Thursday, October 8, 2020 – Live Webinar | Noon – 1:00 p.m. CDT 

Please join Husch Blackwell as we go virtual with our Health Law Conference. The series will include a range of important topics relevant to the healthcare industry, and are set to be moderated by Curt Chase, leader of the firm’s Healthcare, Life Sciences and Education team; Hal Katz, American Bar Association, Health Law Section, Chair; and Tom Shorter, American Health Law Association, President-Elect Designate. The webinar programs will be offered every Thursday through November 19.

Our second session on October 8 will include a discussion on various aspects of how and why physician-hospital alignment models may change post-COVID-19. REGISTER NOW
Continue Reading Health Law & Innovation Virtual Series: Session II Developing Strategies Around Hospital and Physician Integration

Many colleges and universities offer on-campus healthcare clinic services to their students. These student health clinics are typically staffed by a physician or advanced practice provider such as a nurse practitioner. In addition to providing professional services, these providers may on occasion prescribe medications to students. Some of our clients have asked whether it is also permissible for the providers to actually dispense these medications on-site, even though the clinic is not licensed as a pharmacy.
Continue Reading Dispensing Medications at Student Health Clinics

On Monday, June 30, 2020, HHS spokesman Michael Caputo tweeted that HHS intends to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency before it expires on July 25, 2020. Once extended, the public health emergency will be effective for an additional 90 days. Extending the emergency declaration will allow providers to continue to use waivers and flexibilities issued to assist them in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading HHS Extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

After the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) automatically distributed $30 billion to providers as Tranche #1 Relief Fund payments based on 2019 Medicare fee-for-service payment data, HHS subsequently released a new formula that was based on 2018 “program service revenue” and intended to calculate providers’ payments under Relief Fund Tranches #1 and #2 cumulatively.  For providers whose Tranche #1 payments alone exceeded their expected payment under the new “program service revenue” formula, there have been ongoing questions about whether such providers were “overpaid” and needed to reject and return their Tranche #1 payments.
Continue Reading CARES Act Provider Relief Fund: Connecting HHS’s Dots on Whether Your Tranche #1 Payment Is An Overpayment

For long-term care (“LTC”) facilities such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes, the high risk of spread once coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) enters a facility  means such facilities must take immediate action to protect residents, families, and healthcare personnel from severe infections, hospitalizations, and death.  One such action that many States are taking is mandatory testing for the residents and employees of LTC facilities.  Specifically, several states, including West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, are now requiring mandatory testing of residents and employees of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.  Other states have similar proposed legislation in the works, including Pennsylvania, and it is likely that the number of states implementing such measures will continue to grow in the coming weeks and months. The White House has also indicated that the federal government may mandate testing nationwide for all nursing home residents and employees. While widespread testing of residents is an appropriate measure to protect the populations most vulnerable to the disease, mandatory testing raises the issue of whether and how to obtain informed consent from residents, many of whom use a medical powers of attorney (“MPOA”) for decisions regarding their care.
Continue Reading Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Implications for LTC Facilities

COVID-19 is not the sole focus of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) these days. On May 15th, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) announced that it added to its Work Plan a “Review of Institutions of Higher Education Grantees Receiving National Institutes of Health Awards” to address areas of potential risk at institutions of higher education (“IHE”).
Continue Reading OIG Tags Higher Education Grantees Receiving NIH Awards

Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order 20-26 which provides liability protections and regulatory flexibility for health care providers in the state of Kansas. The order went into effect on April 22nd and remains in effect until May 31st or until the COVID-19 state of emergency is declared over. The six page document eases regulatory requirements related to health care delegation and supervision as well as increases the pool of health care workers. Further, health care providers will be protected against liability for death or personal injury in response to COVID-19 care.
Continue Reading Kansas Governor Issues Protections for Health Practitioners and Expands Health Workforce

Today, the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, issued an Executive Order that significantly loosens his previous restrictions on the performance of elective surgeries by modifying prior language and adding an additional exception to the prohibition.  Specifically, the new Order states that, effective April 21, 2020 and continuing until 11:59 pm on May 8, 2020.

All licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without timely performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician; provided, however, that this prohibition shall not apply to either of the following:
Continue Reading Gov Abbott to allow more elective procedures 4-22

There is a common saying in healthcare – “if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.” In the healthcare industry, and particularly in the long-term care (“LTC”) sector, clinical and operational documentation has long been critical for purposes of ensuring appropriate patient care and demonstrating compliance with the myriad regulatory requirements imposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), as well as state licensing and Medicaid agencies.

COVID-19 clearly presents unique challenges to LTC facilities. Although infection control and emergency planning protocols are not new to LTC facilities, the rapidly changing landscape of guidance issued by federal, state, and local regulatory bodies relating to COVID-19 has placed LTC facilities in a position where they must implement, and simultaneously communicate to staff, residents, and resident family members, new or updated clinical and operational protocols on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Given the urgency in ensuring appropriate protocols are in place, there is often an emphasis on action, as opposed to documenting the actions taken.
Continue Reading LTC Facility Documentation during COVID-19

Consistent with NHPCO’s recent regulatory guidance, you may have received an unexpected payment on or about Friday, April 10th via Optum Bank with “HHSPAYMENT” as the payment description. That payment was from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (“Relief Fund”) which was set up pursuant to the CARES Act to provide $100 billion of relief funding to healthcare providers. The payment received is from the first $30 billion of the total $100 billion Relief Fund. The payment is not a loan; it is a grant that the hospice can use for qualified expenses and losses that meet a series of Terms and Conditions.
Continue Reading Tools for Your Hospice Toolbox: How to Evaluate, Allocate and Track the Use of CARES Act Relief Payments (An Introduction)