Attorneys advise caution with telehealth, remote billing | Law enforcement group: Fake CDC emails deliver malware | Colo. mental health clinic discloses data breach
April 9, 2020
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Attorneys advise caution with telehealth, remote billing
(Alexander Nemenov/Getty Images)
The HHS Office for Civil Rights has suspended enforcement of rules prohibiting the use of video and audio technology that isn't HIPAA compliant, but health care providers using such technology should still be cautious and avoid public-facing platforms like Facebook Live and TikTok, says health care attorney Michele Madison. Business associates of HIPAA-covered entities have also been granted regulatory relief during the coronavirus pandemic, which might make it easier for billing and other support personnel to work from home, but attorneys Alissa Smith and Kelli Fleming say practices should take precautions with those arrangements as well.
Full Story: Physicians Practice (4/8) 
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EHR & CLINICAL CARE
The National Sheriffs' Association has issued an alert about fake emails from the CDC that contain ransomware or other malware. The bogus emails are being investigated by the FBI.
Full Story: KTAL-TV/KMSS-TV/KSHV-TV (Texarkana, Texas/Shreveport, La.) (4/8) 
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A folder that contained protected health information was found in January on a shared internal drive at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, and steps have been taken to curb risks, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services. The information in the folder was not accessible to the public, but unauthorized staff would have had access, and people whose information might have been compromised are being informed.
Full Story: The Pueblo Chieftain (Colo.) (4/8) 
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TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
Tyto Care, a startup telehealth medical diagnostic and examination platform, raised $50 million in a funding round that included an investment from Qualcomm Ventures. With the new capital, the company plans to expand in the US, Europe and Asia and develop artificial intelligence and machine learning-driven diagnostic services.
Full Story: VentureBeat (4/7) 
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LEGISLATIVE & REGULATORY
The CDC has released new guidelines on essential workers who have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus. The recommendations include taking daily temperatures, increasing air exchange in buildings where these employees work and increasing cleaning efforts.
Full Story: National Public Radio (4/8) 
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Nebraska's HHS and local public health departments may now disclose patients' personal health information if they believe doing so is in the public interest, under an executive order issued by Gov. Pete Ricketts. The order is effective immediately, and the health department will develop guidance for minimizing the use and disclosure of PHI.
Full Story: WOWT-TV (Omaha, Neb.) (4/8) 
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PATIENT ADVOCACY
Some physicians are avoiding the use of ventilators for COVID-19 patients as long as possible following reports that patients on the breathing machines have unusually high fatality rates. Experts worry that ventilation might make matters worse for certain patients, so some are trying other measures first such as positioning patients to improve aeration in different parts of the lungs, using nose tubes and other devices to give more oxygen to patients, and adding nitric oxide in an effort to improve oxygen and blood flow.
Full Story: The Associated Press (4/8) 
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BIG DATA & ANALYTICS
Small details add up to big data for tracking COVID-19
(CDC)
Scientists in Germany tracked down small details to trace the spread of COVID-19 from an employee at an auto parts manufacturer's headquarters near Munich. That meticulous detective work enabled the German health ministry to launch an information campaign and a testing strategy that scientists say saved lives.
Full Story: Reuters (4/9) 
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News from AHIMA
In March, for the first time since 2016, the ECRI Institute placed "patient matching in EHRs" on its top 10 list of patient safety concerns. Read this article in the Journal of AHIMA article to learn more about how the ECRI Institute creates the list and its decision to include patient matching.
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With ransomware affecting healthcare facilities, AHIMA is offering a package of webinars that help HIM professionals address the most common areas of cyberrisk and the key components of a cyberinsurance policy. The webinars also explore HR issues related to the risks of offshoring data functions, the impact disgruntled or rogue employees can have, and much more. Learn more and purchase today.
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COVID-19 has affected our lives in ways we could not have foreseen. The AHIMA Foundation's HIRO Fund is here to support health information workers and those affected by the pandemic -- because we're all in this together. If you're able, please consider a donation today to the AHIMA Foundation.
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