U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

What Are the Changes?

On April 26, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a final rule (the “Final Rule”) along with guidance updating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) regulations at 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164 (the “Privacy Rule”). The Final Rule prohibits the use or disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) for the purpose of (1) conducting criminal, civil, or administrative investigations into, or (2) imposing criminal, civil, or administrative liability on any person for the mere act of seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating reproductive health care that is legal when provided. The Final Rule also prohibits the use or disclosure of PHI in order to (3) identify any person for any of those purposes (the “Prohibition”).[1]Continue Reading HHS Changes HIPAA Privacy Rule to Restrict the Disclosure of Reproductive Health Care Information

On February 8, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) finalized long-awaited modifications to the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records regulations at 42 C.F.R. Part 2, which requires individuals or entities that receive federal funding and provide SUD treatment to implement additional privacy protections and obtain specific consent before using and disclosing SUD treatment records (see 42 C.F.R. § 2.11).Continue Reading Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Records: HHS Finalizes Changes to Part 2 Rule

On October 14, 2022, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 14036, directing the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to consider innovative actions to drive down certain single-source prescription drug costs as the Biden-Harris Administration works to implement the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the “Act”).Continue Reading Inflation Reduction Act Imposes Prescription Drug Pricing Reforms

On August 4, 2020, the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) released an FAQ regarding whether a clinical laboratory may provide free antibody testing to federal health care program beneficiaries (e.g. Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries). In its FAQ, the OIG acknowledged that providing such testing would implicate two federal anti-fraud statutes–the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the federal Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL). However, so long as the laboratory implemented certain safeguards, the arrangement would pose a sufficiently low risk that OIG would not pursue an enforcement action.
Continue Reading OIG Guidance on Fraud and Abuse Implications of Free Covid-19 Antibody Testing by Laboratories

On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health released guidance authorizing pharmacists to “order and administer COVID-19 tests, including serology tests, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized.”  HHS noted that it recognized that most Americans are relatively close to a retail pharmacy and they interact with pharmacists more frequently than other healthcare professionals. Allowing pharmacists to administer the tests should reduce travel to testing locations – an important mitigation step.  HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement:
Continue Reading HHS Expands COVID-19 Testing Capabilities by Allowing Pharmacists to Test