Mutual Matters

CMS Announces Plans for Interagency Group to Review Stark Law

Posted by Scott R. Grubman, Esq. on Jun 14, 2018 11:58:00 AM

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it was forming an interagency group to review potential changes to the federal Stark (or physician self-referral) Law. The federal Stark Law generally prohibits a physician from referring certain designated health services to an entity with which the physician, (or an immediate family member of the physician), has a financial relationship. 

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Topics: Licensure and Discipline

Top Five Termination Mistakes

Posted by Carrie Lowe, JD on Jun 12, 2018 12:02:00 PM

Employment discrimination legal claims remain high. Each year, nearly 100,000 charges of discrimination are filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to recent data, the median employment discrimination jury verdict is over $100,000, though that number does not include the amount of money the employer paid its own lawyers.

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Topics: Employment Issues and Workplace Management

Georgia Bans Handheld Devices While Driving

Posted by Todd Van Dyke on Jun 7, 2018 11:56:00 AM

By Todd Van Dyke and Mary Claire Smith

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Topics: Employment Issues and Workplace Management

Health Apps: Convenience vs. Security Risks

Posted by Christopher E. Hoyme on May 31, 2018 12:19:24 PM

The pace of innovation in healthcare today has produced an amazing increase in the number of available mobile apps for health-related information. More than 300,000 healthcare apps are available online. These apps are developed and designed to fit within the “connected health model” which attempts to provide flexible and efficient healthcare services by using connected technology that offers better communication, access and diagnostic capabilities. Many healthcare professionals use mobile apps for immediate communication with their patients and more responsive healthcare management. In a nutshell, there is a “mad dash” to address the demand of providing more “real time” health data. In response to this innovation, the question then becomes whether healthcare providers can tap into the available technology of “connectivity” and still protect health and personally identifiable information.

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Topics: HIPAA and Cybersecurity, Patient Care and Interaction

Human Trafficking: Resources to Help Recognize and Respond

Posted by Jordan Greenbaum, MD on May 24, 2018 11:47:33 AM

Human trafficking involves the engagement of a person in labor or sexual exploitation using force, fraud or coercion. It is a significant public health issue that is associated with numerous adverse physical and behavioral health effects. Research suggests that child and adult victims are likely to come into contact with healthcare professionals. In a recent study, almost 90% of sex trafficking survivors reported seeking medical services at some point during their victimization.[1]

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Topics: Patient Care and Interaction

State Data Breach Notification Laws: Overview of the Patchwork

Posted by Carrie Lowe, JD on May 18, 2018 3:10:14 PM

By Joseph J. Lazzarotti, Jason C. Gavejian and Maya Atrakchi

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Topics: HIPAA and Cybersecurity

Informed Consent is Not Just a Piece of Paper

Posted by Dana N. Taylor, MHA, CPHRM, CPPS on May 10, 2018 12:15:00 PM

For years you’ve been told that informed consent is a process, not just a piece of paper. That’s true, and now there’s increasing scrutiny of those forms by regulatory agencies. What we’ve found, as with many of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations, is that enforcement by state Department of Health investigators and review by The Joint Commission surveyors has been somewhat inconsistent. Interpretation of the regulations largely depends on the investigator’s or surveyor’s background. New Conditions of Participation (CoP) from CMS went into effect in 2007, but several hospitals and physician practices aren’t aware of all the changes.

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Topics: Patient Care and Interaction

Prescribing Controlled Substances in Georgia

Posted by Bill Kanich, MD on May 7, 2018 9:37:23 AM

When initially prescribing controlled substances , the physician must:

  • Obtain a medical history
  • Conduct a physical examination (in a documented emergency can prescribe an amount to cover less than 72 hours without the physical exam)
  • Obtain informed consent
  • Make a diligent effort to obtain prior diagnostic records related to the condition for which the controlled substances are being prescribed and prior pain treatment records and document such efforts (not applicable if the condition is terminal) 
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Topics: Patient Care and Interaction

Understanding Business Associate Relationships Key to Avoiding Liability

Posted by Emma Cecil, JD on Apr 27, 2018 1:15:00 PM

A series of recent enforcement actions confirms just how serious the government is about assessing monetary penalties against covered entities who disclose protected health information (PHI) to business associates without written business associate agreements (BAAs) in place.

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Topics: Contracts and Business Relationships

FAQs - Texting or Emailing Patients

Posted by Carrie Lowe, JD on Apr 12, 2018 11:58:00 AM

Can I text or email my patients?

Yes, healthcare providers can communicate with patients via text messages, but only if:

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Topics: Patient Care and Interaction

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As one of the leading mutual providers of Medical Professional Liability insurance, we're here to help all healthcare professionals with the challenges they face on a daily basis. The topics we cover include: 

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