The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS-OCR) announced the Agency recovered an unprecedented $28.7 million from HIPAA enforcement activities in CY 2018. The HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach (HIPAA Rules) violations for which OCR was able to obtain either summary judgement or settlement payments involved some of the country’s top healthcare stakeholders; including MD Anderson ($4.3 million), Massachusetts General Hospital ($515,000), Fresenius Medical Care North America ($3.5 million), and Anthem, Inc. ($16 million).
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In late 2018, Congress enacted the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”) as part of the larger effort to combat the national opioid addiction crisis. EKRA significantly expands the federal government’s regulation of transactions in healthcare by applying federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) principles to select activities not involving federal health program reimbursement and exposing certain industry participants to sanctions they would face for engaging in conduct similar to that prohibited by the AKS.
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