Spring is rapidly approaching which means SXSW 2020 is right around the corner! Husch Blackwell’s healthcare team is most excited about the Health & Medtech track which brings together innovators, entrepreneurs and investors in the healthcare and technology space. Members of the team will be participating in the various sessions and events that are occurring Friday, March 13 – Tuesday, March 17 in conjunction with the SXSW Interactive Festival.

The SXSW Health Track brings like-minded professionals into Texas from all over the country. Even if you do not have an official SXSW badge, there are still numerous opportunities to participate in engaging discussions and networking events. For those lucky enough to attend, you will surely walk away with energy, knowledge and a passion after the festival! With cutting-edge healthcare groups like Health Tech Austin, Capital City Innovation, Dell Medical School’s Health Innovation Lab, Austin is seasoned and poised to host Health & Medtech track attendees.

With our office located on Congress Ave., we must be involved in the action! We are pleased to sponsor and participate in the following activities throughout the weekend.

Health Track Onsite Review Committee. We are proud to sponsor this weekend-long effort for the third year. The committee provides feedback to SXSW leadership regarding the SXSW health track. The group meets three times during SXSW in order to share and summarize their feedback and submit a written report to SXSW. The committee was formed several years ago by our friends at Energizing Health.

Onsite Review activities include:

  • Friday, March 13th: Reception at Husch Blackwell’s Austin office
  • Saturday, March 14th- Dinner at Headliners Club
  • Sunday, March 15th- Breakfast at Second Bar+ Kitchen

Impact Innovation Forum. On Saturday, March 14 and for the fifth year in a row, The Impact Innovation Forum will bring together a global community of innovators. Panelists will discuss innovation around the world and how different regions are approaching global bridges. Attorney Coty Hopinks-Baul will lead this effort for Husch Blackwell.

If you’re interested in more health news out of SXSW, follow our Twitter feed @HBHealthcarelaw for the latest updates.

A teaching hospital in Connecticut affiliated with Yale Medical School is facing age and disability discrimination allegations after imposing mandatory medical testing for doctors 70 and older who seek medical staff privileges.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has filed suit against Yale New Haven Hospital, claiming that subjecting older physicians to medical testing before renewing their staff privileges violates anti-discrimination laws.

According to the EEOC, the hospital’s “Late Career Practitioner Policy” dictates that medical providers over the age of 70 must undergo both neuropsychological and ophthalmologic examinations – a policy the federal agency claims violates both the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”).  The EEOC claims that the individuals required to be tested are singled out solely because of their age, instead of a suspicion that their cognitive abilities may have declined. The agency further charges that the policy also violates the ADA because it subjects the physicians to medical examinations that are not job-related or consistent with business necessity. Continue Reading Hospital Sued for Requiring Older Doctors to Undergo Medical Screenings

In this “Hospice Insights: The Law and Beyond” episode, the hospice team shares insights on how to manage and succeed in responding to additional documentation requests (“ADR”) stemming from Targeted Probe and Educate (“TPEs”) projects. We discuss the unique features of TPE and winning strategies for responding. Check out the Hospice Resource Library for tips and tools related to this episode.

The episode is available at: https://huschblackwell.com/newsandinsights/breaking-down-tpes-facts-and-strategies

 

We are thrilled both to welcome four new hospice attorneys to Husch Blackwell and for the launch of their new podcast “Hospice Insights: The Law and Beyond.”

In this first episode, Meg Pekarske, Bryan Nowicki,  Erin Burns and Andrew Brenton discuss the exciting opportunities resulting from their move to Husch Blackwell. The episode is available at: https://www.huschblackwell.com/newsandinsights/your-hospice-team-has-a-new-home.

There is a trend in healthcare toward customer-centrism—placing the interests of the consumer before all other considerations.  The trend may be slow in its growth, but for those healthcare organizations that embrace the idea and obsess over improving the consumer’s experience throughout their healthcare journey, there can be a payoff.  But improving consumer experience in healthcare takes a commitment and courage to venture outside of traditional comfort zones.

