Health Updates

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Shorts on Long Term Care - Summer 2014

In this issue: - Nursing Facility Survey Trends: Directed Plans of Correction, Privacy Violations and FTag 520 Quality Assurance Committee Citations - COBRA Meets ACA – Time to Update COBRA Notices -...more

Hospitals File Lawsuit Over Medicare ALJ Hearings Delays

Over 460,000 appeals requesting hearings before an administrative law judge (ALJ) were pending in the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) at the end of 2013, with 15,000 new appeals being submitted each week. At...more

Joint Employment Finding Leads to Unexpected $3 Million Liability in Hospital Malpractice Case

When Washington Hospital obtained an insurance policy in 2003 to cover medical claims arising from acts by its employees, its insurer probably did not consider whether hospital employees included workers supplied by a...more

California Appellate Court Requires Actual Viewing of Confidential Information in Data Breach Case Under the California Medical...

In a case against Sutter Health involving records from a stolen office computer, the California Court of Appeal recently issued a decision limiting plaintiffs’ ability to state a claim and obtain statutory damages under the...more

Medicare Part C Update: Co-Insurance Payments

Prior to the implementation of NC Tracks, the North Carolina Medicaid program would pay co-insurance for correctly filed claims for dual eligible residents (Medicare and Medicaid) who were covered primarily by Medicare Part C...more

CMS Publishes Proposed 2015 OPPS and ASC Payment Rule

On July 3, 2014, CMS posted the proposed CY 2015 outpatient perspective payment system (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) payment rule, which was subsequently published in the Federal Register on July 14, 2014 [PDF]....more

Is Off-Label Drug Promotion Protected Free Speech?

It is a very common practice. Drug sales reps visit a client, usually a hospital, a clinic or a doctor, with the sole purpose of selling a drug or medical device. That is the primary way a doctor learns about a drug or...more

Of Mice and Elephants: Halbig and King and The Struggle of Two Federal Appeals Courts to Find Meaning in Words That May or May Not...

At issue in Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell is whether or not subsidies to buy insurance on an exchange are available in both state and federal exchanges. On its face the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) provides for...more

What patients misunderstand about their right of informed consent [Video]

Many patients misunderstand what "informed consent" is all about. They often believe it's about signing a form ahead of surgery that acts as a waiver against any rights they may have for legal recourse if the surgery goes...more

Circuit Court Split Casts Doubt on PPACA Subsidies for Individuals and Employer Penalties in 36 States

Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on July 22 on whether individual premium subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are available in 36 states that have federally run...more

Federal Courts Make Conflicting Rulings on Premium Assistance for Federal Exchange Plan Participants

Does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorize the payment of premium and copayment subsidies, or “premium assistance subsidies,” to individuals enrolled in a federally established Exchange? On July 22, 2014, two federal courts...more

Clash of the Circuits: Federal Exchange Subsidies at Risk?

These four words “established by the state,” at first blush do not appear obtuse or particularly vague. But these four words form the basis for the latest challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and have resulted in two...more

Health Headlines: Also in the News - July 2014 #3

CMS Revises Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Plan Prior Authorization Requirement for Hospices – On July 18, 2014, CMS released a revised a memorandum outlining responsibility for drug payments for hospice...more

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions on Whether ACA Permits Tax Subsidies of Health Care Coverage Purchased Through...

On July 22, 2014, three-judge panels of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Fourth Circuits issued conflicting decisions regarding whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits federal tax credits for...more

Charting the Future of Premium Subsidies under the Affordable Care Act: Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell

On July 22, 2014, two federal appellate courts issued conflicting decisions, within hours of each other, regarding the IRS final rule published on May 23, 2012 (the “IRS Rule”), intended to implement the exchange-related tax...more

Nursing Facility Survey Trends - Directed Plans of Correction, Privacy Violations and FTag 520 Quality Assurance Committee...

Directed Plans of Correction, or DPOCs, have long been part of the arsenal of enforcement sanctions available to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for survey deficiencies, just like civil money penalties (CMPs);...more

Womble Legislative Update

Three and a half weeks into the new state fiscal year we have no newly adjusted budget, and the passage of important bills has slowed to a trickle, but there's a distinct uptick in hostage-taking of bills....more

ACOs And Pay for Value … About the Data

It has been over three years since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its proposed rule and guidance on the development and implementation of Accountable Care Organizations. About four million...more

The 'Inexorable March' Toward Disclosure of Risk Management Materials

A reminder for risk managers at hospitals and other healthcare organizations in Virginia and elsewhere: Plaintiffs’ attorneys can win access to risk management information long considered protected and internal—including...more

Peer Review is not always Privileged

Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and independent diagnostic centers cannot exist without physicians and other medical providers. In order to practice at those facilities, the medical professional often is required to be...more

Appellate Courts Split on Validity of Key ACA Regulation

In two important decisions issued July 22, 2014, both addressing the validity of a key regulation promulgated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), two federal appeals courts reached opposite...more

New Washington Rule Clarifies Authority to Issue Penalties Against TPAs

The Washington State Department of Health has promulgated a new rule clarifying the Department's authority to issue civil penalties against health carriers and third-party administrators. This rule, which is outside the...more

CMS Proposes Elimination of CME Exemption From Sunshine Act

Teaching hospitals and physicians who speak at continuing medical education (CME) programs should be interested in a July 11, 2014, announcement by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The announcement proposes...more

HHS Relabels Invalidated 340b Regulation As “Interpretative Rule”

Earlier this week HHS came out swinging in the latest round of its battle with the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) over the Affordable Care Act’s provisions on 340B and orphan drugs. HHS reasserted...more

HHS Says It Has Authority to Issue Interpretive Guidance on Contested 340B Orphan Drug Rule Despite Court Order Vacating Final...

According to a recent court filing by HHS, the agency should not be precluded from issuing interpretative guidance regarding a provision of the 340B Drug Pricing Program even though a federal district court previously vacated...more

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