MorningRX: August 25, 2023


HHS awards money for mental health awareness training, UnitedHealthcare pays $80,000 over potential HIPPA violation, and the FDA issues a recall for sub-acute care ventilators.

HHS Awards Over $64 Million for Mental Health Awareness Training

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded more than $64 million to several states and territories for mental health awareness training, the agency announced in a press release. The funding, which was made through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and aims to tackle the current mental health crisis across the country. Over $5 million of the funding will go towards training that prepares individuals and communities to respond appropriately and safely to persons with mental health challenges.

“This funding underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to improving access to mental health services across the country,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a release. “With these critical investments, states and territories will be able to continue to serve as an invaluable safety net for mental health services for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including those impacted by gun violence, disasters, and other emergencies.”

UnitedHealthcare Pays $80,000 to HHS Over HIPPA Medical Records Request

In other news from the Department of Health and Human Services, UnitedHealthcare has paid the agency $80,000 over a HIPPA violation concerning patient medical record requests. The insurance company allegedly did not respond to an individual’s request for a copy of their medical records for 6 months. The HHS’s Office for Civil Rights received several complaints from the individual and an investigation determined that UnitedHealthcare’s failure to provide timely access to the requested records was a potential violation of the HIPAA right of access provision.

“Timely access to health information is one of the cornerstones of HIPAA. OCR will continue to ensure that covered entities with a record of delaying or denying access requests will be subject to enforcement,” OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer said in a release. “Health insurers are not exempt from the right of access and must ensure that they are taking steps to train their workforce to ensure that they are doing all they can to help members’ access to health information.”

FDA Issues Recall for Sub-Acute Care Ventilators

The FDA has issued a Class I recall for Carina sub-acute care ventilators due to the presence of contaminants in the device’s airpath, according to a release. The contaminants were found to exceed the acceptable levels if used for more than 30 days. During an investigation, polyether polyurethane was found, which can result in the emission of a potential carcinogen. Exposure to the carcinogen can result in toxic reactions and death.

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