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Ragini counsels hospital systems and physician practices of all sizes, individual providers, specialty care groups, home health and hospice agencies, ambulatory care centers and related clients in order to optimally position them for day-to-day operations and long-term growth. Focusing her practice on regulatory issues, Ragini advises on cost-effective proactive compliance and advocates for clients before state and federal agencies when they face claims that threaten to interrupt patient care. Regulatory and risk management issues Ragini handles include:

  • False Claims Act (FCA)
  • Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS)
  • Stark law
  • Licensing and credentialing
  • Privacy and security
  • Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement and enrollment

The plan of a healthcare consulting firm (the “Firm”) to give gift cards to physicians in exchange for referrals to new customers does not violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (the “AKS”), according to an Advisory Opinion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”). The Firm provides practice optimization services including data analytics services, electronic health record consulting services, compliance monitoring, and assistance with Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (“MIPS”) performance measures and submissions. Importantly, the Firm does not provide any services, nor does it invest in or own any other entity that provides services, that would be paid for, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by a Federal health care program.

Under the proposed plan, the Firm would give current customers $25 gift cards in exchange for recommending its consulting services to other physicians. If the recommendation were successful, the recommender would receive an additional $50 gift card.Continue Reading Gift Card Giveaway Does Not Violate Anti-Kickback Statute, HHS Says

Return-to-Campus Considerations is a limited series addressing the legal and practical considerations that institutions of higher education should keep in mind when responding to coronavirus-related concerns.

In this final installment, Husch Blackwell attorneys Mary Deweese and Ragini Acharya discuss the use of clinical students and student volunteers in the care of COVID-positive patients, identifying key considerations for academic medical centers and other institutions of higher education as they navigate decision-making with respect to their clinical programs. This webinar addresses issues related to liability and risk management, clinical affiliation agreements, and compliance with accreditation and licensing requirements, and also identifies what institutions should keep in mind for the next semester with respect to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Tune in here: https://bit.ly/3h1Cz6x
Continue Reading COVID-19 and Clinical Programs – Part IV of our Return-to-Campus Considerations Recorded Webinar Series

Return-to-Campus Considerations is a limited series addressing the legal and practical considerations relating to the coronavirus that institutions of higher education should keep in mind as students, faculty and staff return for the fall semester.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Accommodations Part II of Return-to-Campus Considerations

For long-term care (“LTC”) facilities such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes, the high risk of spread once coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) enters a facility  means such facilities must take immediate action to protect residents, families, and healthcare personnel from severe infections, hospitalizations, and death.  One such action that many States are taking is mandatory testing for the residents and employees of LTC facilities.  Specifically, several states, including West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, are now requiring mandatory testing of residents and employees of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.  Other states have similar proposed legislation in the works, including Pennsylvania, and it is likely that the number of states implementing such measures will continue to grow in the coming weeks and months. The White House has also indicated that the federal government may mandate testing nationwide for all nursing home residents and employees. While widespread testing of residents is an appropriate measure to protect the populations most vulnerable to the disease, mandatory testing raises the issue of whether and how to obtain informed consent from residents, many of whom use a medical powers of attorney (“MPOA”) for decisions regarding their care.
Continue Reading Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Implications for LTC Facilities

COVID-19 is not the sole focus of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) these days. On May 15th, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) announced that it added to its Work Plan a “Review of Institutions of Higher Education Grantees Receiving National Institutes of Health Awards” to address areas of potential risk at institutions of higher education (“IHE”).
Continue Reading OIG Tags Higher Education Grantees Receiving NIH Awards

Although Wisconsin hospitals have remained busy providing COVID-related treatment and services for the last two months, many Wisconsin health care providers chose to postpone elective surgeries and procedures in compliance with CMS guidance. Notably, Wisconsin never expressly prohibited elective surgeries or procedures at any point during the last few months; however, Emergency Orders #12 and #28 specified that individuals may obtain services at ambulatory surgery centers for response to urgent health issues or related COVID-19 activities. Further, guidance from the Wisconsin DHS Division of Public Health issued on March 20 recommended that dental practices postpone all elective and non-urgent care treatment.  With the issuance of the Badger Bounce Back Plan (the “BBB Plan”), Wisconsin facilities and providers have expressed their intent to prep for elective services and procedures. 
Continue Reading Bouncing Back into Healthcare in Wisconsin

On April 7, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas granted summary judgment in favor of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) in the closely-watched Northport case. In this case, certain nursing facility industry plaintiffs challenged the enforceability of the most recent iteration of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (“CMS”) rule governing the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements with residents in long-term care (“LTC”) facilities that participate in the Medicare or Medicaid programs. In finding for the government, the Northport court held that the rule was a valid exercise of CMS’s authority under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), was adopted in accordance with federal procedural rules, and does not conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).
Continue Reading Federal District Court Upholds CMS Pre-Dispute Arbitration Rule