Hospitals & Health Systems

flag_160540827This is the fifth article in our series on the effect of the “slow repeal” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This week’s article focuses on the potential impact of the slow repeal of the ACA on rural communities and healthcare.

Continued Fragile System Leads to Uncertainty or Closure Causing Economic Ripple Effect Throughout Rural America

There are nearly 5,000 short-term, acute care hospitals in the United States, half of which are in rural areas. About four in 10 rural hospitals are located in the South. More than half of rural hospitals are Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) (53.5%); a smaller share of rural hospitals are designated as Sole Community Hospitals (SCHs) (13%), Medicare Dependent Hospitals (MDHs) (8%), and Rural Referral Centers (RRCs) (11%). All of these designations provide enhanced or supplemental reimbursement under Medicare, using different formulas. Rural hospitals that do not qualify for these Medicare programs are reimbursed as standard Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) hospitals. Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA and Its Impact on Rural Healthcare and Communities

abaEmerging Issues in Healthcare Law is coming to the Big Easy. The American Bar Association’s 18th annual conference is slated for New Orleans March 8-11.

Husch Blackwell is a platinum sponsor of this event featuring the most emergent topics facing the healthcare bar. As the industry faces changes and continues to grow under healthcare reform and enforcement, this conference allows attendees a perfect opportunity to stay ahead of the developments. Continue Reading Don’t miss Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law

White gift box wrapped with vibrant red bow and ribbon isolatedOn Dec. 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an update to its 2000 policy regarding gifts of nominal value given to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary. The update increases the nominal value of gifts given to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary to $15 per occurrence and $75 in the aggregate for a year (the previous limit was $10 per occurrence and $50 in the aggregate). If a gift complies with these limits, the arrangement does not need to fit within a “safe harbor” to 42 U.S.C. §1320a-7b(b) (the federal anti-kickback statute). Continue Reading OIG updates policy regarding gifts of nominal value

corporative buildingIn the 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule published on Nov. 16, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the proposed exception for timeshare arrangements that we discussed in our earlier blog post [80 Fed. Reg. 70,886, 71,300 (Nov. 16, 2015)]. As we stated in our earlier post, a timeshare or part-time “space use” arrangement typically provides a physician with the use of office space during scheduled time periods. The space usually includes furnishings with basic medical office equipment, supplies and support personnel so that the physician is able to use the space, on a turn-key basis, to see patients during scheduled times. Prior to the implementation of the new timeshare exception, these types of arrangements needed to be structured to comply with the Rental of Office Space Exception, which includes “exclusive use” requirements that many hospitals and physicians found burdensome [42 C.F.R. § 411.357(a)]. Continue Reading CMS finalizes new timeshare exception to the Stark law

Closeup of a lecturer speaking to a group of business people

Attorneys, compliance officers, accountants, and other professionals who advise clients in the healthcare industry may want to consider attending a coming event next month in Chicago. Featuring Husch Blackwell attorneys Cori Turner and Bill Hopkins, the Fundamentals of Health Law will be held Nov. 15-17.

The American Health Lawyers Association’s event will offer continuing education credits. Continue Reading November in Chicago: Fundamentals of Health Law conference

Pills bottle-92816346On August 31, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its long-awaited Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Proposed Rule, which is designed to prevent facilities from disposing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals by flushing them down the toilet or drain. The proposal creates a new subpart under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (“RCRA”) hazardous waste regulations for the regulation of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated by “healthcare facilities” and “pharmaceutical reverse distributors.” Continue Reading EPA proposes new rule for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals

Contact Us Web Email KeyIn an Aug. 27, 2015, decision, a majority of the Board found that the Purple Communications standard, with respect to an employer’s email system, would apply without exception to healthcare providers and, in particular, for acute care hospitals. Contrary to the cogent arguments put forth by member Johnson in his dissent, the majority found there should be no exception to the presumption set forth under Purple Communications that employees have a statutory right to use an employer’s email system for Section 7 related communications during non-working time. The majority also found that the hospital failed to show “special circumstances” to rebut this presumption, notwithstanding the fact that evidence was submitted of studies finding a correlation between employee distractions and patients’ safety and identifying computers and other electronic communication devices as sources of such distraction. Continue Reading No Purple Communications exception applied to healthcare providers

horizon_lights178441822Proposed Stark exception could impact hospital and physicians timeshare/ part-time agreement arrangements

In July 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a proposed rule pertaining to payment policies under the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (“Proposed Rule”) (80 Fed. Reg. 41,685). In addition to changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and other Medicare Part B payment policies, the Proposed Rule addresses modifications to the Stark Law and provides guidance on CMS’s interpretation of existing Stark Law exceptions. Continue Reading New timeshare exception on the horizon

clipboard with white blank paper masks stethoscope blood pressurThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion June 12, 2015, lambasting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (“CMS”) rationale in implementing the ban on “per-click” space and equipment leases under the Stark Law. This ban, which went into effect Oct. 1, 2009, was effectively challenged by the Council for Urological Interests (“Council”), which was also behind the successful challenge against the application of the Stark Law to hospital lithotripsy services in 2002.

Among the more colorful descriptions used by the Court in describing CMS’s position were that it was “incomprehensible,” “tortured”, and “the stuff of caprice.” And on an even more scathing note, the Court described CMS’s reading of the legislative history of the Stark Law as belonging to the “cross-your-fingers-and-hope-it-goes-away school of statutory interpretation.” Continue Reading Per-click leases back in business – but for how long?

HB initials LogoNational healthcare publication Modern Healthcare yesterday announced Husch Blackwell LLP is the seventh-largest healthcare law firm in the U.S. according to its 2015 rankings, up from No. 12 last year. Utilizing differing measurement techniques, American Health Lawyers Association also ranked healthcare practices, placing Husch Blackwell as fifth-largest in the country in its 2015 list, released earlier in June.

AHLA is the nation’s largest, nonpartisan, 501(c)3 educational organization devoted to legal issues in the healthcare field. Currently 152 Husch Blackwell professionals are AHLA members, and the firm ranks first in membership in Texas and second in both Missouri and Colorado.

The recognition from Modern Healthcare and AHLA validates Husch Blackwell’s focus and investment in the healthcare industry. “We are committed to continuing to add additional depth and expertise to our national platform in an effort to better serve our clients and fulfill our industry first brand promise,” said Curt Chase, partner and leader of the firm’s healthcare, life sciences and education practice.

Husch Blackwell’s healthcare attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in all types of transactional litigation, regulatory enforcement actions and investigations covering all facets of the industry. The firm represents leading hospitals and health systems, academic medical centers, post-acute centers, physicians and other healthcare providers; life sciences investors and research facilities; and pharmacies, prescription drug benefit managers, drug manufacturers and other stakeholders in the supply chain.