Making Real Change Happen Through Committed Action

As many students participate in the National School Walkout in protest that something be done following the tragic Parkland school shooting today, it’s a good time to focus on the best way to make needed community and government change happen.

Want to make real change happen? Stop Protesting. Start Doing.

Whether stopping school or community violence, fixing health care, ending discrimination or seeking government intervention to help accomplish any other change, the truth is that real change that works comes from thoughtful, meaningful, strategic, sustained action by individuals working together in their communities. Usually government intervention can do little to really accomplish anything that communities working together can’t accomplish without government regulation. When and if necessary, however, it helps if efforts to work with government Leaders are properly focused and executed.

Want to get government to help make real change happen? Stop Protesting. Start Doing. Decide what realistically can be done without government and what government realistically can and will do that can’t be better achieved without it.

Don’t wait for government to do anything. Start with you. Lead by example. Do what you can do personally to make things better. Lead by example, then recruit and motivate friends and others to join you.

When looking to motivate government, protest seldom motivates meaningful real change. Instead of venting, look at what government realistically could do, and what politically is possible to accomplish. Recognize that legislation and regulation almost always involves compromise and laws and regulations rarely happen quickly or the way initially proposed. All or nothing efforts usually get nothing. Take what you can get done and keep pushing toward the goal.

Too often, passing legislation primarily achieves only symbolic change. The enactment affirms and validates the concern. However, legislative enactment rarely solves anything. Change through legislation or regulation requires sustained action to get proper implementation and enforcement. Stay involved. Keep providing informed, measured, well-thought-out, specific oversight and input to government leaders through focused comment delivered through official comment channels. Otherwise, the legislation actually hurts progress by promoting the myth that the enactment solved the problem when the real work had just begun.

In all cases, keep your involvement and leadership going in the community. Even when government acts, this is where true change happens.

About The Author

Repeatedly recognized by her peers as a Martindale-Hubble “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%) and “Top Rated Lawyer” with special recognition LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: ERISA & Employee Benefits,” “Health Care” and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Council, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation and board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is a practicing attorney, management consultant, author, public policy advocate and lecturer widely known for health and managed care, employee benefits, insurance and financial services, data and technology and other management work, public policy leadership and advocacy, coaching, teachings, and publications. For her profession practice and pro bono work with PROJECT COPE and others she is recognized for her work, experience, leadership and publications on veterans and other health and workforce policy and law and regulation for more than 30 years.

Ms. Stamer also has an extensive contributes her leadership and insights with other professionals, industry leaders and lawmakers.    Her insights on health care, insurance, benefits and other risk management and compliance concerns often appear in medical privacy related publications of a broad range of health care, health plan and other industry publications Among others, she has conducted privacy training for the Association of State & Territorial Health Plans (ASTHO), the Los Angeles Health Department, SHRM, HIMMS, the American Bar Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, a multitude of health plan, insurance and financial services, education, employer employee benefit and other clients, trade and professional associations and others.  You can get more information about her HIPAA and other experience here. For additional information about Ms. Stamer, see here, e-mail her here or telephone Ms. Stamer at (214) 452-8297.

About Solutions Law Press, Inc.™

Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ provides human resources and employee benefit and other business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other coaching, tools and other resources, training and education on leadership, governance, human resources, employee benefits, data security and privacy, insurance, health care and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ resources here including:

Review Your Provider Performance Data

1/18 Comment Deadline on Office Of Child Care Guidance That Allows Background Check Requirement Delays

Bill Allowing FDA Emergency Use Authorizations To Protect Military From Biological Warfare Threats Sent to President

OIG Tells Texas Stop Paying Medicaid MCOs For Dead Patients

1/19 Deadline To Comment On Proposed FDA Premarket Notice Exemption For Over-The-Counter Dental Repair Kits

Michigan Doctor Pleads Guilty To Billing Medicare For Illegally Prescribed Drugs

Anesthesiology Practice Nailed For Improperly Billing For Moderate Sedation

Florida Doctor Sentenced For Multi-Million Dollar Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Health Care Fraud, Money Laundering & Forced Prostitution Scheme

CMS Announces New Medicare Provider Ombudsman

Comment By 1/8 on Guidance for Industry on Expedited Programs for Serious Conditions– Drugs and Biologics

CMS Publishes 2018 Updates To Home Health Prospective Payment Rates & Rules

CMS Publishes 2018 Physician Fee Schedule Rule

Check Your Medicare/Medicaid Compliance Against Against Quarterly Guidance Changes List

CDC Proposed Changes To NIOSH Occupational Health Biological Monitoring Methods for Chemical Exposures

HHS Picks Hargan As Acting HHS Secretary

OCR Gives Health Care Providers, Other Covered Entities Post-Las Vegas Shooting HIPAA Medical Privacy Guidance On Disclosures To Family, Media & Others For Notification & Other Purposes

Novo Nordisk Pays $58M+ For Not Giving FDA-Required Warnings ABout Victoza Cancer Risks

Christus Pays $12.24M Settlement Resolves False Claims Act Charges From “Donations” To New Mexico

Oklahoma Nursing Home Settles HHS HIV Discrimination Charges

HHS Issues Hurricane Irma Relief For Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands & Florida

HHS Medical Clinic to Provide Healthcare to Hurricane Harvey Victims at Houston Convention Center Starting Wednesday

