Written by: Jacob H. Raehn, Esq. Why are Government Organizations “Targeting” Physicians? Short answer: Law enforcement is seeking to stop the Opioid-abuse epidemic at the source.[1] Long answer: Opioids are the apex predators of the substance abuse world, and they are not choosy about their victims. This includes both prescription drug and street drug abuse. Moreover, prescription opioid addiction often spirals quickly to street drug versions of the same. If you have ever contemplated how someone goes from being a law-abiding citizen with chronic back pain, to picking up a needle to inject heroin into their arm, or the spaces between their fingers and toes, prescription opioids are often how it starts.[2] “Drug poisoning deaths are currently at their highest ever recorded level, and every year since 2009, drug poisoning deaths have outnumbered deaths by firearms, motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide.”[3] In 2014, approximately 129 people died every day…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. New Cyberattack Spreads From Russia to Britain New York Times Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack on Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that … Anthem to Pay Record $115M to Settle Data Breach Suit SC Magazine Anthem to pay record $115M to settle data breach suit … to implement further security measures, such as enhancements to its data security system, … Cyberattack Hits Entire Heritage Valley Health System, Shuts Down Computers WTAE Pittsburgh A cyberattack is affecting the Beaver and Sewickley hospitals and all other care facilities in the Heritage Valley Health System on Tuesday. Howard County Government Website Hacked with Pro-Islamic State Message Baltimore Sun The Howard County government website was hacked Sunday with messages supporting the Islamic State, part of a larger attack on local government … FTC Data Security Enforcement Standard…       Read More

By: Bradley R. Coppedge, esq. “Basis” is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary (6th ed.) as “The value assigned to an asset for the purpose of determining gain (or loss) on the sale or transfer or in determining value in the hands of a donee”. Stated in layman’s terms, your basis in an asset is the threshold for determining if any tax is due when the asset is subsequently sold. The terms we will review to understand basis are Cost-Basis, Adjusted Basis, Carry-Over Basis and Stepped-Up Basis. A person’s basis in an asset is initially his “cost-basis” in a purchased asset, i.e., the amount that was paid for an asset. Assuming there has been no depreciation claimed on tax returns (which would reduce basis), nor any significant capital improvements to the asset (which would increase basis), a person’s cost basis will remain as the basis until the asset is sold. (On…       Read More

By: Mariel Smith, Esq. On June 20, 2017, in the case of Kendrick v. SRA Track, Inc. the Court of Appeals of Georgia held that in a case where the employee was injured in a motorcycle accident, the employer was not time-barred under OCGA. § 34-9-221(h) from controverting his claim on the ground that the accident did not arise out of or in the course of employment because the prescription card given to the employee by the employer’s insurer for pain medications was not an income benefit. The Court reasoned that under the applicable code “where compensation is being paid without an award, the right to compensation shall not be controverted except upon the grounds of change in condition or newly discovered evidence unless notice to controvert is filed within 60 days of the due date of first payment of compensation.” The court held the prescription card used to pay…       Read More

Doctors are facing greater scrutiny for injuries and deaths related to opioids, which have been increasing at an exponential rate, and now is the time to act. Don’t wait until you are served with a lawsuit to evaluate the policies and procedures of your practice. Our Opioid Defense Task Force has the expertise to help you identify areas of vulnerability, and the experience to help you implement policies to reduce your exposure. The Opioid Epidemic According to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999.[1]Fatal overdoses arenot the only risk related to prescription pain medications. Misuse, abuse, and opioid use disorder (addiction) are also potential dangers. Notably, these injuries and deaths are not confined to those people who may fit the stereotype of a drug addict. To the contrary, the CDC reports that an estimated 1 in 5 patients with non-cancer pain or pain-related diagnoses are…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. 200 Million Registered Voters Exposed Due to Open AWS Repository CyberScoop   According to UpGuard Cyber Risk Analyst Chris Vickery, republican contractors Deep Root Analytics, TargetPoint consulting, Inc. and Data Trust … New WikiLeaks Docs Show The CIA Has Been Hacking WiFi Routers For Years Forbes … CIA has been remotely tapping into routers in private homes and businesses with a variety of tools so as to gain access to those computer networks. Patients’ Info Compromised In Torrance Memorial Data Breach Patch.com TORRANCE, CA – Torrance Memorial Medical Center Monday began notifying some patients that email accounts containing “work-related reports” … Cuomo to Order Review of NY Election Cyber Security in Light of Potential Hacking Threats New York Daily News Cuomo Monday ordered a review of the state’s election-related cyber … There have been no credible reports of hacking into the state’s elections in … Internet…       Read More

