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Biden Administration 60-day Regulatory Freeze

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, President Biden’s chief of staff, Ronald A. Klain, circulated a memorandum (memo) to the heads of federal executive departments and agencies outlining an Executive Action implementing a 60-day freeze on any new or pending regulations. This is a customary practice for new administrations. The freeze allows the administration to conduct … Continue Reading

CMS Publishes Stark Law Final Rules-Updated

In follow up to our post last month, on Wednesday, December 2, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published final rules implementing many of the Stark Law changes first proposed in October 2019 (the Final Rules). These changes have been adopted to address the shift to a value-based and coordinated healthcare environment. The … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Final Rules Implementing Stark Law Changes to Reflect Value-Based Healthcare Delivery and Payment Environment

On Friday, November 20, CMS released final rules implementing many Stark Law changes first proposed in October 2019 (the “Final Rules”). This release comes despite earlier suggestions that these Final Rules may be delayed until sometime in 2021. Developed as part of the Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care program, the Final Rules represent CMS’s recognition … Continue Reading

Financial Lifelines, Waivers and Other Support for Hospitals and Healthcare Systems Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

In just the past week, the federal government has issued a flurry of legislative and regulatory aid packages, programs and rule changes for hospitals and health systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures are designed to give emergency financial support and to cut through regulatory roadblocks to delivering care during the crisis. The federal … Continue Reading

Saved by the Gel?

UPDATE: Saved by the Gel…again? Since our original post, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a statement March 5 that it will be monitoring reports of changes to sales and pricing practices for coronavirus-related products. The CMA will consider direct enforcement action in appropriate cases if it has evidence that businesses have broken … Continue Reading

USDA’s Hemp Production Program Advances

On January 29, 2020, the comment period closed for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) interim final rule, published on October 31, 2019, to establish the Domestic Hemp Production Program. The comment period, which the USDA extended by 30 days, received over 4,000 comments from interested parties, including states, tribal governments, and hemp industry … Continue Reading

Proposed Changes to the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law and Civil Monetary Penalties Law Address Value-Based Healthcare Environment

On October 9, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed rules (the Proposed Rules) aiming to update the Anti-Kickback Statute (the AKS), Stark Law and Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL) to address today’s value-based and coordinated healthcare environment. The proposals reflect a recognition on HHS’s part that the healthcare landscape of today … Continue Reading

Cracks in the Façade—Supreme Court to Reconsider “Auer Deference” Rule and Possibly Shrink Agency Leeway In Interpreting Regulations

The playing field in a lawsuit challenging agency action is tilted toward the agency, largely by means of various deference doctrines. One of the most important has been deference to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulations. Courts have been deferring to those interpretations for decades, following a 1940s Supreme Court case, Bowles v. Seminole … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Final Rule Expanding Access to Association Health Plans

On June 21, 2018, the US Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) published its final rule, amending the definition of “employer” under section 3(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to allow for the establishment of group or association health plans (AHPs) (Final Rule). Similar to a corresponding proposed rule issued earlier … Continue Reading

How To Avoid Paying $2,000 A Day To Encrypt ePHI

Let’s hope you don’t pay that much to encrypt electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). How about a total of $4.3 million over two years? Well, that’s the total penalty for encryption violations assessed by Health and Human Services (HHS). An Administrative Law Judge found the penalty could have been much worse. The facts are sobering. … Continue Reading

HHS Final Rule Scales Back Affordable Care Act Regulations

Earlier this month, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Final Rule in the Federal Register that will scale back regulations applicable to health insurance subject to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In issuing the Final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2019 Rule (Final Rule), HHS … Continue Reading

CMS Republishes the 2018 OPPS Final Rule

On December 14, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid republished the final rule with comment period for the Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and the Medicare ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment system for CY 2018 (“Final Rule”). The republication included an editorial note stating that the Final Rule was originally published in … Continue Reading
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