The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a request for information (“RFI”) to assist OCR in identifying provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) privacy and security regulations (the “HIPAA Rules”) that may impede the transformation to value-based health care or that limit or discourage coordinated care among individuals and covered entities without meaningfully contributing to the protection of the privacy or security of individuals’ protected health information (“PHI”). Continue Reading
On December 10, 2018, the California Supreme Court handed down its unanimous decision in Gerard, et al. v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, affirming the Court of Appeal ruling that voluntary meal period waivers are permissible for healthcare employees who work long shifts, even if they work more than 12 hours. By allowing healthcare employees to waive one of their two meal periods, the Gerard decision preserves a choice for employees who work 12-hour shifts. They continue to have the flexibility to work shifts that span 12 ½ hours with one 30-minute meal period or shifts that span 13 hours and include two 30-minute meal periods.
Sheppard Mullin argued this case before the California Supreme Court and has represented Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in the case since 2008.
Not only was this case hard fought throughout California courts for 10 years, but it also involved novel legislative action. Notably, it was the only wage-hour victory for an employer before the California Supreme Court in 2018. Continue Reading
This follows the blog article posted November 28, “Connection and Innovation Take Center Stage at the Patient ENGAGE Conference” and is the second feature regarding the MedCity ENGAGE conference Nov. 6-7 in San Diego. Here, we focus on the aspects of the conference that explored the impact of technology on patient engagement, from wearables to DNA sequencing, to apps used by insureds to quit smoking while reducing insurance premiums in the process. Continue Reading
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the much-anticipated proposed rule to lower Part D and Medicare Advantage (“MA”) drug prices and beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses on November 26, 2018 (the “Proposed Rule”). According to CMS, the primary purposes of the Proposed Rule are to revise the MA and Part D regulations to support health and drug plans’ negotiation for lower drug prices, and to reduce out-of-pocket costs for plan enrollees. The Proposed Rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on November 30, 2018. Comments are due January 25, 2019. Continue Reading
MedCity News, a media property of Breaking Media (publisher of Law360) hosted the third annual ENGAGE conference Nov. 6-7 in San Diego. The conference highlighted technology tools that increase patient engagement and strategies deployed by health plans and health systems to align patient incentives with promoting wellness and reducing healthcare delivery costs. There is increased interest from the healthcare industry, investment community and patient advocacy groups in fostering programs, technologies and services that focus on empowering patients to be a driving force in healthcare. As many speakers reinforced at the conference, patient engagement has gone from an afterthought to a driving force in healthcare. The following are key themes: Continue Reading
On November 15, 2018, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice settled a two-and-a-half year long lawsuit against Atrium Health, a North Carolina hospital system formerly known as the Carolinas HealthCare System, enjoining Atrium’s anti-steering provisions against health plans. This article discusses the DOJ/Atrium settlement in light of the recent Ohio v. American Express Supreme Court decision, which concerned anti-steering provisions in the two-sided credit card network services market. We previously reported on the DOJ’s suit against Atrium here, and analyzed the implications of the SCOTUS Amex decision on health insurance here. Continue Reading
Part C and Part D Quality Rating System
The November 1, 2018 proposed rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) includes enhancements and substantive changes to the Star Rating System in order to increase the stability and predictability of the Medicare Advantage program (aka “Part C”) and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program (aka “Part D”) Star Ratings.
Measure Level Star Ratings.
CMS’ Star Ratings proposals are intended to eliminate some of the volatility and unpredictability of the calculation methodology, which is a welcome change for Medicare Advantage organizations (“MAOs”) and Part D plan sponsors. Based on stakeholder feedback and analyses of the data, CMS proposes two enhancements to the current hierarchical clustering methodology that is used to set cut points for non-Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (“CAHPS”) measures: Continue Reading
Dual Special Needs Plans
This part 6 of our 7 part series focuses on the provisions regarding dual special needs plans (“D-SNPs”) released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) in the proposed rule issued on November 1, 2018 (the “Proposed Rule”). D-SNPs enroll individuals who are entitled to both Medicare and medical assistance from a state under Medicaid. States cover some Medicare costs, depending on the particular state and the member’s eligibility. As reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation in “Medicare Advantage 2017 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update,” Gretchen Jacobson, Anthony Damico, Tricia Neuman, and Marsha Gold ( June 6, 2017), enrollment in special needs plans increased from 2.1 million in 2016 to 2.3 million in 2017 – and 81% of members of these plans are enrolled in D-SNPs. Continue Reading
California recently passed Assembly Bill 315 to create greater regulatory oversight of pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”).  The bill requires PBMs to provide more transparency regarding their operations. PBMs will have to register with the California Department of Managed Health Care (“DMHC”) and provide new disclosures to the purchasers of their services. The bill will also establish a new pilot project and task force run by the DMHC to analyze how PBMs are affecting the pharmaceutical market. Continue Reading
Tuesday’s midterm elections showed that healthcare is now a top issue among voters, according to exit polls. In an NBC News poll, healthcare was the top issue for a plurality of voters, ahead of the economy, immigration, and gun policy.  As voters made their voices heard, they also helped to solidify the position of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) nationwide. While the country waits for final vote counts to be tallied, three key takeaways have emerged: Continue Reading