Information technology continues to transform the management and delivery of health care. We advise clients on the full range of commercial and regulatory legal issues involving health care IT.
Health Care Data Privacy and Security
We counsel clients on a myriad of regulatory, licensing, compliance and payment issues that arise in the development, vending, and implementation of telemedical solutions, electronic health records, and other emerging technologies to store, manage and protect health records and electronic medical information, including informatics and e-commerce, telemedicine, electronic health records, electronic medical communications, and data governance and analytics.
We advise clients on compliance with federal and state regulations and legislation relating to privacy and data security. We manage privacy and security concerns for many clients, including issues related to social media, and responses to U.S. and international directives on data protection.
We assist clients with their responsibilities to report data breaches, including the HITECH Act’s expansion of HIPAA data privacy and security requirements to business associates of HIPAA-covered entities, which subjects a wide range of businesses to the same civil and criminal penalties that hospitals, pharmacies and other HIPAA-covered entities face for violations.
The HITECH Act allows eligible health care professionals and hospitals to receive incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid if they meet certain technology guideposts for the use of electronic records to achieve specified improvements in care delivery – so-called “meaningful use” of EHRs. While many vendors, IT professionals, consultants and lawyers see this meaningful-use initiative as a technology imperative for health care clients, it actually is an incentive to foster organizational change. Ultimately, the incentives will turn into “penalties” if the standards are not met.
Pepper has developed a dedicated multi-disciplinary team approach – a Meaningful Use Task Force – for issues arising out of the meaningful use of EHRs. We counsel clients on issues including the implementation of telemedical solutions and EHRs and the related regulatory, licensing, compliance and payment issues. We counsel and advise on the unique legal issues presented by new technologies to store, manage and protect health records and electronic medical information, including informatics and e-commerce, telemedicine, EHRs, electronic medical communications, and data governance and analytics.
We represent health care clients in interpreting IT contracts; negotiating amended contracts; handling of disputes of all kinds arising out of interpretations of meaningful use; and implementing programs, guidelines and systems to meet the HITECH Act’s incentives and goals for the program.
We have experience in helping academic medical centers, nonprofit health care institutions, their corporate owners and partners, and the vendors who serve the health care industry with the legal issues presented by new health care technologies, including informatics and e-commerce; and telemedicine or telehealth services, which can include professional consultations, office and other outpatient visits, psychotherapy, pharmacologic management and other electronic medical communications or services conducted via an interactive telecommunications system.
We have counseled hospitals and physicians on the issues presented by the implementation of telemedicine, including reimbursement and limits on services that qualify for insurance coverage, including the recently proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which sets forth changes to the list of Medicare-covered telehealth services. We also advise on privacy, security and other legal issues presented by electronic medical communications.
Canadian Health IT
Our work in telehealth and other health care IT issues is not limited to the U.S. market. In many ways, other countries have been leaders in embracing IT for health care, including Canada, which has invested billions in upgrading its health care information structure. Pepper has sponsored and participated in numerous events focusing on health care IT and other health care issues involving Canadian government agencies and Canadian health care organizations and businesses. We also have worked with numerous Canadian companies seeking to enter the U.S. health care IT market.