Legislation and Public Policy


HHS Rule Blocks Enforcement Actions Based Solely on Guidance
January 19, 2021 | Eric D. Fader | Legislation and Public Policy | Litigation | Medicare and Medicaid
On January 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule on “Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement Actions.” The rule, which was effective immediately, states that HHS can rely only on statutes and regulations in bringing civil enforcement actions. Standards set forth in agency guidance documents may not …
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NY Gov. Cuomo Proposes Expanded Telehealth Access
January 13, 2021 | Eric D. Fader | Behavioral Health | Legislation and Public Policy | Medicare and Medicaid | Nursing Homes | Telehealth
In his 2021 State of the State Address on January 10, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced legislation to expand access to telehealth. The proposals will adjust reimbursement incentives to encourage telehealth, relax or eliminate outdated regulatory restrictions on the delivery of telehealth services, and establish training programs for patients and providers and other programs …
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Relief Bill Revamps COVID-19 Telehealth Program
January 8, 2021 | Ada (Kozicz) Janocinska | Behavioral Health | Hospitals | Legislation and Public Policy | Telehealth
The most recent COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law in December includes $250 million in new funding for the federal COVID-19 Telehealth Program, previously discussed here. The program was originally established in March, at the beginning of the pandemic, to help expand connectivity among patients and providers across the country. Telehealth has played …
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AOT Orders a Useful Tool during COVID Pandemic
January 7, 2021 | Frank P. Izzo | Cassandra Rivais DiNova | Behavioral Health | Hospitals | Legislation and Public Policy
The pandemic has prompted the reallocation of hospital beds from psychiatric care to treatment of COVID patients. This has occurred as mental illness has been on the rise. To cope with the insufficient number of psychiatric beds, it is important for hospitals to curtail readmissions. An often-underutilized tool to do so is the assisted outpatient …
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Warning: OCR HIPAA Audits Reveal Widespread Noncompliance
December 23, 2020 | Eric D. Fader | Electronic Health Records | HIPAA | Legislation and Public Policy | Litigation | Private Insurers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released an audit report on HIPAA compliance by 166 covered entities and 41 business associates during 2016-2017. The audits included detailed on-site reviews of entities’ documentation and implementation of HIPAA rules. The release of the report may foreshadow increased enforcement activities …
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NY Updates Guidance for Nursing Home Visits
December 21, 2020 | Wendy Hoey Sheinberg | Stephanie R. Yafeh | Legislation and Public Policy | Nursing Homes
Spending time with family is always important, especially during the holiday season. The holidays are different this year, due to the pandemic, and spending time with loved ones in skilled nursing facilities requires additional planning. In response to recent spikes in Covid-19 cases in skilled nursing facilities, the New York Department of Health in November …
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Proposed HIPAA Modification Would Facilitate Care Coordination
December 17, 2020 | Eric D. Fader | Behavioral Health | Electronic Health Records | HIPAA | Hospitals | Legislation and Public Policy | Private Insurers
A proposed rule released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on December 10 would give healthcare providers more flexibility to share patients’ health information for certain purposes. The rule, titled “Proposed Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule to Support, and Remove Barriers to, Coordinated Care and Individual Engagement,” would loosen HIPAA restrictions …
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Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Expands Telehealth Coverage
December 11, 2020 | Eric D. Fader | Legislation and Public Policy | Medicare and Medicaid | Telehealth
The 2021 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule recently released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) includes the addition of 60 new telehealth services that will be covered and reimbursed by Medicare. The new services will allow Medicare beneficiaries to have greater access to telehealth, with a particular focus on residents of …
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New AKS Safe Harbors Finalized
December 3, 2020 | Geoffrey R. Kaiser | Electronic Health Records | Fraud and Abuse | Hospitals | Legislation and Public Policy | Medical Devices and Wearables | Medicare and Medicaid | Pharmaceuticals | Telehealth
The Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) has finalized new safe harbors and modifications of existing safe harbors under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) to reflect a policy priority favoring a value-based health care system that “pays for health and outcomes” and that will “remove potential barriers to more effective …
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Final Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Rules Released
November 24, 2020 | Eric D. Fader | Fraud and Abuse | Legislation and Public Policy | Medicare and Medicaid
On November 20, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the issuance of long-awaited final rules to modernize the Stark Law and federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). Proposed changes, intended to promote value-based arrangements for providers and coordinated care for patients, …
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