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HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations

In light of the Ebola outbreak and other events, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR),released a bulletin, HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations, to ensure that HIPAA covered entities and their business associates are aware of the ways in which patient information may be shared under the HIPAA Privacy Rule in an emergency situation, and to serve as a reminder that the protections of the Privacy Rule are not set aside during an emergency.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of patients’ health information (protected health information) but is balanced to ensure that appropriate uses and disclosures of the information still may be made when necessary to treat a patient, to protect the nation’s public health, and for other critical purposes. The HIPAA Privacy Rule is not suspended during a public health or other emergency; however, the Secretary of HHS may waive certain provisions of the Privacy Rule under the Project Bioshield Act of 2004 (PL 108-276) and section 1135(b)(7) of the Social Security Act.
Additional guidance on HIPAA in Emergency Situations: Preparedness, Planning, and Response can be found here.

HIPAA Privacy in Emergency Situations


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) has issued Change Request (CR) 8443, which instructs the Medicare claims review contractors that determinations on prepayment reviews for the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and post- payment reviews by the Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) must be completed within 30 calendar days. Currently the contractors have up to 60 days to make a claim review determination. The effective and implementation date is February 24, 2015. Read more

Hospice Cost Report
CMS released the new cost report requirements for freestanding hospice organizations on August 9, 2014. Hospices will be required to report services by the level of care provided.
The final report is available at

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