Health Care Matters

A Complimentary Newsletter From:

Law Offices Of David S. Barmak, LLC

Managing Risk for Long Term Care and Health Care Providers

Volume 14, Issue 6                   ADVERTISEMENT                     June 2013

In This Issue
Featured Article
Article Headline
HIPAA/HITECH Rules

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David
David Barmak, Esq.
Matthew Streger
Matthew Streger, Esq.
Brandon
Brandon Goldberg, Esq.
Jennifer Cohen
Jennifer Cohen, Esq.
Aaron Rubin
Aaron Rubin, Esq.

  

 

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Foreign Languages in the Workplace
  
 
While it is well known that health care staff members can only speak English in front of patients and residents (unless they're serving as a translator), questions often arise about staff members speaking other languages when no patients or residents are around. Other staff members unable to understand the language sometimes feel uncomfortable, and they may complain to a supervisor. The question that arises most often is: can an employer require employees to only speak in English, regardless of who is around them? The answer favors flexibility for the employer to set whatever policies are most appropriate for that company.

 

The standard for being able to regulate language in a company is the "business necessity" rule. Employers cannot create an English only environment simply because they want to, or because they want to target particular employees. However, employers who wish to regulate language for a legitimate business necessity can do so. A common example of such a necessity would be fostering better relations among employees. Such a rule would have to apply to all foreign languages. Regulating the use of only one language could be problematic. Even if all employee complaints centered on a single foreign language, a broad policy would best protect employers from accusations of discrimination. A cohesive workforce is critical to the success of any company, and the law gives employers the ability to regulate languages to meet that end.
  
If you have any questions regarding language policies, please contact Brandon Goldberg at 609-454-5351 or bgoldberg@barmak.com.
  
HIPAA/HITECH Rules
September 23, 2013 Compliance Deadline  
  
 
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights comprehensive modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement and Breach Notification Rules ("Rules") require covered entities to come into compliance with the majority of the Rule's requirements by September 23, 2013.

 

Compliance Dates:
  • September 23, 2013:  Compliance required for the majority of the Rules' provisions.
  • September 22, 2014:  Business Associate Agreements ("BAAs") must comply with the Rules including the requirement that Business Associates must have similar agreements with their covered subcontractors.

Summary of Changes:

  • Business Associates now include subcontractors for Business Associates that also access PHI;
  • Revisions and additions for covered entities and Business Associates that must be included in BAAs as well as the mandatory requirement that all existing BAAs comply with the new Rules by September 22, 2014;
  • Mandatory additions to covered entities' HIPAA Privacy Notices, including notifying individuals of their right to notification of PHI breaches; and
  • Requirement to conduct and document a risk assessment in the event of a possible breach of PHI.

If you have any questions about HIPAA / HITECH, please contact Aaron Rubin at 609-454-5351 or arubin@barmak.com.

Law Offices Of David S. Barmak, LLC
Our firm is dedicated to helping health care providers, such as skilled nursing facilities and other health care providers, and the suppliers of products and services to those providers, manage risk through comprehensive compliance programs that focus on early intervention through on-site training, communication, policy & procedure review, monitoring and consultation. The program includes on site auditing and training in the areas of, but not limited to, fraud & abuse, HIPAA privacy & HITECH data security, employment, emergency preparedness, workplace violence, clinical documentation, sexual harassment and social networking.

 

The firm's compliance team includes experienced compliance attorneys, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacy consultants, information technology specialists, nurse practitioners, administrators, orthotists & prosthetists and EMS professionals, who are available to assist clients with pre and post Department of Health (DOH) survey procedures, respond to DOH questions, prepare for re-inspections, minimize risks for deficiencies, offer support to Directors of Nursing regarding accurate care plans, incident and accident reports and therapy notes, review Medicare billing and audit PPS/Medicare/Medicaid insurance documentation.

 

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This newsletter has been prepared by the Law Offices Of David S. Barmak, LLC for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

 

For more information, please contact David S. Barmak, Esq.:

Telephone (609) 454-5351

Fax (609) 454-5361

www.Barmak.com

 
Copyright, 2013.  Law Offices Of David S. Barmak, LLC.  All rights reserved.
No portion of these materials may be reproduced by any means without the advance written permission of the author.