The Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s (HHSC) final rules regarding physician billing for services provided by an APRN or PA became effective Jan. 1, 2015, and include limitations on such billing arrangements. See 39 Tex. Reg. 9884 (Dec. 19, 2014). The adopted rule requires that a physician billing for services provided by an APRN or PA under the physician’s Medicaid billing number must make a decision regarding the patient’s care or treatment on the same date of service as the billable medical visit and documented that decision in the patient’s recordSee Tex. Admin. Code Tit. 1 §354.1062. If a physician billing for such services does not make a decision regarding the patient’s care or treatment on the same date of service, the physician must note on the claim that the services were provided by a supervisee. See Tex. Admin. Code Tit. 1 §354.1001.
Continue Reading Update: Texas Medicaid ‘incident to’ rule now in effect

Seemingly picking up where we left off in our recent white paper and Advisory Board article, the Obama administration released a 166-page draft plan January 30th intended to drive providers and patients toward a common set of electronic clinical information and a commitment to more fully connected EHR systems by the end of 2017.
Continue Reading Interoperability 2017 – Will the latest government plan be the golden spike that connects the EHR rails?

Brian G. Flood of Husch Blackwell LLP‘s Austin office participated in a recent forum on “Managing Fraud and Bribery Risks in the Healthcare Sector.”

The Q&A Forum forms part of a Special Report on Corporate Fraud & Corruption, which appears in the February 2015 issue of Financier Worldwide magazine.

For the Q&A Forum, Financier

Due diligence is often perceived as a mundane part of the mergers & acquisitions (M&A) process, but its importance in healthcare transactions is critical. Due diligence is one of the first steps of any transaction and involves a buyer undertaking an in-depth examination of the target to evaluate the business and uncover potential issues or liabilities. In the healthcare industry, diligence is especially important considering the heavy regulation of the industry, the unique areas of risk, and the significant liabilities that could be imposed upon a buyer if issues and liabilities are not identified before the transaction closes.
Continue Reading Unique Considerations in Healthcare M&A Part 1 – Due Diligence

A trash-burning incinerator is installed at Forward Operating Base Warhorse, Iraq, through a LOGCAP contract.Despite getting a rare Writ of Mandamus from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals establishing that its internal investigations were covered by the attorney-client privilege, Kellogg Brown & Root must still turn them over. As predicted in our earlier posts on Barko v. Halliburton, Judge James Gwin has ruled that KBR waived the attorney-client privilege that would otherwise have shielded KBR’s internal investigation documents from discovery. His rationale is reflected in three opinions published in November and December 2014.
Continue Reading Barko v. Halliburton: The next (and final?) chapter

Last week, Judge Richard J. Leon of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the “third-party” regulation on the federal companionship exemption, which would have prevented third-party employers from utilizing the companionship exemption from minimum wage and overtime, as well as the “live-in” exemption from overtime.

On Dec. 31, 2014, the judge temporarily stayed the regulations that would have significantly altered the duties an exempt companion could provide. The regulations, which were set to go into effect at midnight on Dec. 31, would have prevented exempt companions from providing any “general household work” at all, and would have prevented them from engaging in any “care” of the client for more than 20 percent of their working time.
Continue Reading Proposed federal companionship regulations covering home care industry stayed by federal judge at ‘eleventh hour’

The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) Fundamentals of Health Law conference, Nov. 12-14 in Chicago, featured Husch Blackwell Partner Cori Turner as a speaker and key member of the planning committee.

The conference primarily focused on ensuring attendees gained an understanding of laws and regulations for the health law industry, including Stark and Anti-Kickback, False Claims Act, antitrust, tax and HIPPA regulations. Its goals also included increasing knowledge of the legal challenges faced by hospitals, physicians, long-term care providers and managed care organizations, as well as learning about the impact of the health reform law on the healthcare industry.
Continue Reading Husch Blackwell’s Turner speaks at AHLA Fundamentals program

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee answered what it acknowledged was a novel question: whether statistical sampling and extrapolation are appropriate to establish liability under the False Claims Act (FCA). The court found the government could extrapolate from a sample of patient records to prove FCA liability. While the court’s decision approved the use of sampling, it emphasized the defendant could challenge the government’s methodology and that the government was not using sampling to prove all of the elements of the alleged FCA violations.
Continue Reading Tenn. federal court OKs extrapolation to establish liability in False Claims Act case

The attorney-client privilege applies with equal force to internal investigations today as it did 30 years ago thanks to the D.C. Circuit’s recent decision in In re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., No. 14-5055 (D.C. Cir. June 27, 2014). The appeals court decision vacates the March 6, 2014, district court decision in the same case. At the district court, Judge James Gwin ruled that the attorney-client privilege did not protect documents developed during KBR’s internal investigations of potential fraud relating to its LOGCAP III contract. According to Judge Gwin, KBR’s investigations were not privileged because they were conducted “pursuant to regulatory law and corporate policy rather than for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.”
Continue Reading Barko v. Halliburton—How the D.C. Circuit’s decision reaffirms the attorney-client privilege in internal investigations

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the New York State Attorney General intervened in a federal False Claims Act (FCA) case on June 27, 2014, accusing Mount Sinai Health System of failing to report and return Medicaid overpayments within 60 days of identifying them. See U.S. ex rel Kane v. Healthfirst, Inc., et al., No. 11-2325 (S.D.N.Y). This case is one of the first examples of litigation involving “the 60-day repayment provision” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Continue Reading DOJ intervenes in first False Claim Act case involving ACA ’60-day repayment provision’