CMS Proposes Cutbacks To Medicare Bundled Payment Program

CMS Releases 2017 Provider Payment Program Hardship Exception Application

RAISE Act Immigration Visa, Visa Holder Public Benefit Limits Create Potential Health Industry Concerns

SCOTUS Bars State Law Restrictions On Health, Other Arbitration Agreement Enforceability

Health Care, Health Plan & Other Health IT Systems Warned of E-Mail Cyber Attack

$2.4M HIPAA Settlement Warns Providers About Media Disclosures Of PHI

CardioNet $2.5M HIPAA Resolution Agreement Schools HIPAA Entities To Clean Up Their Acts

Medical Clinic HIPAA Resolution Agreement Shows Need For Current Business Associate Agreements

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information including your preferred e-mail by creating your profile here.

NOTICE: These statements and materials are for general informational and purposes only. They do not establish an attorney-client relationship, are not legal advice or an offer or commitment to provide legal advice, and do not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are urged to engage competent legal counsel for consultation and representation in light of the specific facts and circumstances presented in their unique circumstance at any particular time. No comment or statement in this publication is to be construed as legal advice or an admission. The author reserves the right to qualify or retract any of these statements at any time. Likewise, the content is not tailored to any particular situation and does not necessarily address all relevant issues. Because the law is rapidly evolving and rapidly evolving rules makes it highly likely that subsequent developments could impact the currency and completeness of this discussion. The presenter and the program sponsor disclaim, and have no responsibility to provide any update or otherwise notify any participant of any such change, limitation, or other condition that might affect the suitability of reliance upon these materials or information otherwise conveyed in connection with this program. Readers may not rely upon, are solely responsible for, and assume the risk and all liabilities resulting from their use of this publication.

Circular 230 Compliance. The following disclaimer is included to ensure that we comply with U.S. Treasury Department Regulations. Any statements contained herein are not intended or written by the writer to be used, and nothing contained herein can be used by you or any other person, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties that may be imposed under federal tax law, or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related transaction or matter addressed herein.

©2018 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Non-exclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ For information about republication, please contact the author directly. All other rights reserved.

Tell Congress To Vote on Obamacare Reform Starting With House’s Vote Tonight

The US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote again tonight on the revised Majority-leadership lead first step healthcare reform legislation seeking to provide Americans and American business with some initial relief from the soaring premium and health care costs, care access barriers  and regulatory and other burdens that have resulted under the ObamaCare law and regulations.  Every American should call, e-mail or fax the leaders and their Congressperson as soon as possible today and tell them to pass this legislation and get busy passing the next set of reforms with no further delay, the get and stay II formed and involved until it gets it done starting with the House hearing and vote slated tonight starting at 8:30 Eastern.  Get details here.

Health care and its reform is a complex challenge.  Americans and American businesses, health payers,  and States and their healthcare needs are highly diverse. The ambitious but far from successful Obamacare law shows the dangers of well-meaning but unrealistic To try to fix these challenges with a sweeping, one shot fix.  

While passage of this legislative package won’t magically fix these challenges, it will provide quick relief for some of the ObamaCare expense and restrictions and expand the choices that Americans, American business, payers, providers and States while Congress works with American to identify and pursue legislative, regulatory, marketplace and other improvements. 

Insist President & Congress Get Real About Health Care Reform

While disability, illness or death eventually come to all families, Mr. Obama and other Presidents, Congress members, and to a lesser extent, their staffs use billions of dollars of Americans’ tax dollars to get special benefits, perks and privileges that help insulate them and their families from these challenges even as they adopt and enforce an epidemic of rules administered by thousands of newly hired bureaucrats who also enjoy many of those same special benefits, perks and privileges denied to taxpaying Americans they wont apply to themselves. Americans should not allow or trust any President or member of Congress to make important decisions about health care, jobs or war when the leader passes laws or supports silly rules.

Every American should watch and internalize the insights from these videos and then send them to Mr. Obama and Congress and insist they do the same when making healthcare, war and other policy with a message to get real and start coming up with real solutions for real American families:

A key problem with health care policy made in Washington, D.C. is that most of our leaders make health care policy decisions as if they are playing an Xbox game.  In most cases, the leaders deciding our health care policy are privileged people who don’t currently live in or experience life in the real world that most Americans live in, and either have never really done so or have forgotten what life in the real world is like.

While disability, illness or death eventually come to all families, Mr. Obama and other Presidents, Congress members, and  to a lesser extent, their staffs use billions of dollars of Americans’ tax dollars to get special benefits, perks and privileges that help insulate them and their families from these challenges even as they adopt and enforce an epidemic of rules that these leaders won’t apply to themselves and their families, administered by thousands of newly hired bureaucrats who also enjoy many of those same special benefits, perks and privileges denied to taxpaying Americans. See e.g., on Presidential Perks, here; on Congressional Perks, see here and on Affordable Care Act special treatment, see White House Approves Deal: Congress And Staff Exempt From Obamacare and Members, Staff Will Keep Health-Care Subsidies Under Obamacare.

