HHS Releases New Requirements Related to Surprise Billing

On July 1, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an interim final rule that aims to give patients additional protections from surprise medical bills. Specifically, the interim rule established protections from “surprise billing and excessive cost-sharing” for consumers receiving health care items and services. It also prohibits out-of-network charges for ancillary services without advance notice. The initial round of regulations applies to group health plans, health insurance issuers, health care providers and facilities, air ambulance services, among others. Most of the consumer protections included in the interim final rule take effect on January 1, 2022.

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LDH Licensing “Express Lane” Coming Soon

Hospitals and other healthcare providers may soon find relief from the long licensing wait times.  Effective May 15, 2018, the Governor signed into law House Bill 539 (Act No. 324) which authorizes the Louisiana Department of Health (“LDH”) to establish an expedited licensing process for healthcare facilities and providers that LDH licenses.  Getting in the “express lane” will not be cheap, however.  LDH may assess fees for the expedited licensing process up to $7,500. Continue reading

OCR Phase 2 HIPAA Audits Have Begun: Are you Ready?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has started a second phase of audits for compliance with HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Standards. The OCR has previously conducted an audit pilot phase and Phase 1 audits of HIPAA covered entities (i.e., healthcare providers, clearinghouses, and health plans). In this Phase 2 of the HIPAA audits, OCR will audit both covered entities and their business associates. Continue reading