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One Key Takeaway from $3 Million Penalty by HHS for Exposing 300,000 Patient Records /

One Key Takeaway from $3 Million Penalty by HHS for Exposing 300,000 Patient Records

The United States Department of Health and Human Services reached an agreement with Touchstone Medical Imaging in which Touchstone agreed to pay $3 million and adopt a corrective action plan in the wake of its data breach that exposed over 300,000 patients’ protected health information.

Supreme Court Sheds Light on Class Arbitrations

The Supreme Court has further closed the window for employees to pursue class-wide claims against their employers in arbitration.  In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled a court may not compel arbitration on a class-wide basis when the arbitration agreement is “silent” on the issue.  Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds Int’l Corp., 559 U.S. 662 (2010).  Nine years later, presented with an arbitration agreement that, instead of silent, was “ambiguous” regarding the availability of class arbitration, the high court has again demonstrated its preference for individual arbitration.  In Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, Case No. 17-988 (slip opinion April 24, 2019), the Court held that ambiguity cannot provide the basis for finding consent to participate in class arbitration.

Fish and Wildlife Proposes Downgrading American Burying Beetle Status From “Endangered” to “Threatened”

After years of studies, Congressional pressure, and on-the-ground experience with the American Burying Beetle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed downgrading the beetle’s status from “Endangered” to “Threatened.” In addition to this move, Fish and Wildlife has proposed a rule that would tailor protections that are necessary for the beetle to recover under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act.

DOL Publishes Proposal Interpreting Joint Employer Status

On April 1, 2019, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its third proposal in 30 days to revise regulations interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The April 1 proposed rule would revise and clarify the test for when multiple employers (known as “joint employment”) can be held responsible for wages under the FLSA. The notice and full text of the rule can be found here.

Structuring Physician Relationships After Forest Park

If a relationship with physicians or other referral sources has been structured to carve out Medicare and Medicaid patients to avoid triggering Anti-Kickback Statute requirements, it is time to review the compliance of the relationship.

Dating Application Triggers National Security Concerns

You read it correctly:  The United States Government has deemed an online dating application to be a national security concern. The dating application Grindr has earned notoriety for being the gay equivalent to Tinder (a dating “hook up” application for straight people). Grindr has gained remarkable success. The application boasts of having 27 million registered users as well as an average of 3.3 million daily users.

DOL Publishes Proposals Interpreting “Regular Rate of Pay” in Overtime Regulations

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must generally pay non-exempt employees overtime at a rate of one and one half times the “regular rate” of pay when they work more than forty hours in a workweek. Overtime cannot be properly calculated unless the employer knows what to include in the regular rate.  As benefits, bonuses, reimbursements and other elements of compensation have evolved, greater ambiguity has developed in determining what is included in and excluded from the regular rate.  On March 29, 2019, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a proposal (found here) to clarify and update several regulations that interpret the regular rate of pay requirement.

Does the CCPA Apply to My Company?

Late last year California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) aimed at granting certain rights and protections to California consumers and also imposing obligations and limitations on businesses in an effort to provide consumers more control over their personal information. The CCPA becomes effective January 1, 2020, and companies across the nation are marking their calendars in anticipation of privacy practice changes reminiscent of those ushered in by the European Union’s GDPR last year. Although the CCPA is often compared to the GDPR, the two privacy laws are different and compliance with one does not ensure compliance with the other. In undertaking compliance measures, the initial inquiry companies should analyze is the question of whether the CCPA applies to the company.

Department of the Interior amends Greater Sage-Grouse Management Plans

The Department of the Interior recently announced six new Records of Decision that amend Resource Management Plans for the Greater Sage-Grouse.

Maintaining Compliance with Substance Use Disorder Information

Does your organization provide substance use treatment services or receive information from a treatment program that identifies an individual as having a substance use disorder?  If so, your organization may be subject to 42 C.F.R. Part 2 and may have obligations to amend contractual provisions to maintain compliance.

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