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

On March 23, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a notice in the federal register announcing a limited re-opening of the comment period regarding OSHA’s final standard to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19. The comment period will end on April 22, 2022, and the virtual public hearing will be held on April 27, 2022. The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 for  healthcare and healthcare support service workers (OSHA Healthcare ETS) was originally published on June 21, 2021. OSHA has re-opened the comment period to allow stakeholders to address changes the agency is considering that depart from the June 2021 version of the OSHA Healthcare ETS. Continue Reading OSHA Re-opens Comment Period and Schedules Public Hearing on ETS – Occupational Exposure to COVID-19

We continue to see an increase in fiduciary litigation involving employer-sponsored group health plans, particularly litigation involving mental health.  A recent New York Federal District Court case, Collins et al. v. Anthem, Inc. & Anthem UM Services, Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-001969, is one example that may have wide-ranging impact. This case caught our attention because of its potential impact on plan design and plan administration of its mental health and substance use disorder (collectively “behavioral health”) benefits. Continue Reading New York District Court: The Choice of Medical Necessity Criteria is a Fiduciary Act

Throughout the COVID pandemic, healthcare employers have navigated the challenge of balancing safety concerns with employee requests for religious exemption from the vaccine.  Since lifting the stay of the CMS rule requiring certain healthcare workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the US Supreme Court (Court) has refused to enjoin state and city vaccine mandates for workers who seek religious exemptions from such mandates. On March 7, 2022, the full Court rejected, without comment, an emergency application for an injunction that was previously denied by Justice Sotomayor to prevent enforcement of the New York City Department of Education’s COVID-19 mandate against suspended workers who refused vaccination based on religion.  In the wake of continued challenges to vaccine mandates based on religion, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), released guidance on March  1, 2022 that addresses questions related to religious objections to vaccinations in the workplace. Healthcare employers should ensure that assessment of requests for religious exemptions for vaccine mandates comports with EEOC guidance. Continue Reading EEOC Issues Employer Guidance for COVID-19 Vaccinations and Religious Objections

Welcome to an inspiring conversation on how story can help us reconnect with mission, staff and communities. As hospices face unprecedented staffing shortages and a burnt-out workforce, a key to thriving may be to re-engage with our human essence, which can be found through story. Today’s guest, Dr. Bertice Berry, PhD, explains humans are hardwired for story—it is how we connect, reflect and grow. So how do we use storytelling as a leadership tool? The Institute for Story’s upcoming conference on Advancing the Science of Story and Storytelling intends to help leaders do just that. Continue Reading Hospice Leadership Strategy: Re-engaging Staff and Communities With Story

In this podcast episode, join our Labor Law Insiders as they discuss the unique vulnerabilities faced by the healthcare industry at this juncture of history, including the impact on bargaining and of expanded union organizing activities. Our Insiders also explore some actions that employers can take to reduce the possible conflicts between employees and management during this time of extraordinary challenge in the health care market. Tune in here: https://bit.ly/3HIYQC4

For many healthcare employers, phase one and phase two COVID-19 vaccine deadlines are either here or quickly approaching. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), in an exercise of enforcement discretion, has begun monitoring covered CMS provider and supplier types for implementation of COVID-19 staff vaccination requirements in accordance with the COVID-19 Healthcare Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule. Employers can review compliance and enforcement deadlines relating to plans and procedures for applicable staff vaccinations in CMS’s external FAQ. Learn more about the deadlines here: https://bit.ly/35lC5H5