physicians155824955Changes to Texas Medical Board regulations regarding the supervision of physician assistants went into effect March 12, 2015, and will reduce both: (i) physician oversight obligations; and (ii) conflict with prescriptive delegation regulations. Specifically, requirements of Tex. Admin. Code tit. 22 §185.16 were reduced to only prohibiting a physician assistant from independently billing patients “except where provided by law.”
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patient493915589Over the last few decades, the healthcare industry has come to recognize that research on children is necessary to determine the safest and most effective treatments for pediatric patients. Whether your institution is part of a nationally renowned research program or participates in a few pharmaceutical research studies a year, the following two issues are critical when structuring research studies that involve pediatric patients.
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Gavel with Flag_000013950634SmallThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a lower court’s findings Feb. 10, 2015, that the acquisition by St. Luke’s Health System (“St. Luke’s”) of Saltzer Medical Group (“Saltzer”), a physician group consisting mostly of primary care physicians, violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act. This is the first case in which the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) litigated through trial a challenge to a physician acquisition.
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dollar-signiStock_000013001848_LargeIn March 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to prepare and propose new FLSA regulations. These new rules were to be announced late last year, but have been repeatedly delayed. Now it appears the new rules will be announced later this month. While the scope of the changes is unknown, it is anticipated the changes will reduce the number of employees who qualify for exempt status.
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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.
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On Jan. 26, 2015, Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the goals and a timeline of the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) to move the Medicare program, and the healthcare system at large, toward paying providers based on quality, rather than quantity, of care they give to patients.
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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.
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It’s time to begin preparing H-1B petitions for an early April filing and Oct. 1, 2015, effective date.

Advance planning is crucial. Due to the improving economy and the backlog of demand from April 2014, the H-1B cap will likely be exceeded again this year. Employers that fail to file H-1B petitions on April 1 may lose the opportunity to employ the intended foreign national candidate.
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After a protracted legal battle resolved in the favor of Teladoc, Inc. (Teladoc) on Dec. 31, 2014, (see Teladoc, Inc. v. Texas Medical Board, No. 03-13-00211-CV, Tex. App. 3rd, Austin) and clarifying that Teladoc physicians could prescribe dangerous drugs based on a telephonic evaluation, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) wasted no time in issuing an emergency rule Jan. 16, 2015, that significantly limits the use of telephones in the practice of medicine.
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