Monday, December 13, 2010

Congress Determines Red Flags Rule Does Not Apply to Physicians

Both the House and Senate have passed the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010, which provides additional information on who is determined a "creditor" under the rules.

The rule clarifies the definition to state that a "creditor" does not include an entity that "advances funds on behalf of a person for expenses incidental to a service provided by the creditor to that person." This means that physicians and healthcare institutions are no longer held subject to the red flags rule.

The red flags rule would have required these entities to take precautionary measures to prevent identity theft. Groups such as the American Medical Association fought enforcement of the rule on healthcare providers, stating that the rule would be burdensome and redundant if enforced along with HIPAA protections.

The red flags rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 31, 2010.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

President's Advisory Council Releases Report on Health IT

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has released a report titled, "Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward." The report includes an assessment of the current health IT landscape as well as six major conclusions, which are:

  • HHS’s vigorous efforts have laid a foundation for progress in the adoption of electronic health records, including through projects launched by ONC, and through the issuance of the 2011 “meaningful use” rules under HITECH.

  • In analyzing the path forward, we conclude that achievement of the President’s goals requires significantly accelerated progress toward the robust exchange of health information.

  • National decisions can and should be made soon to establish a “universal exchange language” that enables health IT data to be shared across institutions; and also to create the infrastructure that allows physicians and patients to assemble a patient’s data across institutional boundaries, subject to strong, persistent, privacy safeguards and consistent with applicable patient privacy preferences. Federal leadership is needed to create this infrastructure.

  • Creating the required capabilities is technically feasible, as demonstrated by technology frameworks with demonstrated success in other sectors of the economy.

  • ONC should move rapidly to ensure the development of these capabilities; and ONC and CMS should focus meaningful use guidelines for 2013 and 2015 on the more comprehensive ability to exchange healthcare information.

  • Finally, as CMS leadership already understands, CMS will require major modernization and restructuring of its IT platforms and staff expertise to be able to engage in sophisticated exchange of health information and to drive major progress in health IT.

To read the full report, click here:

Article Highlights Legal Challenges to Health Care Law

The New York Times features an article on Ian Gershengorn, the Justice Department attorney in charge of defending the health reform law against states that are challenging it as unconstitutional. These states claim that Congress is overstepping its powers under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which allows Congress to regulate matters related to interstate trade and commerce.

To read the full article, click here: