On February 25, 2021, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted 2021 Wisconsin Act 4 (the “Act”), which, in part, grants immunity to business entities from civil liability related to COVID-19 exposure, with certain exceptions.

Specifically, the Act immunizes certain entities from civil liability for any act or omission in the course of performance or provision of the entity’s function or services, that leads to death or injury to an individual or damages caused by an act or omission resulting from or relating to exposure directly or indirectly to COVID-19 (or its variants), or conditions associated with the infectious disease.  However, civil immunity does not extend to acts or omissions that are reckless, wanton conduct, or intentional misconduct.
Continue Reading Wisconsin Business Entities Granted Civil Immunity for COVID-19 Exposure

Effective on January 1, 2021, the Price Transparency Rule (the “Rule”) requires all hospitals operating within the United States to make public a list of their standard charges for items and services via the Internet in a machine-readable format. Hospitals must also provide prices for a list of 300 shoppable services that must be made publicly available in a searchable, consumer-friendly format. This requirement is being enforced with the intent to enable healthcare consumers to make more informed decisions based on cost, increase market competition, and ultimately drive down the cost of healthcare services, making them more affordable for all patients.  Many hospitals are spending time now to determine which “items and services” require price disclosure under the Rule, and some have found that the Rule does not provide sufficient guidance in all situations.
Continue Reading The Price Transparency Rule Goes Into Effect January 1, 2021 – Is Your Hospital Ready?

In the wake of a record number of Covid-19 cases and with flu season around the corner, Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Secretary Designee Andrea Palm issued a new emergency order on October 1, 2020. Emergency Order #2 is designed to help address an anticipated surge in healthcare staffing needs.

Continue Reading Emergency Order #2 Targets Staffing Demands in Wisconsin Healthcare Facilities

As many of you are aware, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) along with many states have waived licensing and other requirements to allow healthcare providers to use non-hospital space to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, conduct testing and perform other clinical operations.  Healthcare providers across the country are exploring options to increase

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) confirmed that hospice physicians and nurse practitioners who serve as a patient’s attending physician (“NPs”) can use telehealth to perform medically necessary visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist hospices in evaluating the feasibility of using telehealth for medically necessary visits with Medicare patients, Husch Blackwell has created a “Hospice Telehealth Flowchart.” The Flowchart addresses important operational considerations as well as the Medicare requirements related to rendering and billing for such telehealth visits.
Continue Reading Tools for Your Hospice Tool Box: Telehealth Flowchart for Billable Hospice Physician and Nurse Practitioner Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this episode, your Hospice Team shares insights on operationalizing recent government guidance for hospices facing coronavirus obstacles. We discuss the role of virtual visits, how to use telehealth, and the practical impact of the Medicare appeal waiver. Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/2JmhkMV

On March 22, 2020, and as subsequently clarified on March 27, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) temporarily lifted the requirements for hospices to submit Hospice Item Set (“HIS”) data and hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (“CAHPS”) survey data.  Prior to CMS’s action, failure to comply with these data reporting requirements of the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (“HQRP”), absent an exception, resulted in a 2 percent reduction to a hospice’s annual Medicare payment update.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Hospice How-To Series: Taking Advantage of the Temporary Quality Reporting Data Submission Relief

Since February 6, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid  (CMS) issued official Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for health care providers in all care settings to implement in an effort to control the rate of COVID-19 transmission. However, a special focus is on nursing facilities because these facilities house the country’s population most susceptible to COVID-19. In the CDC’s March 18, 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the agency highlights the COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing home in King County, Seattle, Washington, in which 81 of the 130 residents (62%) contracted COVID-19, and 49 of those residents were hospitalized. The median age of the infected residents was 81 years old. To date, 80% of deaths related to COVID-19 are of persons 65 years old or greater.  Therefore, it is imperative nursing homes take drastic measures to reduce the risk of severe illness or death associated with COVID-19. Husch Blackwell’s answers to the Frequently Asked Questions below follow the current CDC and CMS guidance which outlines these drastic measures.
Continue Reading COVID-19 FAQs for Nursing Facilities

On June 9, 2016, the Texas Medical Board proposed for comment new rules regarding physician call coverage. The proposed new rule originated from the Board’s Telemedicine Committee and changes the current telemedicine call coverage rule. The rule would apply to all physician call coverage relationships, not just telemedicine.

During the meetings last week, the Board’s Executive Director stated that the proposed rule was created at the request of the Texas Medical Association and leadership from Children’s Medical Center of Dallas with input from the Texas e-Health Alliance. An earlier draft was withdrawn during the Board’s March 2016 meeting. The current draft was reviewed and discussed during a recent meeting of the Board’s telemedicine stakeholder group.
Continue Reading Texas Medical Board Proposes New Call Coverage Rules for Telemedicine and Traditional Patient Care