OCR Bulletin: Ebola and HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a bulletin, HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations, reminding covered entities and their business associates that the protections of the HIPAA Privacy Rule are not set aside during an emergency.  OCR explains that Privacy Rule is balanced to ensure that appropriate use and disclosures of protected health information (PHI) may still be made when necessary to treat a patient, protect the nation’s public health, and for other critical purposes.  The bulletin further details the HIPAA Privacy Rule provisions which may allow covered entities and business associates to use or disclose PHI during an emergency.

Medicaid Settlement with DHH

But Why? The right to know why Medicaid denied your claim

A recently filed lawsuit, Wells v. Kliebert, Secretary of the Louisiana DHH, 3:14-cv-00155, will be changing the face of Medicaid denial notices. Wells was filed against the Louisiana Department of Health and Human services alleging that the DHH systematically failed to give adequate notice and explanations of why Medicaid claims were denied. The suit alleged the lack of reasoning for the denials was a violation of the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. After the suit was preliminary certified as a class action, DHH and the class discussed a settlement for the matter. On October 24, 2014, The Middle District of Louisiana entered an order certifying the class in the suit and partially dismissing the suit, conditioned on the parties’ compliance with their agreed upon settlement. Continue reading