The President and many members of Congress and their advisors make inappropriate health policy choices because most don’t have a real experience in dealing with these issues that matches the reality of most Americans.  don’t pay real bills or face the limits of a real budget.  The President and members of Congress don’t stand in line at the local clinic, wait hours, much less days, to get a doctor’s appointment, have to leave work to take a parent or child to the doctor or go out-of-pocket to pay for care.  They don’t have to struggle to patch their shoes, turn down their heat or replace hamburger with Mac’N Cheese to pay the health premiums that Obama Care will mandate while concerned about reduced hours or unemployment.  Their knowledge is based instead on political ideology buttressed by filtered and carefully selected anecdotal stories, selected because their re-enforce the already existing world view of the political decision-maker.

We need to insist that the President and Congress make and administer health care policy based on a real world understanding and stop treating health care reform like an Xbox simulation where the budget reloads and the suffering and death are washed away by starting a new game.
Americans should not allow or trust any President or member of Congress to make important decisions about health care, jobs or war when the leader passes laws or supports the adoption of laws and rules that :

  • Force Americans to pay billions and new taxes to submit to a government dictated health care system that wastes trillions for bureaucrats to dictate the care, coverage and premiums that American families will get while the President and Congress have decided that system is not good enough for the President, Congress, their staff and their families;
  • Waste thousands of taxpayer dollars of special perks like allowing the President to spend more than $100K to fly his puppy to meet the First Family on vacation, throw lavish birthday parties, and take a series of expensive vacations;
  • Break promises made to the millions of Medicare-eligible Americans and veterans and their families who constantly find their benefits cut, new costs imposed and wait times lengthened; and
  • Force Americans to “cut back” to pay for a deluge of other expensive new government regulators to create and enforce new and expanded government regulations that only further tax American taxpayer’s pocketbooks, job opportunities, competitiveness and choices.

While Mr. Obama talks a lot about his experiences as an “organizer,” it is clear that he and others either never actually learned, long ago forgot, or don’t care about the real struggles of Americans struggling to care for aging or disabled family members, rising taxes and mandates amid job losses and reduced buying power, military service members and veterans whose families are left struggling with broken promises and the host of other real world issues that impact most average American families.

Americans need to use their e-mail, telephones, social networks and other communication channels, votes, contributions, and their time to remind regularly and hold the President and Congress accountable for understanding and regulating with an awareness and concern for the real world challenges and needs of Americans. Insist our leaders see and experience life from the shoes of real people by sharing the experiences of your and your friends families.  Insist they not only see the world through our eyes by watching these videos, but also by wearing the same shoes and walking the same paths without the special benefits, perks, and privileges that insulate them and their families from really experiencing life the way those who are taxed experience it. Speak up and be persistent until they get the message or are replaced.

Start by joining the discussion and sharing your thoughts about health care reform  by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment & Its  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of Project COPE, The Coalition on Patient Empowerment & It’s Affiliate, the Coalition on Responsible Health Policy.

The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.   If you found these updates of interest, you also be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here .  You also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. You can reach other recent updates and other informative publications and resources.

Recent examples of these publications include:

 

For important information about this communication click here.

©2013 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Nonexclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc. All other rights reserved.

Logon & Password Creation For Personal Accounts Lend Significance To Consumer Security Concerns About Using HHS Health Insurance Exchange Portal

Report Raises Questions About Security Of Sensitive Personal Information Americans Will Share With HHS Exchange Portal

The reported finding that the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has yet to complete the necessary security arrangements and testing for the web-portal Incomplete security arrangements and testing necessary to ensure the security of personal health and other information shared by consumers on the health insurance exchange Hub that Obamacare charged the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)  with creating under Obama Care raises concerns about whether these security issues might undermine the security of the sensitive personal information that a consumer might share now or in the future when exploring or enrolling in health coverage options offered through the health insurance exchange.

On Monday, August 5, 2013, HHS sought to beef up interest and anticipation among Americans for the new health insurance exchange option by inviting consumers to prepare for the upcoming enrollment period scheduled to begin October 1, 2013 by creating their personal accounts on HHS’ Healthcare.gov website now.

HHS began encouraging Americans to the HHS website “healthcare.gov” to open a personal account, the first step to buying coverage through one of the health insurance exchanges that HHS is creating under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act reforms.  See Consumers Can Take First Step To Enrolling In New Insurance Options Today.  HHS is encouraging Americans to prepare for enrollment today by setting up their personal account on the HHS Website, Healthcare.gov.  A HHS Twitter Tweet yesterday announced , “Today you can be 1 step closer to getting health ins. by creating your Marketplace account:.” The Healthcare.gov website main page now invites Americans to “[a]nswer a few questions to get some personalized info here.”

Unfortunately, HHS kicked off this campaign on the same day that the HHS’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report titled Observations Noted During The OIG Review Of CMS’s Implementation Of The Health Insurance Exchange—Data Services Hub (Report) that raises questions about the adequacy of the current security of the data portal and whether HHS will complete the arrangements and testing to verify it appropriately safeguards the security of the sensitive personal information that consumers will share there when the enrollment period begins and thereafter.

Data shared by Americans as part of the process of exploring and enrolling in coverage through the health insurance exchanges will be collected and shared through a data security Hub that will host and transmit that data.  The OIG Report raises clear concerns about the existing security arrangements that CMS has implemented to protect that data, as well as questions about whether CMS will complete the necessary arrangements to secure and protect that sensitive data before enrollment begins October 1.

