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In This Issue

OCR Begins HIPAA Audits under the Watchful Eye of Congress: What to Expect and How to Prepare – In November 2011, as required by the HITECH Act, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) began auditing selected covered entities’ compliance with the privacy and security provisions of HIPAA and its implementing regulations. In the near future, business associates will be eligible for audit selection as well. This article describes the current enforcement climate and provides practical steps on preparing for and responding to a HIPAA compliance audit.

What Hospitals and Physicians Need to Know about CMS’s Proposed Rule Interpreting the Physician Payment Sunshine Act – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued on December 14, 2011 its much-anticipated proposed rule interpreting the requirements of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Act), enacted by Congress as Section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. In its press release accompanying the proposed rule, CMS touted the Act and rule as fostering transparency which will discourage inappropriate financial relationships and give patients the information they need to evaluate their health care providers.

Over 3 Billion Reasons to Know the Government’s Plan – Civil cases involving fraud against the government continue to be lucrative for the federal government. For the second year in a row, the federal Department of Justice recovered over $3 billion relying on the federal False Claims Act (and its treble damages provision).

North Carolina to Join Ranks of States Requiring Employers to Enroll in E-Verify – The North Carolina Legislature passed a bill that will gradually require all private employers with more than 25 employees to use the federal online E-Verify program to verify the employment authorization of newly hired employees.

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