Entries by Jennifer Snow

$2.5M settlement shows that not understanding HIPAA requirements creates financial risk

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently announced a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) settlement based on the impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information (ePHI).  In 2012, CardioNet, a company that remotely monitors patients at risk for cardiac arrhythmias, reported to the HHS Office […]

Physician non-competition agreements

Many people erroneously believe that non-competes are not enforceable against physicians in Texas.  To the contrary, non-competes that are ancillary to or part of otherwise enforceable contracts generally are enforceable, provided that they meet certain statutory requirements.  For example, these covenants must contain reasonable limitations as to time, geographical area, and scope of activity to […]

Corporate practice of medicine

Texas law generally prohibits the practice of medicine by any corporation, entity, or non-physician individual.  The “corporate practice of medicine” doctrine forbids a physician from entering into an agreement with a non-physician under which the non-physician would in any way control the physician’s medical practice.  Based on this doctrine, non-physician individuals and entities generally cannot […]

HIPAA and business associates

HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates are facing increased obligations to securely maintain and handle protected health information.A health care entity subject to HIPAA rules must ensure that its contracts with a business associate that may receive protected health information include statutorily required assurances that the business associate will appropriately safeguard the information. That is, in a vendor […]

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA, HITECH, and state laws all impact the responsibilities of health care providers and their business associates regarding the treatment and disclosure of confidential medical and health records. HIPAA, HITECH, and state laws all impact the responsibilities of health care providers and their business associates regarding the treatment and disclosure of confidential medical and health […]

HIPAA violation creates lawsuit claim

While HIPAA does not in and of itself create a private cause of action, a growing body of cases in both federal and state courts outside of Texas suggests that a HIPAA violation causing clear harm to a plaintiff may support a lawsuit by providing grounds for some other private claim.  Plaintiffs who have shown […]

Affordable Care Act employer information

The Affordable Care Act is a federal statute that creates new responsibilities for employers.  Employers who have fewer than 25 “full-time equivalent” employees can qualify for a small business health care tax credit if they pay at least 50% of the employees’ health insurance premium costs and offer coverage through the Small Business Health Options […]

What Is the Stark Law?

Federal Stark law applies alongside anti-kickback law to create strict civil penalties for any physician who makes a “self-referral.”  Specifically, the law bars a physician from referring a Medicare or Medicaid patient to receive any designated health care service from any person or entity with which the physician has a financial relationship.  This relationship could […]

What Is the “Anti-Kickback” Statute?

Physicians and health care other providers face numerous prohibitions against self-referrals and against making referrals in exchange for remuneration.  The federal Anti-Kickback Statute is a criminal law that prohibits the knowing and willful payment of remuneration in exchange for referrals of services payable by federal health programs, which include health care services for Medicare or […]