York State Insurance Department Issues Guidance
To Health Plans and Other Insurers Regarding Internet Advertising
On February 1, 2001, the New York State Insurance Department issued guidelines for New York insurers concerning the application of the New York’s Insurance Law to advertisements, solicitations and referrals on the Internet.
The Insurance Department advised that insurance
companies, agents and brokers who maintain web sites which solicit insurance
must be licensed with New York state if they are offering insurance products and
services to New York residents. Non-New
York licensees are required to design their web sites to prevent New York
residents from transacting business with the non-licensee.
The Insurance Department also stated that
advertisements on the Internet for insurance products and services of licensed
New York insurers, brokers and agents may appear on a web site of a person or
entity that is not licensed with the Insurance Department as long as the
advertisement does not contain any recommendations, promotions or other
endorsements of the insurance products and services by the non-licensee. If the insurance products or services being
advertised are being offered by an insurer not licensed in New York, the
advertisements (or the web sites on which they appear) must contain a disclaimer
that the products and services are not available in New York State.
Implementing an Information Security Program for Patient Records
With the release of the patient information privacy
regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, it is
important for medical providers and other entities handling patient information
to establish patient information security programs. Here are some items to consider in
implementing an information security program:
Appoint an information security officer to oversee security
Review current protocols for securing patient information and
determine whether appropriate physical barriers are in place to protect
information. Implement a program for
physically securing patient information (i.e., storing information in locked
cabinets and drawers).
Limit access to computer terminals containing patient information
by locating terminals away from high traffic areas and limit computer access
through user passwords.
Establish a uniform policy regarding the discarding of “old”
information (i.e. require paper documents to be shredded, etc.).
Establish protocols for off-hour access to employees and keep a
list of all persons with such access.
Require departing employees to return access keys.
· Implement technical security procedures to prevent electronic break-ins and encrypt records that will are may be transmitted over the Internet.
Selecting a Name for a Medical Practice in New York
Selecting a name for a new medical practice entity, whether the new entity is to be a limited liability company, limited liability partnership or professional service corporation, is not typically viewed as a complicated matter. Provided that the name chosen is in compliance with laws which prohibit the use of certain words or phrases in entity names (see, for example, Section 204 of the New York Limited Liability Company Law http://assembly.state.ny.us/cgi-bin/claws?law=57&art=3) most entity names are approved by the New York Department of State.
However, there are instances where the New York
Department of State will reject a proposed name on the grounds that it is
indistinguishable from the name of an entity already formed. To avoid this problem, the New York Department
of State accepts written requests to check for name availability. The cost for a name availability search is
$5. Another way to check for name
availability is to utilize the Department of State’s Corporation and Business
Entity Database (to view the database, click here: http://wdb.dos.state.ny.us/corp_public/corp_wdb.corp_search_inputs.show). By typing into the search database some of the
“key” words of the proposed name, the database user will be able to determine
whether there are other entities with the same or similar name. Of course, this type of search is
unofficial. However, using the database
identifies any potential name problems quickly and does not require a written
New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal Denies Sales Exemption
For Medical Imaging Equipment
A recent New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal decision
may have significant impact on the manner in which medical imaging companies
report their purchase or lease of diagnostic equipment such as x-ray devices,
MRI machines and CAT scanners.
In the Matter
of the Petition of University Medical Imaging, P.C., 816312, University
Medical Imaging, P.C. sought an exemption from New York State sales tax for its
diagnostic equipment on the ground that its diagnostic equipment was exempt from
taxation because it was equipment or machinery used by the taxpayer in the
production of tangible personal property offered for sale. The taxpayer
maintained that the images produced by the diagnostic equipment fit within the
definition of tangible personal property offered for sale. The New York State Tax Appeals Tribunal
rejected the taxpayer’s position and affirmed the determination of the
administrative law that the images produced through the diagnostic equipment
were not items separately for sale, but were part of the taxpayer’s delivery of
medical services. As a result, the
taxpayer was denied an exemption for the diagnostic equipment.
Medical imaging companies should take note of this decision and may wish to review with counsel and tax professionals their sales tax obligations with respect to medical imaging equipment.