For years, the polarized debate over healthcare policy has included advocacy for a more consumer-directed healthcare system.  The argument in favor says consumers and providers alike must have more skin in the game—financial responsibility—and better information with which to make more consumer-like decisions.  For providers, the “skin” means risk-based contracts.  For consumers, it means higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket cost exposure.  There has been significant movement in this direction.  Continue Reading Considering the Journey to Improved Customer Experience in Healthcare

The Texas Comptroller issued an advisory opinion reversing a longstanding policy relating to Texas sales taxation of medical billing services that will impact all Texas medical management and medical billing companies. Originally set to be effective January 1, 2020,  the Comptroller last week delayed the implementation of the new position until April 1, 2020. However, the opportunity exists to work with the Comptroller to amend Texas’ tax law in the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature and prevent the new position from being implemented.

The potential impact of this policy cannot be understated. For both third-party medical billing companies and Texas medical management companies (even those wholly-controlled by the physicians, dentists, and other medical professionals it manages), the scope of “medical billing services” and the extent to which consideration flows for such services needs to be analyzed and a determination made, if required, to begin withholding and charging Texas sales tax on the required component next year. For example, the need to separately account for and state the taxable versus nontaxable component of any agreement that provides for a lump-sum fee is important (the “separately stated” strategy for sales tax compliance). With many management agreements, a fixed amount is paid to cover a broad spectrum of services. Continue Reading Reversal of Texas Sales Tax Policy on Medical Billing Services to Cause Potential Texas Sales Tax Increases for Healthcare Clients Effective in 2020

Players in the healthcare industry continue to identify ways to use technological innovations to decrease overhead expenditures and increase bottom lines.  AI software to automatize EHR documentation in place of human input, mobile apps and portals to grant patients immediate access to their medical records, and blockchain technology to accelerate claims adjudication are some examples. In particular, commercial health insurers have employed various cost containment measures to minimize non-claim expenses. One measure involves the use of virtual credit cards, or VCCs, in lieu of traditional payment methods to reimburse providers for services rendered to plan enrollees. A VCC is linked to the payer source’s credit card account but generates a new 16-digit single-use number each time the physical card’s 16-digit number is used. Payers send providers the number with instructions to access and process these payments electronically. Continue Reading Recent State Laws Restrict Payer-to-Provider Reimbursement via Virtual Credit Cards

In this short recording, Healthcare attorneys Wakaba Tessier and Erica Ash discuss a recent Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement involving a specialty pharmacy and its private equity owner. This case is significant because – not only did the DOJ name the compounding pharmacy and its two executives – but it also named the private equity firm that owned the pharmacy as defendants in an Anti-Kickback and False Claims action. This recorded webinar provides an in-depth look at the case United States of America et al. v. Diabetic Care Rx, LLC et al. and develop key takeaways for viewers. Please click the link to view recording: https://youtu.be/yu34RL_UjYI

 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a final rule that includes several anti-fraud measures and significantly enhances the agency’s authority to exclude new and current providers and suppliers that are identified as posing an undue risk of fraud, waste or abuse. The new measures require providers and suppliers to disclose to CMS upon its request and upon application for initial enrollment or revalidation any “affiliations” or parties who have one or more defined “disclosable events.” The rule went into effect November 4, 2019.

The new rule requires all providers to disclose any current or prior affiliations within the past five years that the provider—or any of its owning or managing employees or organizations—has or had with a current or former Medicare provider with a “disclosable event,” which is triggered by any of the following:

  • an uncollected debt to CMS
  • current or previous payments suspension from a federal health care program
  • current or previously exclusion from healthcare programs
  • previous denial, revocation or termination of Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP billing privileges

Continue Reading New CMS Disclosure Rule Implemented

Update on 12.9.19: On December 4th, 2019, the governor of Illinois signed into law an amendment to the Act allowing employer action based on drug testing  when the testing is part of a reasonable, non-discriminatory drug policy, including any pre-employment testing policies. We will discuss the Act and implications of the amendment as well as the other evolving cannabis legal issues for healthcare employers and educators in our December 10, 2019 webinar.

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In less than two months the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Act”) will come into effect. On January 1, 2020 the Act will legalize adult-use retail marijuana across the state and bring with it a hefty regulatory framework. As part of that framework, employers—particularly hospitals, academic medical centers and other employers subject to complex, overlapping and sometimes contradictory workplace regulations—will now be prohibited from firing employees for off-duty marijuana use, requiring an overhaul of most employers’ drug policies.

Continue Reading Deep in the Weeds: Hidden Employment Issues in Illinois’ New Retail Marijuana Law