The findings reported by OIG in the Report raise significant questions about whether Americans should accept the HHS invitation to establish their personal accounts now in anticipation of the October 1, 2013 beginning of the  enrollment period for applying for coverage through the health insurance exchanges that would take effect on January 1, 2014.

The Report makes clear that OIG found reason for concern about the Hub security currently and whether these issues will be adequately addressed by the time the enrollment period begins on October 1, 2013.

OIG reports many critical tasks required to implement and test necessary security controls are unfinished.  It states “[S]everal critical tasks remain to be completed in a short period of time, such as the final independent testing of the Hub’s security controls, remediating security vulnerabilities identified during testing, and obtaining the security authorization decision for the Hub before opening the exchanges. CMS’s current schedule is to complete all of its tasks by October 1, 2013, in time for the expected initial open enrollment period.”

While acknowledging that CMS has affirmed its commitment to complete and implement the necessary security arrangements before enrollment begins on October 1, 2013, the OIG Report also notes that CMS already has missed several critical target dates in its efforts to implement the required security measures.

The Report additionally states: “CMS is working with very tight deadlines to ensure that security measures for the Hub are assessed, tested, and implemented by the expected initial open enrollment date of October 1, 2013. If there are additional delays in completing the security assessment and testing, the CMS CIO may have limited information on the security risks and controls when granting the security authorization of the Hub.” (emphasis added).

The security concerns highlighted in the Report should raise questions about the adequacy of the security of information that an individual might enter on the Healthcare.gov portal in response to the invitation of HHS extended beginning yesterday. 

The importance of the security concerns raised in the reports becomes evident when one considers that consumers establishing their personal accounts must “Choose  your user name and password; Create security questions to add an extra layer of protecting your information.”   While many may be temped to discount the significance of the security concerns because the information that HHS currently asks individuals to share when they create their personal accounts appears relatively harmless, it merits noting that the creation of the login and security password that will be used to control access to the personal account of registrants are among those initial elements. To the extent security deficiencies compromise the security of this information, these security deficiencies could undermine the security of the personal accounts and all of the information they contain.

In light of the findings contained in the Report, Americans concerned about the security of their personal information may want to hold off entering data in response to the HHS’s invitation.  Additionally, Americans concerned about these and other security issues also may want to share their feedback with HHS and members of Congress.

Are you concerned about whether health care reform preparations are on track or have other health care policy concerns. Tell us what you think by responding to our poll. 

Join the discussion about health care reform and share your input by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment & Its  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of Project COPE, The Coalition on Patient Empowerment & It’s Affiliate, the Coalition on Responsible Health Policy.

The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.   If you found these updates of interest, you also be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here .  You also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. You can reach other recent updates and other informative publications and resources.

Recent examples of these publications include:

For important information about this communication click here.

©2013 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Nonexclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc. All other rights reserved.

OIG Questions Security For American’s Personal Information On HHS Health Insurance Exchange-Data Services Hub

A report released today by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) raises serious questions about whether Americans should accept the opportunity made available by HHS for the first time today to establish a personal account and begin entering their data into HHS data banks in preparation to apply for health care coverage through health insurance exchanges to be created under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act when enrollment begins on October 1, 2013. In light of the OIG findings, Americans concerned about protecting their personal information may want to hold off entering information on the Healthcare.gov website and to share their concerns with HHS and Congress.

Report Raises Questions About Security Of Data Americans Will Share With HHS Exchange Portal

A report released today by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) raises serious questions about whether Americans should accept the opportunity made available by HHS for the first time today to establish a personal account and begin entering their data into HHS data banks in preparation to apply for health care coverage through health insurance exchanges to be created under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act when enrollment begins on October 1, 2013.  In light of the OIG findings, Americans concerned about protecting their personal information may want to hold off entering information on the Healthcare.gov website and to share their concerns with HHS and Congress.

HHS Invites Americans To Enter Their Personal Information At Healthcare.Gov Beginning Today

Health insurance exchanges are State-based competitive marketplaces where individuals and small businesses will be able to purchase private health insurance.

Today, HHS began encouraging Americans to the HHS website “healthcare.gov” to open a personal account, the first step to buying coverage through one of the health insurance exchanges that HHS is creating under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act reforms.  See Consumers Can Take First Step To Enrolling In New Insurance Options Today.  HHS began encouraging Americans to prepare for enrollment today by setting up their personal account on the HHS Website.  A HHS Twitter Tweet earlier today proclaimed, “Today you can be 1 step closer to getting health ins. by creating your Marketplace account:.” The website today invites Americans to “[a]nswer a few questions to get some personalized info here.”

While many are likely to view the information that HHS asks individuals to share when they create their personal accounts as relatively harmless, it merits noting that the creation of the login and password that will be used to control access to the personal account of registrants is one of those key elements. The text of an e-mail broadcast by HHS restated this invite by stating:  “Starting today you can be one step closer to getting health insurance by creating your Marketplace account. Setting up your account is the first step in the process to get you ready for October 1.  Follow these quick, easy steps and you’ll be on your way:  Provide  basic information like your name, address, and email address;  Choose  your user name and password; Create security questions to add an extra layer of protecting your information.  When open enrollment begins October 1, you’ll be set up to apply for health coverage, compare plans side-by-side, and enroll in a plan.  Create your account today! And after you’ve set up your account, make sure to tell your family and friends to set up theirs too.  Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014.”

 

OIG Report Questions Security Of Data Shared With HHS

On the same day as HHS invited Americans to begin entering their personal data on the Healthcare.gov website, the HHS OIG released a report titled Observations Noted During The OIG Review Of CMS’s Implementation Of The Health Insurance Exchange—Data Services Hub (Report) that raises serious questions about the security of the sensitive personal data that Americans accepting the HHS invitation to explore health care coverage offered through health insurance exchanges will share with HHS as part of the process.

Data shared by Americans as part of the process of exploring and enrolling in coverage through the health insurance exchanges will be collected and shared through a data security Hub that will host and transmit that data.  The OIG Report raises clear concerns about the existing security arrangements that CMS has implemented to protect that data, as well as questions about whether CMS will complete the necessary arrangements to secure and protect that sensitive data before enrollment begins October 1.

The findings reported by OIG in the Report raise significant questions about whether Americans should accept the HHS invitation to begin sharing their data with HHS now, as well as provide another basis for Congressional and public concern about whether CMS’ system for enrolling Americans in and administering the exchanges will be ready for prime time in October..

The findings contained in the Report are disquieting. The Report details the results OIG’s review of the efforts of CMS to implement and test the security of the Hub.  While acknowledging that CMS stated that it is confident that the Hub will be operationally secure before October 1, 2013, the Report makes clear that OIG found reason for concern about the Hub security.

The Report reflects that critical tasks required to implement and test necessary security controls remain unfinished, stating: “[S]everal critical tasks remain to be completed in a short period of time, such as the final independent testing of the Hub’s security controls, remediating security vulnerabilities identified during testing, and obtaining the security authorization decision for the Hub before opening the exchanges. CMS’s current schedule is to complete all of its tasks by October 1, 2013, in time for the expected initial open enrollment period.”

While acknowledging that CMS has indicated that it is committed to complete and implement the necessary security arrangements before enrollment begins on October 1, 2013, the OIG Report also notes that CMS already has missed several critical target dates in its efforts to implement the required security measures.  The Report additionally states: “CMS is working with very tight deadlines to ensure that security measures for the Hub are assessed, tested, and implemented by the expected initial open enrollment date of October 1, 2013. If there are additional delays in completing the security assessment and testing, the CMS CIO may have limited information on the security risks and controls when granting the security authorization of the Hub.” (emphasis added).

The security concerns highlighted in the Report should raise questions about the adequacy of the security of information that an individual might enter on the Healthcare.gov portal in response to the invitation that HHS began extending today.  Furthermore, the reported findings are likely to prompt additional questions about whether ACA and its health insurance exchanges are ready for prime time.  For policymakers, the security questions and delays in implementation also suggest additional security issues may arise when insurers and other parties required to exchange and access information through the CMS Hub interact with the Hub.   This is because CMS must complete its arrangements before other agencies and parties can implement and test their system’s interaction with the Hub and the adequacy of the security of these processes.  The continuing delay by CMS to finalize the Hub and its security will leave little time to identify and resolve issues that might stem from these interactiosn.

In light of the findings contained in the Report, Americans concerned about the security of their personal information may want to hold off entering data in response to the HHS’s invitation.  Additionally, Americans concerned about these and other security issues also may want to share their feedback with HHS and members of Congress.

 Other Questions About Exchange Readiness Remain

Today’s OIG Report of security concerns is just one of many growing concerns about the readiness of CMS and its health insurance exchanges and other health care reforms slated to take effect over the next few months are ready to go effective as scheduled.

Beyond the security issues in the OIG Report, for instance, the General Accounting Office (GAO) and others have expressed concern about arrangements and the need for added funding to prepare for the massive conversion in the U.S. health care system slated to take effect January 1, 2014.  Despite these concerns, Obama Administration officials are continuing to claim readiness to begin enrollment of Americans In federal health care marketplace on schedule on October 1, 2013 and to meet other crucial deadlines necessary to effectively implement the next wave of ACA’s health care reforms in the Department of Health & Human Service’s rollout of new consumer health care education and decision-making tools on its newly designed healthcare.gov website.

While HHS says its tools and other preparations ready to meet the October 1, 2013 enrollment commencement and the January 1, 2014 rollout of the new health insurance exchange system, others are less confident.  For instance, GAO officials recently found that major work that federal and state officials  must complete to timely begin enrollment by October 1 remains unfinished, making it unclear if they will meet the impending October 1, 2013 enrollment kickoff deadline.  See GAO Report and  GAO Report such as::

  • 17 states committed to run their own exchanges have missed March 2013 deadlines on 44% of key activities;
  • Officials creating the small business exchanges still must review plans and train and certify the “navigators” that are supposed to help companies and individuals enroll in plans and complete other key arrangements;
  • A federal  the “data hub” designed to help individuals determine their eligibility and enroll in plans offered through the exchanges has only  undergone initial testing; and
  • The current planned process for coordination of data between employer and insurer plans and the health care exchanges to evaluate eligibility of the millions of Americans expected to apply for subsidies for enrolling in coverage through the exchange presently is for HHS to contact employers by telephone employers to ask if that employer asked that employee enrollee minimum essential coverage providing minimum essential value at an affordable cost that would disqualify the applicant for the subsidy.

