News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

CDC Updates & Expands COVID-19 Increased Risk List

CDC LogoThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated and expanded its list of People Who Are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness for getting COVID-19.  Changes are based upon continuous detailed review of available evidence.  [For example, see Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, volume 69, number 24, 759-765 (6/19/2020).]   Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions remain at increased risk, but age- and condition-related risks are further defined.  The specific age threshold has been removed from the older adult classification, and CDC now states risk increases steadily as one ages.  For additional information, see the CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

CDC Clarifies Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

Photo of 2 opioid prescription bottlesThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recently released a letter clarifying its 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.  The letter is actually dated 2/28/19, and was written by Deborah Dowell, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and a co-author of the 2016 Guideline.  The clarification letter addresses concerns of physicians caring for patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other serious illnesses.  Treatment options for pain are often being limited by laws or denied by insurers who say they are following the 2016 Guideline.  In her letter, Dr. Dowell restates that the 2016 Guideline “provides recommendations for primary care clinicians who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.” [My underline.]  She then notes “Because of the unique therapeutic goals, and balance of risks and benefits with opioid therapy in such care, clinical practice guidelines specific to cancer treatment, palliative care, and end of life care should be used to guide treatment and reimbursement decisions regarding use of opioids as part of pain control in these circumstances.”  Dr. Dowell also cites “useful guidance” documents, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology Management of Chronic Pain in Survivors of Adult Cancers, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Adult Cancer Pain, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Evidence Based Management of Sickle Cell Disease Expert Panel Report.

Cyberattackers Increasingly Target Healthcare Sector

Image of criminal inside computer screenBloomberg Law recently summarized several reports on increasing cyberattacks in the healthcare sector.  The Cylance 2017 Threat Report examined “anonymized threat data collected between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017, and found 58% of ransomware attacks impacted healthcare industries in 2017, a dramatic increase from the 34% in 2016.  In 2018, the SamSam ransomware has been used in numerous cyberattacks.  A 10/30/18 Symantec blog post reported 24% of the SamSam attacks affected the healthcare sector.  The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Healthcare’s Most Wired: National Trends 2018 report found only 29% of healthcare organizations have a comprehensive security program.  At least 90% of healthcare organizations have a dedicated chief information security officer as well as report security deficiencies and progress to their boards, but only 76% provide at least annual security updates and only 34% had a board-level committee responsible for security program oversight.  Perhaps most significantly, less than 1/3 of healthcare organizations participated with formal analysis organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security Cyber Information Sharing and Collaboration Program (CISCP) and National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), and the Department of Health & Human Services Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3; formerly known as the Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center or HCCIC).

New Express Breast Milk Guidelines

Baby drinking from bottleUnder new guidelines created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk,” as well as provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”  Employees exempt from Fair Labor Standards Act requirements concerning overtime pay are not eligible for such break time, but state laws may require such protections for all employees.  For additional information, see the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #73.

Healthcare System Economics Program

Picture of money in a pill container.The C-M Journal of Law and Health is presenting Form & Reform:  The Economic Realities of the United States Health Care System on Wednesday, 31 March 2010, at 5:00pm, in the C-M College of Law Moot Court Room.   This program will analyze the economics of the current state of healthcare in the United States and the potential effects of proposed legislation, as well as examine potential legal issues for providers, insurers, and consumers.   The speaker will be Mark Votruba, Associate Professor of Economics, CWRU Weatherhead School of Management.   Dr. Votruba received his PhD from Princeton University in 2003.   His primary research interests are in public policy, health economics, and the allocation of medical resources in the US health care system.   The March 31st Form & Reform program is open to the public, and offers one free hour of CLE.