On April 21, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced that, as a response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, it will exercise enforcement discretion to “permit compliance flexibilities” regarding the implementation of the interoperability final rules issued on March 9th, 2020.  This joint announcement was made by the Office of the

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has transitioned the telehealth debate from a matter of access, convenience, and cost-saving to a matter of absolute necessity on a large scale. A variety of barriers have traditionally stood in the way of broader adoption of telehealth including a lack of reimbursement by both state and private insurance, restrictions

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have ramped up efforts to subsidize the provision of the telecommunications and broadband services necessary to deliver telehealth solutions. This includes steps to make it easier for eligible health care providers to secure funding under the FCC’s existing Rural Healthcare (RHC) program,

On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a Notification of Enforcement Discretion (the “Notification”) regarding the disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) to public health authorities and use of PHI to perform analytics for such authorities.  Designed to “facilitate uses and disclosures for public health and health oversight activities during this nationwide public health emergency,” the Notification relaxes HHS’s enforcement of certain provisions of the Privacy Rule issued  under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).  More specifically, the Notification announces that, under certain circumstances, HHS will not impose penalties for violations of such provisions against covered health care providers and their business associates for the use and disclosure of PHI “by business associates for public health and health oversight activities” in connection with the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
Continue Reading HHS Seeks to Facilitate Certain Uses and Disclosures of Health Data to Public Health and Health Oversight Agencies Amidst COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

Last week, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Protecting Personal Health Data Act (S. 1842), which would provide new privacy and security rules from the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) for technologies that collect personal health data, such as wearable fitness trackers, social-media sites focused on health

China continues to advance policy supporting e-healthcare services and resources.  On September 14, 2018, National Health Commission (“NHC”) and the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (“NATCM”) publicly released three new rules on internet based medical services and telemedicine.  These rules cover the areas of e-diagnosis (“e-Diagnostic Rules”), internet-based hospitals (“e-Hospital Rules”) and telemedicine services (“Telemedicine Service Standard”) (collectively “e-Healthcare Rules”).[1]

Although the government issued a draft of these rules in 2017, the final e-Healthcare Rules appear to have been prompted by the Opinion on Improving the Development of “e-healthcare” Industry (“Opinion”) issued by China’s chief executive branch, the State Council on April 25, 2018.  That Opinion requires enhancement and improvement of e-health services (including the application of artificial intelligence in the diagnostic process).

This blog entry focuses on key features of the e-Healthcare Rules.


Continue Reading China Expands Regulations on e-Healthcare Issues

Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA), which incorporates provisions from the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 and improves access to telehealth services in Medicare Advantage. Pub. L. No. 115-123. Among other provisions impacting Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs), the BBA authorizes MAOs to offer additional telehealth benefits as basic benefits beyond original Medicare (Part A and Part B) limitations. Id. at Div. E., Title III, Subtitle C, § 50323.

Continue Reading Medicare Advantage Organizations Provided New Opportunities to Offer Telehealth Benefits

Today, as expected, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted an order repealing the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules and changing the legal framework that governs Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”). The vote split along party lines, with the agency’s three Republicans voting in favor and its two Democrats dissenting.

Once today’s order goes into effect,

On May 11, 2017, the European Cloud in Health Advisory Council (ECHAC) – a group of healthcare organizations, technology companies and patient representatives  –  launched its second whitepaper focused on use of data to improve health outcomes and delivery of care.

ECHAC launched the whitepaper at an eHealth Week 2017 session attended by ECHAC participants

Last week, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced new legislation to test expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services.  The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow selected, eligible hospitals to offer telehealth services in cooperation with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation