Hospitals Roundup—Public health system in Miami plans $1.5B upgrade

Patients in a hospital waiting room
A recent court filing from the Department of Health and Human Services is raising new questions about how the agency enforces HIPAA regulations for business associates. (Getty/SuwanPhoto)

A look at planned upgrades for the public health system in South Florida

A public health system in Miami, Florida, has plans to get quite the facelift.

As the Miami Herald reported, Jackson Health System has filed for permits to begin building a $175 million rehabilitation hospital and research center in Miami and a $250 million medical campus in Doral and multiple urgent care centers. Improvements are also being made at Jackson Health's three existing campuses.

Officials said they will make the public health system more comparable to private and nonprofit medical centers in the region. Miami Herald article

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Fertility clinic still under investigation following loss of embryos

The loss of thousands of eggs and embryos at University Hospitals' fertility clinic in March is still under investigation.

University Hospitals said they are confident the hospital will maintain its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare certification and CAP accreditation, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. UH had faced the threat of losing its participation in the Medicare program after a survey in March found they were out of compliance with federal regulations.

But after submitting a plan of correction that brought the hospital into compliance, the Ohio Department of Health rescinded its decision to terminate its participation in the Medicare program. In a statement, UH said it continues "to carefully review the root causes of the fertility clinic incident" and work with the Ohio Department of Health and the College of American Pathologists regarding the investigation. Cleveland Plain Dealer article

HIPAA lawsuit raises questions about HHS oversight

The court filing last month, in which HHS urged the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Ciox Health, surprised some privacy attorneys. In its response to Ciox’s allegations that a 2013 rule and 2016 guidance led to "irrational" enforcement by the federal agency, HHS countered that it “imposes no requirements or restrictions on business associates like Ciox.”

HHS indicates it does not regulate how much business associates charge for records requests, even if it prohibits covered entities from overcharging patients.

Ciox fulfills tens of millions of medical records requests for the majority of hospitals across the country, according to its website. Ciox has said the regulation changes failed to consider the "sizable costs" associated with collected medical records, costs the company passes on to life insurance companies and personal injury attorneys rather than patients. FierceHealthcare article

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