Meanwhile, the GAO Reports also provide a glimpse at what the federal government has spent so far on preparing the federal exchanges and the data hub. They indicate that hat the Obama Administration had approximately $394 million on exchange efforts as of March 2013 including:

  • $84 million to CGI Federal, which is building the federal exchange computer infrastructure;
  • $55 million to Quality Software Services, which is building the data hub; and
  • $38 million to Booz Allen Hamilton to provide technical assistance for enrollment and eligibility.

Contractor Booz Allen Hamilton recently has drawn attention as the National Security Association contractor through which the notorious fugitive Edward Snowden allegedly accessed information he disclosed to the public about NSA surveillance of “big data” on Americans and others through the internet.

The GAO also estimated the Obama administration needs Congress to approve an extra $1.5 billion from the budget to provide the Administration with the additional $2 billion that the GAO projects the Administration will need over the next fiscal year to create and run the federal exchanges.  Existing budget  and the political impass between the House and Senate over these and other concerns make it unlikely that Congress will approve these extra funds.

Are you concerned about whether health care reform preparations are on track or have other health care policy concerns. Tell us what you think by responding to our poll. 

Join the discussion about health care reform and share your input by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment & Its  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of Project COPE, The Coalition on Patient Empowerment & It’s Affiliate, the Coalition on Responsible Health Policy.

The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.   If you found these updates of interest, you also be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here .  You also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. You can reach other recent updates and other informative publications and resources.

Recent examples of these publications include:

For important information about this communication click here.

©2013 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Nonexclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc. All other rights reserved.

Getting Your Health Care Reform Message Heard By Key Congressional Leaders

With Congressional Health Care Reform at a critical point this week, many are asking which members of Congress to talk to, how to reach them and what to tell them. The following are some pointers on contacting the key decision-makers and structuring your message.

With the President and Congressional Majority Leaders working to push the President’s Health Care Reform program through this week, Americans wanting to help shape the outcome by providing input need to focus on getting their message to members of Congress whose votes will make a difference.

Many are asking which members of Congress to talk to, how to reach them and what to tell them.  When reaching out to members of Congress on legislation, the following are some pointers that often help improve the effectiveness of the message.

Focus On Communicating With Congress Members Whose Votes Are On The Line

Talking to members of Congress that already have made up their mind is unlikely to make much difference one way or the other.  Therefore, concerned individuals generally should target their communications to those members of Congress and their staff whose minds are not already made up or who are facing political pressure to support party positions contrary to what they believe in the best interest of their constituents. 

In the current environment, this means Democrats who are undecided or whose commitment to support or oppose the legislation can be changed.  For those opposed to the Health Care Reform proposal’s passage, these members of Congress generally would include those Democrats who are undecided, those who have announced plans to break party ranks by voting against passage, and those who have expressed plans to vote for health reform based on party loyalty and pressure.

Various lists of House  Democrats who are likely to decide or influence the outcome of this week’s push for reform are available.  See, e.g., Blue Dog Democrats Hold Key Voice On House Democrats Proposed Health Care Reform Plan; Contact Numbers Here  With time of the essence and the Congressional switchboard likely to be backlogged, the best means of reaching these key Congressional decision-makers is to send a carefully and constructed e-mail or fax specifically addressed to their office. 

The following is a list of Congressional Democrats widely perceived to be among those that are most likely to impact the outcome of Health Care Reform which links to their Congressional e-mail. 

Adler (NJ-03)
Altmire (PA-04)
Arcuri (NY-24)
Baird (WA-03)
Barrow (GA-12)
Berry (AR-01)
Bishop (NY-01)
Boccieri (OH-16)
Boswell (IA-03)
Boren (OK-02)
Boucher (VA-09)
Boyd (FL-02)
Bright (AL-02)
Cardoza (CA-18)
Carney (PA-10)
Chandler (KY-06)
Childers (MS-01)
Connolly (VA-11)
Costa (CA-20)
Costello (IL-12)
Dahlkemper (PA-03)
A. Davis (AL-07)
Davis (TN-04)
Donnelly (IN-02)
Driehaus (OH-01)
Edwards (TX-17)
Ellsworth (IN-08)
Giffords (AZ-08)
Gordon (TN-06)
Guiterrez (IL-04)
Heinrich (NM-01)
Herseth Sandlin (SD-AL)
Hill (IN-09)
Holden (PA-17)
Kanjorski (PA-11)
Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Kissell (NC-08)
Kosmas (FL-24)
Kratovil (MD-01)
Kucinich (OH-10)
Lipinski (IL-03)
Markey (CO-04)
Marshall (GA-08)
Matheson (UT-02)
McIntyre (NC-07)
McMahon (NY-13)
Melancon (LA-03)
Minnick (ID-01)
Mitchell (AZ-05)
Mollohan (WV-01)
Murphy (NY-20)
Nye (VA-02)
Obey (WI-07)
Owens (NY-23)
Perriello (VA-05)
Peterson (MN-07)
Pomeroy (ND-AL)
Rahall (WV-03)
Ross (AR-04)
Schauer (MI-07)
Schrader (OR-05)
Shuler (NC-11)
Skelton (MO-04)
Space (OH-18)
Spratt (SC-05)
Stupak (MI-01)
Sutton (OH-13)
Taylor (MS-04)
Tanner (TN-08)
Teague (NM-02)
Titus (NV-03)
Wilson (OH-06)

You can check out how these members of Congress voted on the Health Care Reform bill that passed the House last November here.

