As many hospices continue to diversify into new business lines, staying abreast of enforcement trends outside of hospice is more important than ever. Home health in particular, is receiving significant government scrutiny. In this episode, Husch Blackwell’s Meg Pekarske talks with Bryan Nowicki and Erin Burns about a new round of home health audits being conducted by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. Tune in here: https://www.huschblackwell.com/newsandinsights/beyond-hospice-the-oig-renews-its-scrutiny-of-home-health-agencies

On June 27, 2022, the United States Supreme Court, by a vote of 9-0, overturned the lower circuit courts’ rulings affirming the convictions of two physicians of the unlawful distribution of controlled substances. In Ruan v. United States (Case No. 20-1410), consolidated with Kahn v. United States (Case No. 21-5261), the Supreme Court was asked to determine whether a physician may be convicted of unlawful distribution of controlled substances under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) without regard to whether, in good faith, the physician “reasonably believed” or “subjectively intended” that his or her prescriptions fall within that course of professional practice. The Controlled Substances Act makes it unlawful for “any person knowingly or intentionally … to manufacture, distribute, or dispense” a controlled substance, “except as authorized.” A prescription is authorized when it is “issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his professional practice.” 21 C.F.R. § 1306.04(a). The “vague and highly general regulatory language” left open the question of what conduct would fall under the statute’s exception and thus be considered legal. Continue Reading Supreme Court Reaffirms Mens Rea Requirement in Controlled Substance Health Care Fraud Cases and Government Burden to Prove Subjective Bad Faith

As the health care industry shifts from fee-for-service to value-based arrangements, providers are facing a lot of challenges. A provider’s relationship with payers is often strained by the new business model, and a provider’s ability to collaborate with payers has never been more important.

On this episode of Value-Based Care Insights, host Daniel J. Marino and I discuss how providers can successfully navigate value-based contracting with payers in a mutually beneficial way. Tune into the full episode here: https://www.luminahp.com/podcast/decoding-legalese-value-based-contracts.

When confronted with a complaint, allegation or event that implicates a potential Medicare overpayment, hospices have an affirmative duty under the federal 60-day repayment rule to conduct an investigation and refund any overpayment. In this episode, Husch Blackwell’s Meg Pekarske and Andrew Brenton share tips and tools for conducting internal investigations and determining when an issue implicates payment. Tune in here: https://www.huschblackwell.com/newsandinsights/nuts-and-bolts-of-a-repayment-investigation-keys-to-conducting-investigations-under-the-60-day-repayment-rule

Hospice Audit Series

Audits are a fact of life for hospices—it’s not a matter of “if” a hospice will be audited, but “when.” The alphabet soup of audits has expanded, from UPICs to SMRCs, CPIs, TPEs and more. With the hospice carve-in to Medicare Advantage, MAO audits will join the list. The recent pause in audits as a result of the COVID pandemic hints at increased activity as the pandemic wanes. In this series, Meg Pekarske and Bryan Nowicki of Husch Blackwell’s Hospice Audit team deconstruct the most recent developments in hospice audits, providing insight and guidance on the why, when and how of audits and—most importantly—what hospices can do about it. Continue Reading Hospice Audit Series | Painting the Picture: How to Advocate for Clinical Hospice Eligibility in the Audit Appeal Process

We are pleased to share that the 2022 Chambers USA guide published and the Healthcare team achieved outstanding results. We earned Band 1 recognition in Missouri and Texas, and Band 2 Nationwide! Our healthcare lawyers ranked across practice areas include: Continue Reading Husch Blackwell Grows Rankings in 2022 Edition of Chambers USA

The American Health Law Association released its Special Edition of its Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law on Emerging Issues in Health Equity in the United State: Legal, Legislative, and Policy Perspectives. The association strives to advance public discourse on these issues for the benefit of AHLA members, the public, academia, and decision makers in both the legislative and executive branches of government. Continue Reading American Health Law Association New Publication on Emerging Issues in Health Equity in the U.S.: Legal, Legislative, and Policy Perspectives

The U.S. Department of Justice’s recent criminal prosecutions of health care executives for no-poach and wage-fixing conspiracies have been met with not-guilty verdicts. Despite these losses, the Department continues to prosecute this conduct, and antitrust enforcers will continue to investigate human resources practices that may restrain competition. Continue Reading Two Strikes for DOJ: Health Care Executives Not Guilty of Antitrust Conspiracies

Recent legislative changes indicate that Congress is committed to continuing to allow patients to access telehealth services after the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends, but it is gathering more information before making such changes permanent. Comments from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) Secretary Xavier Becerra and the HHS Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) indicate that HHS is committed to expanding telehealth beyond the end of the PHE and that the OIG recognizes the long-term benefits of access to these services. Continue Reading Telehealth Flexibilities Extended to Late 2022 and Likely Beyond

The Acute Care Hospital at Home model (ACHAH) provides traditional hospital inpatient acute-level services at home.  Prior to the pandemic a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pilot study yielded positive results with respect to hospital readmission rates and follow-up emergency department visits. The ACHAH model appears to be a feasible alternative to traditional inpatient acute care that can improve quality of care and patient satisfaction. What was previously a trickle of interest turned into a wave of necessity as the pandemic overwhelmed hospitals and the health care system in 2020. In response to the pandemic, CMS began to provide hospital with broad regulatory flexibility to implement the ACHAH model. Continue Reading The Future of Hospital at Home