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Posts Tagged ‘healthcare risk management’

Message sent and received: First HIPAA settlement involving a business associate – a cautionary tale

obamacare_repealThe math is eye-opening — a $650,000 settlement for breach affecting 412 people. In the first HIPAA settlement involving a “business associate,” HHS’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has sent a strong message to all business associates about the importance of complying with HIPAA’s privacy and security rules.

Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), a non-profit organization that provides management and information technology services to skilled nursing facilities, is a business associate under HIPAA because performed certain services using protected health information (PHI) on behalf of a HIPAA “covered entity” (a description of covered entities is here and a description of business associates is here). In 2014 a smartphone provided by CHCS to an employee was stolen. The smartphone had PHI of 412 patients and was neither encrypted nor password-protected. Read more…

Zika threat continues to rise

April 20, 2016 Leave a comment

ZIKAVIRUSWith the warm weather approaching, many people are thinking of summer vacations and shedding the winter clothes. However, with the changing seasons comes the threat of bugs and the viruses they carry. As we previously discussed on our blog, Zika Virus is the threat of the year and does not appear to be going anywhere due to the lack of knowledge surrounding the virus.

According to the CDC, there are currently 358 confirmed cases of Zika Virus in the United States, but it’s important to note that 351 of these are from those who have traveled to other countries where the virus lives, and only 7 are due to sexual transmission. The biggest concern for the CDC is the transmission of the disease from one person to another. Women who have been in an infected area are told to wait 8 weeks before trying to conceive; while men are told to wait 6 months, as the virus has been noted to last even longer in their bodies. The transmission of the disease between partners and to an unborn child is a significant scare due to the lack of preparation against the disease.

Read more…

Insurer steps into drug pricing controversy

November 9, 2015 Leave a comment

lawsuitInsurance will play a huge role in the developing drug pricing controversy.  Healthcare commentator, Ezekial Emanual, opined in yesterday’s New York Times that new drugs, particularly PCSK9 inhibitors for cholesterol control, are entering the market at prices well above their utility as measured by the extremely clinical, but widely used,  “Quality-adjusted Life Years” measure.  Now, of course, Amgen (a PCSK9 maker) may not agree with Emanuel’s calculations and that represents just one of the problems.

Emanuel fairly raises the question of whether the drug/healthcare industry will self-regulate the issue.  The alternative, “death panels” from the government, are highly unlikely based on prior debates.  Read more…

Subtle change in PA law has big potential for professional liability market

opEd-obamacareA recent bill signed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will allow a group of medical professional liability insurers to convert from reciprocal exchanges, to stock companies after final approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. This change in the law will affect the future landscape of medical malpractice insurance in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as House Bill No. 159 by several Republican members of the Pennsylvania House, the law affects several malpractice carriers that were started shortly after the last significant “medical malpractice crisis” that happened around the turn of the century. Four of the more prominent members of this “class”, Healthcare Providers Insurance Exchange (“HPIX”), Professional Casualty Association (“PCA”), Positive Physicians Insurance Exchange (“PPIE”) and Physicians’ Insurance Program Exchange (‘PIPE”) would all potentially benefit from this new law. The goal of the legislation is to allow these insurers to convert their legal status to a stock company and, as a result, potentially gain access to new capital and expand their operations. However, this all comes with certain requirements and limitations. Read more…

Takeda Pharmaceutical agrees to settlement concerning diabetes drug Actos

gavel_pillsOn Tuesday April 28, Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical agreed to a $2.4 billion settlement involving thousands of lawsuits from patients and their family members claiming that the company’s diabetes drug Actos was responsible for causing bladder cancer. Takeda stated that this settlement would resolve the majority of product-liability lawsuits linked to Actos, but a $2.7 billion charge against earnings will be necessary to cover the settlement and costs for defending the outstanding cases.

Takeda, however, did not admit liability. The company’s reason for settling was to “reduce the uncertainties of complex litigation,” and stated that the claims brought forth in the lawsuit were without merit. Takeda also added that Actos’ benefits offset any risks caused by the drug, which is sold in the United States and other countries. Read more…

Mental health care in the workplace & how employers can help

emp_talkingIn the wake of the devastating tragedy in the French Alps this month where one man’s struggle with depression brought down a 144-passenger Germanwings plane, concerns and questions arise across all industries about measures companies can take to manage the mental health of their employees. In situations where the employee’s mental instability threatens the safety of others, as in the Lufthansa crash, the employer could face unlimited liability.

According to research by All One Health, in any given year, nearly 30 million American adults suffer from depression and twice that many from anxiety disorders. These numbers are costing U.S. employers billions of dollars per year in lost productivity. Read more…

Rising healthcare industry brings stand-alone tail coverage to mind

March 19, 2015 Leave a comment

money_healthWhile technology, energy and other industry sectors often capture the headlines in the financial press and in the media, health care companies are a major economic force within the U.S. economy and growing. According to The World Bank, health care spending between 2010 and 2014 accounted for nearly 18% of U.S. GDP. This number is only expected to grow in the decade ahead. While some have argued that the PPACA will slow this trend, I find little evidence that it will do so in any meaningful fashion. All of this means that health care dollars spent in the U.S. will claim an increasing portion of our GDP. Read more…