The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced its plan to end the Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 on May 11, 2023. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency declarations, legislation, and regulatory waivers across government agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), allowed for flexibility in the delivery of care to patients, including the expanded use of telehealth. Originally intended to conserve healthcare resources and prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19, the use of virtual care has exploded since the beginning of the pandemic to become an intrinsic, essential part of the healthcare delivery system. Now, at the end of the PHE, we examine the path forward for telehealth and the extent to which providers may continue to offer it to patients.Continue Reading Two Weeks’ Notice for the Public Health Emergency: What’s Next for Telehealth

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