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In brief: A fluoride scheme, a HIPAA compliance warning, and the implications of Question 2 in Massachusetts

Oct. 11, 2022
Learn about a rogue reduction in a Vermont town's fluoride, how Massachusetts Question 2 could have wider implications, and why three practices' HIPAA cases send an "important message."

Three practices dinged for HIPAA

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settled three cases with dental providers for potential HIPAA violations regarding patient records, sending an “important message” regarding HIPAA. The providers faced investigations on allegedly not providing requested records to patients in a timely manner, prompting the OCR director to state that “These three right of access actions send an important message to dental practices of all sizes that are covered by the HIPAA Rules to ensure they are following the law,” and that “Patients have a fundamental right under HIPAA to receive their requested medical records, in most cases, within 30 days. I hope that these actions send the message of compliance so that patients do not have to file a complaint with OCR to have their medical records requests fulfilled.”

Water department employee lowered town fluoride for years

In a situation that has “flabbergasted” doctors and residents, a town water official in Vermont quietly lowered fluoride levels nearly four years ago, citing concerns about changes to its sourcing and the recommended levels. The employee later apologized for the move, saying he “always only had good intentions based on a misunderstanding.”

What Question 2 in Massachusetts means (and could elsewhere)

Question 2 in November in Massachusetts is a ballot bill that would mandate that insurers pay 83% of claim revenues for patient care, a groundbreaking initiative for the state that could have broader reach and implications. Here’s a breakdown from wghb.com in Massachusetts on what the bill means, and arguments in support of and against it.

CDC to end daily COVID-19 case, death reports

After several years of daily reporting of COVID-19 cases and death, starting on Oct. 20, the CDC will publish such data only every Wednesday. In an update from earlier in October, the agency said the less frequent reporting allows for additional reporting flexibility, reduces the reporting burden on states and jurisdictions, and maximizes surveillance resources.

At-home whitening: A breakdown

The New York Times took on the topic of at-home teeth whitening, breaking down the different types of products such as toothpastes, whitening strips, LED light whitening kits, and more, and their safety and overall efficacy.