Communicate Effectively: What To Say & How To Say It

Before contacting a member of Congress or staff person, it is helpful to take a few minutes to plan your communication for effectiveness.  The following are some pointers that you might want to consider.

Tell the Congressional office whether you support or oppose the legislation and who you crisply and concisely at the beginning of your message.  Time and other constraints make it likely that at this point in the process, this information is the most relevant and the most likely to make a difference.

Recognize that votes and other political support or opposition are key motivators for many members of Congress who are on the fence.  Therefore, how their vote is likely to impact on voters in their Congressional District and/or fundraising or other support in the upcoming midterm election.  Therefore, opinions of supporters or potential supporters are more likely to get attention than those perceived to be made by a person unlikely to vote for or contribute support in their upcoming campaign.  Therefore, it may make sense to highlight information that would show you as a meaningful source of election or other future political support.  For instance:

  • If you contributed to or are a member of a trade or other association that contributed to or otherwise supported the Congress member in the past, share that information.
  • If you are or have a family member, friend, co-worker or other relationship with a person who is a voter in his or her Congressional District or state, share that information.

Showing awareness and appreciation for the general positions of the member of Congress also can help strengthen your message.  For instance:

  • If you are aware that the Congressperson has acted to support your position or is considering doing so, express your appreciation for that effort and your commitment to support them for their past work and their efforts in support of your position on this critical vote.
  • If you generally support the actions by the member of Congress but are trying to motivate a change in position, share that.
  • Consider acknowledging the pressure that the Congress member is under and your willingness to provide continuing support in the future.

Be concise.  At this point, individual members of Congress have very little to change the content of the proposed legislation.  Detailed discussions about why you support or oppose the legislation probably will get little attention at this time.  If you chose to share this information, limit your reasons to a short list of concise, bullet pointed rationally stated reasons.

Numbers Matter:  Get Others That Share Your Position To Act

At this stage of the game, public opinion as expressed by the number of American voters making contact is critical.  Share these and other resources with others that you know share your views and get them to communicate too.

This Is Only The Beginning: Stay Involved

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the President’s proposal or some other version of health care reform passes this week, Congress already has and will continue to consider other legislation impacting health care reform.  This reality is demonstrated by Congressional actions recently taken on the COBRA premium subsidy extension, Medical reimbursement for physicians, continuing federal efforts to develop and implement federal health care quality and technology standards, and other legislative, regulatory and enforcement actions taken while public attention has been focused largely only on the broader health care reform debate.

Upcoming mid-term elections will significantly impact the nature and scope of these upcoming efforts.  Perhaps even more significantly, the enactment of legislation is only a beginning point.  The real meaning of these or other health care reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Monitoring and staying active in these ongoing processes provides a critical opportunity to continue to monitor your issues and provide input to shape how they are addressed.

We also encourage you and others to join the discussion about these and other health care reform proposals and concerns by joining the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform Group on Linkedin, registering to receive these updates here The author of this article, Curran Tomko and Tarski LLP Health Care Practice Chair Cynthia Marcotte Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health industry clients and others about a diverse range of health care policy, regulatory, compliance, risk management and operational concerns.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here.  

If you need assistance evaluating or formulating comments on the proposed reforms contained in the House Bill or on other health industry matters please contact Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, CTT Health Care Practice Group Chair, at cstamer@cttlegal.com, 214.270.2402 or your other favorite Curran Tomko Tarski LLP attorney. 

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.   If you found these updates of interest, you also be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here . If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail- by creating or updating your profile at here. You can access other recent updates and other informative publications and resources provided by Curran Tomko Tarski LLP attorneys and get information about its attorneys’ experience, briefings, speeches and other credentials here.

For important information concerning this communication click here.  If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject to support@SolutionsLawyer.net.

©2010 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  All rights reserved.

Senate Majority Leader Reid Unveils “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday (November 18, 2009) unveiled the text of his proposed “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590” health care reform bill that he indicated that he and certain other key Senate Democrats now back.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday (November 18, 2009) unveiled the text of his proposed 2,074-page “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590” health care reform bill that he indicated that he and certain other key Senate Democrats now back. 

Based on text of the legislation shared by Senator Reid yesterday available for review here,  the public insurance option provisions in H.R. 3590 would offer states the opportunity to opt out of the program rather than the mandatory public option provided for in the “Affordable Health Care for America Act,  HR. 3962 passed by the House of Representatives on November 7, 2009.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, H.R. 3962 costs at just over $1 trillion.  In comparison, CBO estimates the cost of H.R.3590 at $848 billion. For more details of the Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of H.R. 3590 as proposed by Senator Reid,  see at here.

Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) today (November 19, 2009) introduced his latest health care reform proposal, the America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 (S.1796).  

