Healthcare Law Blog

Shaping the World of Healthcare Law

On Friday, August 26, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (the “Departments”) published a final rule updating key regulations pertaining to the No Surprises Act (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule changes requirements promulgated through prior interim final rules[i] to conform with two rulings by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.[ii] The Final Rule addresses specific disclosure requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers related
Continue Reading Final Rule Changes No Surprises Act Requirements

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals with emergency departments and participating in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) programs to provide medical screening, treatment and transfer for patients with emergency medical conditions (EMCs) or women in labor.[1] EMTALA, which was enacted in 1986 to address concerns about patient dumping, went unnoticed for many years, but has garnered heightened attention as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more recently, the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (Dobbs).[2]
Continue Reading EMTALA in the Post-Dobbs World

In response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (the “PHE”), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued numerous “blanket waivers” to increase access to medical services, and ease the regulatory burden on providers across the health care industry. In order to help providers understand the current status of the various waivers – some of which have been codified into law or adopted through the regulatory process, and others of which have already been terminated – CMS has issued a “Road Map” through a series of Fact Sheets for different provider types.
Continue Reading CMS Issues a “Roadmap” for the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Blanket Waivers

The Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) was signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022. The expansive legislation includes key health care provisions, including drug pricing reforms, inflationary rebates, Medicare Part D benefit redesign, as well as myriad other updates. Overall, the healthcare provisions of the IRA reflect the Administration’s goal of expanding the accessibility of healthcare to individuals by reducing costs to beneficiaries and capping charges by drug manufacturers. Nonetheless, additional clarification in the form of regulations is anticipated, as the text of the IRA defers multiple matters to the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) for
Continue Reading Healthcare Reforms Under the IRA: Expanding Access to Care

The Biden Administration has expressed a deep concern about nursing home owners and related parties excessively profiting off of the residents they serve to the detriment of quality care. To address this concern, President Biden has asked Congress to implement laws that will empower federal agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase accountability for facility ownership and expand enforcement authority at the ownership level. In addition, the federal agencies that regulate and oversee nursing homes (and some states[1]) have or plan to take action to ensure more transparency, compliance and enforcement regarding nursing
Continue Reading Nursing Homes Beware: the Government has Increased Its Scrutiny of Related Parties

On August 19, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) posted a favorable advisory opinion, AO 22-16, with respect to the provision of gift cards to Medicare Advantage (“MA”) plan enrollees who complete certain steps in an online patient education program. This opinion underscores potential flexibility for with Medicare Advantage Organizations (“MAOs”) and their vendor partners to offer incentives to patients to engage in learning and health care engagement activities that may improve health outcomes without inappropriately steering patients toward particular providers or MA plans.
Continue Reading OIG Blesses Gift Cards for Patient Engagement with Education Tool

The Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) recently issued Advisory Opinion 22-08 (the “Advisory Opinion”), concluding that the provision of limited use smartphones by a federally qualified health center (“FQHC”) to existing, low-income patients (the “Arrangement”) lacked the intent required to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”)[1] and was not likely to generate remuneration prohibited under the federal Civil Monetary Penalties Law prohibiting inducements to health care program beneficiaries (“Beneficiary Inducement CMP”)[2].
Continue Reading OIG Issues Favorable Advisory Opinion For Federally Qualified Health Center’s Smartphone Loan Program

On August 5, President Biden signed two bills into law that extend to ten years the statute of limitations for civil and criminal enforcement actions for fraud on the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”). These two bills—the PPP and Bank Fraud Enforcement Harmonization Act of 2022 and the COVID-19 EIDL Fraud Statute of Limitations Act of 2022—were both passed by Congress with bipartisan support. 
Continue Reading Statute of Limitations for PPP and EIDL Fraud Extended to Ten Years

The United States’ recent False Claims Act (“FCA”) prosecution in United States v. Prometheus Group, et al., is a reminder that the government will use the FCA to target medical device manufacturers for off-label use of medical devices, even where healthcare providers have decided the use is safe and effective. In Prometheus Group, the government alleges that the defendant medical device manufacturer trained providers to re-use disposable rectal probes against U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) recommendations, causing the providers to submit false claims for payment to Medicare for the services mis-using the probes. The complaint alleges that Prometheus put
Continue Reading The Government Seeks FCA Liability for Off-Label Use of Medical Devices

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently tossed a $5.5 million jury verdict finding that a physician violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”) by submitting claims for items and services ordered subsequent to a violation of the Federal health care program anti-kickback statute (“AKS”). According to the appellate court, the trial court’s jury instruction “brushed aside causation” and “misinterpreted” a 2010 amendment to the AKS.
Continue Reading Eighth Circuit: In False Claims Act Cases Based On Kickback Violations, the Kickback Violation Must Be the “But For” Cause of the Items and Services Subject to the Claim

On July 20, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a Special Fraud Alert warning physicians and other practitioners to exercise caution when entering into telemedicine arrangements that have certain suspect characteristics.
Continue Reading OIG Warns Physicians About Entering into Arrangements with Telemedicine Companies

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently announced that it is accepting applications for participation in a new population-based track (“Track 3”) as part of the Maryland Total Cost of Care Model’s Maryland Primary Care Program (“MDPCP”), which will begin on January 1, 2023 and continue through December 31, 2026. Track 3 provides a new option for participants to provide high value primary care services to Medicare beneficiaries within the State of Maryland.
Continue Reading New Population-Based Option for the Maryland Primary Care Program in 2023

Assembly Bill 2080[1] (“AB 2080”), known as the “Health Care Consolidation and Contracting Fairness Act of 2022,” was approved by the California Assembly on May 26, 2022, and if passed by the Senate and signed into law before the August 31st recess, will significantly affect healthcare M&A activity in California for a broad spectrum of healthcare providers, payors and other stakeholders.[2] 
Continue Reading Putting the Brakes on Healthcare M&A and Provider/Payor Contracting: AB 2080 Poised to Dramatically Impact Healthcare Transactions in California

The AHLA’s Annual Meeting held June 27-29 in Chicago reunited healthcare attorneys across the country. The diverse group of attendees were eager not only to reconnect in-person, but also to process the changes that the now-easing pandemic has brought to all corners of the healthcare industry. The conference presenters grappled in real-time with the transitory nature of the healthcare landscape today, including the significant role that technology has played in driving shifts in care delivery. The panel discussions assessed which changes to healthcare delivery and reimbursement would continue after the pandemic, and in what format.
Continue Reading Recap of AHLA’s Annual Meeting