When Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq. (“Title IX”), which prohibits many forms of discrimination on the basis of sex, appears in the news or on social media, we typically associate it with traditional colleges and universities.  But recent case law suggests that Title IX likely applies to a broader set of institutions, including, under certain circumstances, some hospitals.

Over the years, an extensive body of federal case law and regulation has arisen around Title IX, imposing detailed requirements on institutions concerning how they must respond to and investigate complaints, how complaints must be adjudicated and the nature of appropriate remedies.  Moreover, these regulations also have recently been in flux.  As a result, Title IX compliance often requires significant institutional resources and constant vigilance.

Because compliance with Title IX requires significant attention from the institution, it is critical that hospitals determine whether they meet the developing criteria to be subject to the requirements of Title IX and, if so, whether they have in place the proper policies, procedures and personnel to ensure compliance.  In this article, we describe those criteria and provide a brief summary of the broader legal context. Continue Reading Do the Detailed Federal Requirements for Addressing Sex Discrimination Apply to Your Hospital?

Under Texas law, physicians that will be called upon to complete and sign a death certificate in Texas are required to register to file the certificate electronically with the Texas Department of State Health Services. The Texas Medical Board is authorized to take action against providers who do not register for electronic filing of death certificates under Tex. Health and Safety Code §193.005. Until recently, registration and filing of death certificates was made through the Texas Electronic Registrar (“TER”).

On January 1, 2019, the Texas Department of State Health Services replaced TER with a new platform, the Texas Electronic Vital Events Registrar (“TxEver”). TxEver supports all vital events operations, including reporting, registration, and amendments of birth and death records, and represents one of the first fully integrated vital records systems nationwide. TxEver will additionally support the Texas remote birth issuance system, which allows users to obtain copies of birth certificates without having to visit the vital records offices in their county of birth. Continue Reading New fully integrated record system, TxEver replaces Texas Electronic Death Registrar

Hospitals are not happy with CMS’ recent changes to hospital outpatient payments.  Two hospital associations and three hospitals claim in a federal lawsuit filed December 4, 2018, that CMS had no authority to change the payment scheme for off-campus provider-based departments (PBDs).  The change took effect January 1, 2019, and is estimated to reduce payments to hospitals by $380 million in the first year of a two-year phase-in period.

The plaintiffs, including the American Hospital Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges, are seeking judgment that the payment change is unenforceable as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief.  The complaint against US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The plaintiffs’ assert that the reduced payments threaten patient access to care and harm the providers’ ability to meet the health care needs of their patients, including some of the most vulnerable populations.  Continue Reading Hospitals React Strongly to CMS’ Changes to Hospital Outpatient Payments

The regulation of pharmacies at the state level might not be what Justice Louis Brandeis had in mind as an example of a “laboratory of democracy,” but for pharmacists and consumers, state-level policy-making can have important real-world effects and encourage efforts on the federal stage. Over the past twelve months a number of regulatory trends have played out that define the current operating environment for pharmacies, many of which are anticipated to continue in 2019. Continue Reading Recent Developments in State Pharmacy Law & Regulation: Looking Back at 2018 and What to Expect in 2019

This is the third article in our series on the new “Pathways” rules for Accountable Care Organizations.  Our first two articles in the series can be found here.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its anticipated final rule revising the Medicare Shared Savings Program to improve cost savings and quality.

With the changes in the final rule, the revamped program, called “Pathways to Success,” is projected to save Medicare $2.9 billion over 10 years—that’s $0.7 billion more than projected in the proposed rule issued August 9, 2018. Continue Reading The “Pathways to Success” Final Rule is Here: ACO’s Face Big Decisions

outside a hospitalLast August, the Healthcare Worker Violence Protection Act was signed into law by Illinois Governor Rauner. This law creates a new set of employee rights and obligations for healthcare providers in Illinois. Generally, this law is designed to provide personal safety to frontline healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, and protect the rights of those who would raise or report safety concerns and assaults by expanding the Illinois Whistleblower Act. Continue Reading Workplace Violence Protection Act: Illinois Hospitals and Healthcare Providers Face New Challenge

One conclusion drawn from the 2018 midterm elections is health care is a big deal for Americans. In fact, according to pre- and post-election polling, health care may be the biggest deal, as a plurality of voters identified health care as their top issue in casting their vote.   Continue Reading Health Care Drives Voters at the Polls, but Will Health Care Drive Policymaking?

A new rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on October 26, 2018, would revise the way the agency validates the risk adjustment data and collects repayments from Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations. With the new methodology, CMS is expecting to return $4.5 billion in savings to the Medicare Trust Fund over 10 years, according to an October 26 CMS news release. Continue Reading CMS Issues Proposed Rule Addressing Payment Error in Medicare Advantage, Expects to Recover $4.5 Billion Over 10 Years

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (“RAINN”) reports that sexual assault and abuse of people with disabilities often goes unnoticed, and, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, people with disabilities are victimized by crime at higher rates than the rest of the population. Too often, it is the caregivers who are the perpetrators. While one with a disability may give consent to sexual activity, there can never be consent between one who is disabled and receiving care and a member of the caregiving staff. Continue Reading Sexual Abuse of People with Disabilities

In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, New York, California and a number of other jurisdictions, both local and state, have passed new laws aimed at combatting sexual harassment in the workplace.  The New York laws require written sexual harassment prevention policy, assurance that all current and new employees, and even applicants for employment, receive a copy of the policy, and mandate annual sexual harassment training for all employees.  In addition, New York law now provides that employers can be liable for sexual harassment of nonemployees in the workplace, such as contractors, vendors and subcontractors.  Recent legislation prohibits employers from using mandatory arbitration provisions in employment contracts or nondisclosure agreements except when this is the victim preference.  Let me suggest that there are some important lessons to be learned from these laws. Continue Reading Lessons From Changes to New York State’s Sexual Harassment Laws