Premier to use CMS Virtual Research Data Center to develop patient improvement tools; HHS OCR fines Lincare for HIPAA violation;

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> Charlotte, North Carolina-based Premier Inc. will be the first organization to conduct Innovator Research using the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Virtual Research Data Center, it announced this week. The company plans to "derive insights from privacy-protected Medicare data," and ultimately create tools to improve patient care. Announcement

> The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has fined medical equipment and respiratory care provider Lincare $239,800 for violating the HIPAA Privacy Rule. According to HHS, an employee removed patient information from Lincare's office, then left it exposed to others. "OCR found that Lincare had inadequate policies and procedures in place to safeguard patient information that was taken offsite, although employees, who provide healthcare services in patients' homes, regularly removed material from the business premises," the agency said. Announcement

Health Insurance News

> UnitedHealthcare and 40 other affiliated companies have sued the federal government in an attempt to change what they argue are unfair regulations governing Medicare Advantage overpayments. Article

> Next week, President Barack Obama will propose amending the controversial Cadillac tax on expensive private health plans in the administration's 2017 budget plan,. Article

Provider News

> A federal initiative to reduce preventable hospital admissions among nursing home residents has returned encouraging early results, according to a new report. Article

And Finally... It's just a little spider; it's still good, it's still good. Article