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Third-Party Health Apps Not Subject To HIPAA Rules, OCR Says

According to new information by the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released Friday (April 19), smartphone apps created by third-party developers and not by providers or business associates covered under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are not subject to HIPAA rules, even if a breach occurs.

CMS, ONC Gives Stakeholders More Time To Comment On Health IT Rules

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Medicare Trustees lowered their estimated spending projections for retail drugs in large part because rebates are bigger than they expected, and the health insurance lobby says that finding bolsters their case against HHS’ plan to eliminate rebates.

A federal appeals court has agreed to expedite its consideration of the two cases challenging the legality of Medicaid work requirements after CMS asked that the cases be accelerated.

A measure that would allow Florida to import prescription drugs from Canada is likely to pass the state legislature before it adjourns on May 3, the senate president’s office said Friday (April 19).

Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Monday (April 22) again detailed plans to find “workable solutions” to improve nursing home oversight after Government Accountability Office and HHS Office of Inspector General reports are out this summer.

In the wake of a 35-day partial government shutdown that furloughed 41 percent of the agency’s staff earlier this year, a group of FDA policy experts sent a letter to the agency asking for more details on how much funding FDA had and from what sources; exactly how many personnel were exempted, excepted and furloughed throughout the shutdown; and how FDA is preparing for future shutdowns.

CMS is moving forward with its plan to launch a new Medicare pay model for nursing homes beginning in fiscal 2020, and the agency is proposing a 2.5% pay bump for nursing homes in a proposed rule released Friday (April 19).

CMS on Friday (April 19) proposed to increase Medicare payments to hospices by 2.7% in fiscal 2020 as well as to modify the content of hospice election statements to better inform beneficiaries of exactly what services are provided, and which ones aren’t tied to their terminal illnesses.

FDA on Friday (April 19) approved the first generic naloxone nasal spray, commonly known as Narcan, for use in a community setting by people who do not have medical training.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to introduce legislation in May that would raise the national minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including vaping devices, from 18 to 21, the senator announced Thursday (April 18).