Health Law Insights: November Newsletter

by Roetzel & Andress

ALERT: "No Contract" Disclaimer in Employee Handbook Upheld by Illinois Court
Author: Brian T. Bedinghaus  
Employee handbooks have long been a trap for the unwary employer that desires merely to establish a set of rules and policies without undermining an at-will employment relationship with its employees. To avoid establishing unintentional contracts with employees, employers should include in their handbook a clear and conspicuous disclaimer that the handbook is "not a contract" and merely contains "guidelines" or "policies"...  Read More

ALERT: 2017 Physician Fee Schedule Includes Clarification of Space and Equipment Rental Exception Under Stark Law 
Author: Ericka L. Adler  
The Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicaid and Medicaid Services ("CMS") recently finalized the Calendar Year 2017 Physician Fee Schedule ("2017 Fee Schedule"), which includes a restatement of a provision under the law known as the "Physician Self-Referral Law" or "Stark" (42 U.S.C. § 1395nn). Under Stark, which was initially enacted on December 19, 1989, physicians are generally...  Read More

ALERT: New HIPAA Guidance Sheds Light on Existing Rules
Author: Christina M. Kuta  
Recently, regulators issued new guidance related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"), Pub.L. 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936, enacted August 21, 1996. Specifically, on October 6, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") issued "Guidance on HIPAA & Cloud Computing." While this publication created no new obligations for those subject to HIPAA, it clarified existing obligations and expectations to remain HIPAA-compliant...  Read More

ALERT: Home Health Pre-Claim Review Halted - Except for Illinois Agencies
Author: Avery Delott  
In August 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") began a Pre-Claim Review ("PCR") demonstration for all Illinois-based home health agencies. CMS described the intent of the PCR demonstration as testing whether PCR would improve methods to identify, investigate, and prosecute Medicare fraud related to the provision of home health services (while also eyeing a reduction in expenditures for such services). The PCR demonstration was designed as a three-year project to begin in Illinois and then be rolled-out at intervals in Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Massachusetts. These states were selected since they had demonstrated instances of home health fraud and billing abuse that were significantly greater than abuses in other states... Read More

ALERT: CMS Issues Final MACRA Rule: Expands Exemptions and Flexibility for Smaller Practices 
Author: Mazen Asbahi  
Last Friday, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") issued its Final Rule implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 ("MACRA"), which marks a milestone in efforts to improve and reform the health care system, especially, the shift from fee-for-service payments and towards a value-based payment system. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2017...  Read More

INDUSTRY NEWS: Have Physicians Finally Joined the Working Class?  
Physicians are known to be masters of self-sacrifice, and self-control. They undergo years of training and make substantial emotional and financial sacrifices until they complete their training. The reward at the end of the road is a fulfilling job where he or she can treat people who are in need and enjoy the emotional, personal, and financial fruits of their labor. But is this the reality? At a time when the job satisfaction of physicians is at all-time low, and burnout at all-time high, alarming depression rates, and a shocking 400 physicians suicide per year in the United States. One can't help but wonder if physicians have finally joined the working class...  More Information

INDUSTRY NEWS: We Need to Stop Paying Doctors for Treating Us and Start Paying Them for Healing Us -- Here's Why 
Forbes | Public Health  
Since Donald Trump's presidential election win, many are wondering whether Obamacare will survive - or whether it will disappear "on day one" of the new presidency. But future progress in health care doesn't only depend on Obamacare. If we want to see a better health care going forward, paying for making people healthy, and making personalized and home-care a reality makes can get us far, too...  More Information

INDUSTRY NEWS: Patient-Facing Apps to Outpace Clinician mHealth This Year, Red Hat Survey Says 
Healthcare IT News  
Health care organizations are moving fast to embrace mobile apps, with 82 percent implementing a mobile strategy, and 78 percent achieving positive ROI from mobile app investments already, according to a new survey published by open source software specialist Red Hat. In the coming year, Red Hat found, U.S. demand for patient-facing apps (60 percent) is expected to slightly outpace demand for internal efficiencies (59 percent) as a main motivation for developing health care apps...  More Information


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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