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OCR Warns: Watch Out for Fake HIPAA Audit E-mails

This week, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sent an e-mail warning HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates about an e-mail designed to look like an official communication from the government regarding a HIPAA audit, which is in fact a marketing e-mail from a cybersecurity vendor. The e-mail is designed to look like it is on official Department of Health and Human Services digital letterhead and even includes the signature of OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels. If organizations have questions about the authenticity of a communication related to a HIPAA audit, OCR says, they should contact


President-Elect Names HHS, CMS Appointees

As president-elect, Donald Trump has announced his picks to lead both the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) late Monday night. For HHS, Trump chose six-term Georgia Rep. Tom Price (R), formerly an orthopedic surgeon and an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To lead CMS, the agency that oversees most ACA programs and pilots, Trump chose Seema Verma, founder of health policy consulting firm SVC Inc., the Associated Press reported.


CMS Launches New Online Tool to Make Quality Payment Program Easier for Clinicians

On November 17, CMS released a tool to automatically share electronic data for the Medicare Quality Payment Program. The Application Program Interface (API) builds on the Quality Payment Program website by making it easier for other organizations to retrieve and maintain the Quality Payment Program’s measures and enable them to build applications for clinicians and their practices. The API will allow developers to write software using the information described on the Explore Measures section of the Quality Payment Program website.


2017 PQRS Results: Submit an Informal Review by November 30

In 2017, CMS will apply a downward payment adjustment to those who did not satisfactorily report for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2015 including: Individual eligible professionals, Comprehensive Primary Care practice sites, PQRS group practices, Accountable Care Organizations.  For questions about the informal review process, contact the QualityNet Help Desk at 866-288-8912 (TTY 877-715-6222) or


House Republicans Seek Delay in Case to End ACA Cost-Sharing Subsidies

To buy President-elect Donald Trump time to craft an Affordable Care Act replacement, House Republicans have asked a federal appellate court to delay considering the Obama administration's appeal in a case that could end some payments to health plans and throw the individual insurance market into chaos. The House Republicans' general counsel filed a motion Thursday to temporarily hold in abeyance all briefings in the appeal of a federal district court's May ruling in House v. Burwell that the Obama administration illegally compensated insurers for reducing low-income enrollees' cost-sharing responsibilities. A U.S. District Court judge nominated by President George W. Bush unexpectedly held that the payments were unconstitutional because Congress had not appropriated the money.

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