January 6, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Posted in Department of Public Health, ePHI, Health and Human Services, HIPAA | Leave a comment
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The Office of Civil Rights  in the Department of Health and Human Services has announced that, among other entities such as healthcare providers, it will audit approximately 100 employer sponsored health plans and 50 business associates in 2015. It is reported that:

  • Covered entities and business associates will have two weeks following receipt to respond to the initial data requests. OCR will not consider data submitted late.
  • OCR will conduct audits remotely through “desk audits.” Desk audits will be made using an updated audit protocol which OCR has not yet made available.
  • Audit participants will not have an opportunity to provide clarifications or supplemental information after responding to the initial data request.

Within 60 days following their submissions, audit participants will be presented with a draft version of OCR’s final report for review prior to publication. If your health plan has access to an employee’s protected health information (PHI), at a minimum, the following should be done:

  • Adopt written HIPAA policies and procedures addressing the HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification rules;
  • Designate a HIPAA privacy official and a HIPAA security official;
  • Conduct a detailed analysis of the risks and vulnerabilities of electronic PHI;
  • Train those members of your workforce who have access to PHI.
  • Identify any HIPAA Business Associates, make sure you have a HIPAA Business Associate agreement with them and alert them to your expectations of them in regards to safekeeping your plan’s PHI



Massachusetts Application Process for 2014 Wellness Tax Credit Is Delayed

January 31, 2014 at 11:59 am | Posted in Compliance, Department of Public Health, DPH, Health Care, State Laws | Leave a comment
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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has announced that (a) the application a wellness tax credit for tax year 2013 is closed; and (b) the deadline for the wellness tax credit in 2014 will be December 31, 2014.  The state’s application system, however, is currently under revision and will be online again in the Spring.

Much Work Remains on Finalizing 2013 Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit: Hearings to be Held in February

January 24, 2013 at 10:15 am | Posted in Department of Public Health, Employment Law, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Regulations, State Laws, Wellness | Leave a comment
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Below is a recent communication received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:

The Wellness Tax Credit application that was posted on http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/wellness/health-promotion/
has been removed.  The application will not be final until the Wellness Tax Credit regulations are fully approved.

In January 2013, the Public Health Council approved emergency regulations for the Wellness Tax Credit for Massachusetts small employers.  For the emergency regulations please go to:  http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/laws-regs/dph/proposed-regulations/wellness-tax-credit-incentive.html

The next step will be to have public hearings on these regulations. Hearings are scheduled for:

    • Monday February 11, 11:00 am, Public Health Council Room, 250 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02108
    • Thursday February 14, 1:00 pm, 23 Service Center, Northampton, MA  01060

The Department invites the public to participate in these hearings and to provide input on the regulations. Following the hearings, the Public Health Council will vote on final regulations.  After the final regulations are adopted, the Department anticipates that employers will be able to start applying for the credit.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Application Process Likely Delayed Until April 1, 2013

January 18, 2013 at 10:42 am | Posted in Department of Public Health, DPH, Regulations, State Laws, Wellness | Leave a comment
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The Protector Group has had several communications with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) this week about the mechanics of applying for the $10,000 wellness tax credit. As we stated in an earlier ALERT, the pool of available credit is fixed on an annual basis, underscoring the need for employers to apply as soon as possible if they want to secure the best chance of application approval.

Here is what we have learned in the past couple of days:

  1. DPH has prepared a draft application and guidance, which can be found at this link:  http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/wellness/health-promotion/. DPH’s desire is that all applications will be submitted through an on-line application process that has yet to be created.
  2. The likely “kick off” date for submitting applications will be April 1, 2014, although there is an outside chance it could happen as early as March 1, 2013.
  3. Once the application process starts, DPH will accept applications through December 31, 2013 for the 2013 calendar year process.

We will keep you updated and issue a new ALERT once the wellness tax credit regulations and application process are finalized.

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