Many perceive that substantial negotiation and compromise may be necessary before  Senate Majority Leaders will be able to craft a health care reform bill that can both garner the necessary votes to pass the Senate and have a viable chance of surviving the required negotiation with House leaders necessary to reconcile that legislation with the provisions of HR 3962. As was the case with HR. 3962, members of the Senate are likely to debate and weigh a variety of amendments and refinements to the provisions of S.1796 as it deliberates its enactment.  If you or someone else you know would like to receive updates about health care reform proposals and other related legislative, regulatory, and enforcement developments, please:

  • Register for this resource at the link above;
  • Join the Coalition for Responsible Health Policy group at linkedin.com to share information and input and join in other dialogue with others concerned about health care reform;
  • Share your input by communicating with key members of Congress on committees responsible for this legislation and your elected officials directly and by actively participating in and contributing to other like-minded groups; and
  • Be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail- by creating or updating your profile at here

If you have questions about or need assistance evaluating, commenting on or responding to health care or other legislative or regulatory reforms, or any other employment, compensation, employee benefit, workplace health and safety, corporate ethics and compliance practices, concerns or claims, please contact the author of this article, Curran Tomko Tarski LLP Labor & Employment/Employee Benefits  Practice Chair Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. 

Ms. Stamer has more than 22 years of experience advising and assisting business, government and other clients to evaluate and respond to health care, pension reform, workforce and other proposed or adopted changes in federal or state health care, employee benefit, employment, tax and other federal and state laws.  A member of the leadership council of the American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Chair of the ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Section and Employee Benefits & Compensation Group and past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group Ms. Stamer is highly regarded legal advisor, policy advocate, author and speaker recognized both nationally and internationally for her more than 20 years of work assisting U.S. public and private employers, health care providers, health insurers, and a broad range of other clients to respond to these and other health care, employee benefit and workforce public policy, regulatory and compliance and risk management concerns within the U.S. as well as internationally.  Her work includes extensive involvement providing input and assistance about health care, workforce, pensions and social security and other reforms domestically and internationally.  In addition to her continuous involvement in U.S. health care, pensions and savings, and workforce policy matters, Ms. Stamer has served as an advisor on these matters internationally.  As part of this work, she served as a lead advisor to the Government of Bolivia on its social security reform as well as has provided input on ethics, medical tourism, workforce and other reforms internationally.

In addition to her extensive work on health and other employee benefit matters, Ms. Stamer also is Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has continuously has advised and represented employers and others on labor and employment, compensation, employee benefit and other personnel and staffing matters throughout her career. Ms. Stamer is experienced with assisting employers and others about compliance with federal and state equal employment opportunity, compensation and employee benefit, workplace safety, and other labor and employment, as well as advising and defending employers and others against tax, employment discrimination and other labor and employment, and other related audits, investigations and litigation, charges, audits, claims and investigations by the IRS, Department of Labor and other federal and state regulators. Ms. Stamer is a widely published author and popular speaker on health plan and other human resources, employee benefits and internal controls issues.   Her work has been featured and published by the American Bar Association, BNA, SHRM, World At Work, Employee Benefit News and the American Health Lawyers Association.  Her insights on human resources risk management matters have been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, Managed Care Executive, HealthLeaders, Business Insurance, Employee Benefit News and the Dallas Morning News.

If your organization needs assistance with monitoring, assessing, or responding to these or other health care, employee benefit or human resources reforms,  please contact Ms. Stamer via e-mail here, or by calling (214) 270-2402.  For additional information about the experience, services, publications and involvements of Ms. Stamer specifically or to access some of her many publications, see here. For additional information about the experience and services of Ms. Stamer and other members of the Curran Tomko Tarksi LLP team, see here.

Other Information & Resources

We hope that this information is useful to you. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here or e-mailing this information here or registering to participate in the distribution of our Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update distributions here.  Some other recent updates that may be of interested include the following, which you can access by clicking on the article title:

Proposed Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Bill Would Obligate Chemical Facilities To New Background Check, HR & Other Safety & Security Safeguards

IRS Rules For Employer Reporting Of Wages Paid to Nonresident Alien Employees Performing Services In U.S. Change

House Passes Affordable Health Care For America, Health Care Reform Debate Focus Now Moves To The Senate

SHRM Tells Members Say “NO!” To Pelosi-Backed Health Care Reform

IRS Updates Procedures Qualifying Small Employers Can Use To Qualify To Report Employment Taxes Annually Rather Than Quarterly

OSHA Proposes To Change Hazard Communication Standard

IRS Proposes Changes In Actuarial Enrollment Standards For Performance of Actuarial Services Under the Employee Retirement

EEOC Prepares To Broaden “Disability” Definition Under ADA Regulations

IRS Proposes To Update Regulations On Exclusion of Damages Received on Account of Personal Physical Injuries or Physical Sickness To Eliminate Tort Test

OSHA Final Rule Updates OSHA Personal Protective Equipment Standards

DOL Proposes Changes To H-2A Temporary & Seasonal Agricultural Nonimmigrant Worker Certification Procedures & Related Rules

ADAAA Amendment Broader ADA “Disability” Definition Not Retroactive, Employer Action Needed To Manage Post 1/1/2009 Risks

New Study Shares Data On Migrant Health Care Challenges Along The Border

Employer & Other Health Plans & Other HIPAA-Covered Entities & Their Business Associates Must Comply With New HHS Health Information Data Breach Rules By September 23

HHS Reassignment Of HIPAA Enforcement Duties Signals Rising Seriousness of Enforcement Commitment

Speak Up America: Where & How To Read & Share Your Feedback About The Health Care Reform Legislation

For important information concerning this communication click here.   If you do not wish to receive these updates in the future, send an e-mail with the word “Remove” in the Subject here.

©2009 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. All rights reserved.