Marilyn Lamar, JD, is a business attorney with experience in corporate and contract law, technology licensing, health law, distribution arrangements and outsourcing. She represents clients ranging from family- held businesses to not-for-profit organizations and publicly traded companies. Before joining Liss & Lamar, P.C., she was a partner with McDermott Will & Emery, LLP.
HIMSS: How did you become involved with HIMSS?
Lamar: I first became involved with HIMSS more than 15 years ago when I was representing hospital clients in negotiating major IT systems. At the same time, I was asked to be on the technology committee for my law firm, and I found much of the general IT information from HIMSS useful in addressing IT issues in that context.
I initially attended the annual conference, and then, began attending the Chicago area HIMSS meetings. I offered to share some papers I wrote on EHR issues with a HIMSS staff person at a Chicago area HIMSS meeting, and was asked to join a committee and work group.
HIMSS: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with HIMSS?
Lamar: Access to cutting-edge technical information has been great, but it has been equally valuable to develop relationships with the staff and volunteers who are so willing to share their technical and real-world knowledge. It is terrific to be able to call someone and bounce ideas around.
HIMSS: Please describe some of the main challenges that those involved with ACOs are facing.
Lamar: ACOs are very complicated organizations on the operational level and present numerous legal issues. Some have had significant delays in receiving the necessary data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which slows down the important first steps of assessing the patient population. The legal issues regarding who has access to data, how it may be used and when it may have to be returned to the federal government are quite complex, requiring evaluation of how HIPAA works in this context and the limitations of the CMS data use agreement.
The complexity will become even more apparent, if there is a privacy or security breach of an ACO or one of its members. Ideally, the ACO agreements will address in advance the reporting and other responsibilities of each party.
HIMSS: What will be the main focus of your discussion during the Sept. 11event?
Lamar: The main focus of my presentation will be on the HIPAA privacy and security aspects of an ACO, being aware of the limitations imposed by the CMS data use agreements and planning for how breach or other problems will be addressed.
HIMSS: What advice would you give professionals just entering the healthcare or IT field?
Lamar: Of course, joining and becoming in active in HIMSS will be a great first step for both technical knowledge and getting to know a great group of colleagues. It is an exciting field, but it is necessary to allow time to keep up to date.
Lamar is a speaker for the HIMSS virtual event, “Ensuring Accountability of Care: Understanding and Overcoming the Legal Barriers to Care Delivery,” which will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Her presentation, “HIPPA/HITECH Issues for ACOs: An Update,” will review HIPAA and HITECH issues that relate directly to accountable care organizations (ACOs). Registration for this event is free of charge