COVID-19

On September 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it issued guidance to clarify that the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prohibit businesses from asking customers, clients or employees to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status. OCR felt compelled to weigh in after chronic widespread ignorance of

On September 6, 2021, New York Governor Hochul announced that the New York Commissioner of Health had designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the New York HERO Act (the “HERO Act”). This new designation requires all New York employers to implement workplace

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $954 million to 1,292 community health centers across the U.S. for capital improvements. The funds, to be provided by HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Rescue Plan Act, will advance health equity initiatives in medically underserved communities.

HHS’s press release

On September 17, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced criminal charges against 138 defendants for alleged healthcare fraud schemes that resulted in $1.4 billion in losses. Those charged included 23 doctors, 19 nurses and other licensed professionals, and 96 laypeople, in 31 federal districts across the U.S.

Telehealth-related fraud accounted for about $1.1 billion

The Delta variant, which increased COVID cases and hospitalizations, also prompted new federal and local COVID rules and mandates, and required employers to revisit their existing COVID policies.

OSHA announced a new COVID Emergency Standard for health care employers to take effect in July 2021. This new Emergency Standard requires health care employers to address

An article in the August issue of Healthcare Risk Management, “Healthcare Employers Can Mandate Vaccines, but Some Caution Necessary,” discussed recent federal guidance and court decisions that allow hospitals and other healthcare employers to require COVID-19 vaccines for their employees. Rivkin Radler’s Brian Conneely was quoted in the article.

“Based on recent

The New York Department of Labor has issued Model Safety Plans and Standards for airborne infectious diseases. All employers, regardless of size and with a worksite in New York, must adopt a safety plan by August 5, 2021, and must post, distribute and include the plan in their handbooks to all employees and new hires

On May 26, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced criminal charges against 14 defendants in six states for participation in healthcare fraud schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coordinated takedown involved fraudulent claims for laboratory testing, telemedicine fraud, pharmacy fraud, payment of kickbacks for referrals, and alleged misappropriation of COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund

In an April 15 notice on its COVID-19 portal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) reminded healthcare providers that COVID-19 vaccines must be administered at no out-of-pocket cost to patients. OIG has received complaints from patients that their providers charged them for COVID-19 vaccines.

Under the Centers for

On April 6, Rivkin Radler’s Ben Malerba gave a presentation to members of the Coalition for Behavioral Health. The presentation was entitled “HIPAA in an Evolving Health Care Environment: Proposed Changes for 2021 and Response to COVID-19.”

The Coalition for Behavioral Health provides policy, advocacy, training and technical assistance to more than 100 community-based behavioral