the federal government – including proposed changes to multiple healthcare agencies – ranged from lukewarm to outright opposition.

President Donald J. Trump’s plan would rebrand Health and Human Services (HHS) as the “Department of Health and Public Welfare.” It would consolidate certain welfare and nutrition assistance programs, now run by the Agriculture Department, into the new department.

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Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

HOUSE OKs DOZENS OF OPIOID-RELATED BILLS; MORE VOTES SCHEDULED

The House last week approved 38 bills that lawmakers hope will stem the opioid epidemic, and it scheduled votes this week on at least a dozen more.

Most bills were noncontroversial, and others thought to be contentious – like giving the Postal Service more tools to track foreign mail shipments into the United States – easily won House approval.

House Republicans plan more votes on opioid bills this week. Then GOP leaders will package the individual bills into one comprehensive measure to send to the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee last week approved a combined package with 22 provisions that aim to crack down on opioid abuse and expand access to treatment. The bill would expand telehealth coverage, standardize electronic prior authorizations and remove Medicaid lifetime limits for substance abuse treatment.

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