In response to the rising opioid overdose and death epidemic and related surge in litigation, Hall Booth Smith, P.C. created an Opioid Defense Task Force to work with health care providers to deter and defend against opioid prescription malpractice claims. The HBS Opioid Task Force blog will feature regular blog posts discussing topics such as best practices for healthcare providers, practice groups and hospitals that prescribe and dispense opioids to ensure that they have effective policies and procedures in place about the types and amounts of medications being subscribed in addition to patient monitoring. In starting the task force, our message to physicians and healthcare systems is clear: Don’t wait until you are sued to evaluate your opioid practices and procedures. “The best way to prevent and defend against litigation is to implement and adhere to best practices long before a complaint is made,” said Jeff Saxby, partner at HBS….       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Israel Hacked ISIS Cell to Uncover Laptop Bomb Plot to Down International Flights Newsweek Israel’s top cyber hacking operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) led to the discovery that a small cell of bombmakers in Syria was planning to … Apple Customer Data in China Was Sold Illegally, Police Say New York Times The Cangnan police also said the data included the names, Apple … site JD.com had been exposed in 2013 as part of a security problem. JD.com … Hacking a Heart Pacemaker Isn’t Science Fiction. See What Experts Are Doing to Prevent It AZCentral.com Doctors, hackers and medical device manufacturers discuss how to protect …. The computer system of the National Health Service, the national … Hong Kong Privacy Watchdog Blasts Electoral Office for Massive Data Breach South China Morning Post A report by the Privacy Commissioner found the electoral office failed to…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Apple Reveals HomePod, a Privacy-Focused Smart Assistant ZDNet Siri will now share its learned and personalized data across devices with end-to-end encryption — so that Apple doesn’t know your preferences. Georgia Representative Wants Cyber Attack Victims to Be Allowed to ‘Hack Back’ Breitbart News Georgia Representative Tom Graves proposes that victims of cyber attacks should be allowed to “hack back” in defense. Engadget reports that Tom … West African Computer Hacker Sentenced to Prison WXIA-TV ATLANTA – Eric Donys Simeu, a citizen of Cameroon extradited from France, has been sentenced in Atlanta to more than four years in federal prison … OneLogin Data Breach Poses Worrisome Questions About Cloud Use Fortune OneLogin, a company that sells software that claims to be a secure way for companies to use multiple cloud applications, has experienced a … Frequent Employee Training Helps Stave Off Ransomware ModernHealthcare.com In the…       Read More

By Don Benson, Esq. and Eric Hoffman, Esq. When accommodating a deaf patient, what evidence proves effective communication under Title III of the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”) of 1973? A new Eleventh Circuit case [here] declares that the correct standard examines whether the deaf patient experienced an impairment in his or her ability to communicate medically relevant information with hospital staff. This focus is on the effectiveness of the communication, not on the medical success of the outcome. SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME NOT ENOUGH It is not enough for the hospital to point out that the plaintiff patient could not identify instances where he means of communication resulted in actual misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment or adverse medical consequences. It is not enough for the hospital to point out that there was no evidence that Plaintiffs could not communicate their chief medical complaint or understand a…       Read More