Category Archives: Coronavirus

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Opening Up America: Recent COVID-19 Data And Congressional Hearings Show That Nursing Homes May Be The Last To See “Business As Usual”

On Thursday, June 11, 2020, the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis,[1] chaired by Rep. James E. Clyburn, held a video briefing (the “SCC Briefing”) with experts and affected individuals to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing home residents and workers.… Continue Reading

More Help is on the Way For Accountable Care Organizations: CMS Announces New Relief For ACOS Struggling With The Covid-19 Crisis

According to an April 13, 2020 Press Release issued by the National Association of ACOs (“NAACOS”),  a recent NAACOS survey shows that 56% of the survey-participating at-risk accountable care organizations (“ACOs”) – i.e., ACOs participating in a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (“CMMI”) alternative payment model (“APM”) and assuming financial risk thereunder – said … Continue Reading

Going Virtual: Clinical Trials, Telemedicine, Electronic Medical Records, And All That.

According to a recent study (Study) published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery on May 10, 2020 regarding the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the conduct of oncology clinical trials,[i]  the COVID-19 pandemic has materially disrupted the conduct of clinical research and trials in much of the world.  The observed disruptors include an … Continue Reading

Tips for the Unwary: Precautions Against Liability for Healthcare Businesses Receiving CARES Act Funds

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided trillions in economic relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including hundreds of billions of dollars in aid for the healthcare industry.  Regulators in the healthcare industry have also adjusted regulations and procedures in response to the changing landscape caused by the pandemic.  While the … Continue Reading

Will COVID-19 Prompt “Holdout States” to Reconsider Medicaid Expansion?

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court in NFIB v. Sebelius struck down a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) which, for all intents and purposes, made the expansion of the Medicaid program voluntary for individual states.  As a consequence, the Medicaid expansion provided for in the ACA has been rolled … Continue Reading

Release of Telehealth Video Series and Readiness Assessment

On April 27, Sheppard Mullin and Citrin Cooperman released a white paper entitled “Telehealth Development: Addressing the Current Need, While Strategically Position for the Future” addressing how federal and state regulators are promoting the expansion of telehealth. Healthcare organizations, of all types and sizes, are working to respond to the rapidly-changing regulatory environment. While there … Continue Reading

COVID-19: Medical Liability for Expanded Scope of Services

As discussed in a prior blog post, in order to manage the unprecedented medical need due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some states have loosened scope of practice restrictions imposed on healthcare professionals. The relaxing of these restrictions has enabled registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists and other health care professionals to provide certain medical … Continue Reading

Nursing Home Liability Waivers and Nursing Home Investigations and Enforcement: A Delicate Balance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we discussed in our April 27, 2020 blog post, nursing homes have become the focus of significant attention during the COVID-19 crisis.  In many respects, the attention is well deserved: Nursing homes traditionally serve seniors who often struggle with chronic health conditions. As a result, nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection … Continue Reading

CMS Updates Waivers, Provides More Flexibility for Providers Responding to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 emergency continues to heavily impact the U.S. and its health care system, CMS has issued additional flexibilities for providers and payors seeking to respond to the pandemic.  These new flexibilities are described both in revisions to CMS’ blanket waivers and in a new Interim Final Rule with comment period, both issued on … Continue Reading

The California Department of Managed Health Care Extends the Phase-In Period for the General Licensure Regulation

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, the California Department of Managed Health Care (the “Department”) released an all plan letter (the “Letter”) regarding changes to the Department’s General Licensure Regulation (the “Regulation”) in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  The Letter updated the Department’s previous guidance concerning the Regulation that was issued on June 13, 2019. … Continue Reading

Data Reporting, Patient Access and Malpractice Liability: Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities Command Federal and State Attention during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

On April 23, 2020, the Kaiser Family Foundation (“KFF”) issued a report authored by Priya Chidambaram entitled, “State Reporting of Cases and Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities.” In the KFF report, Ms. Chidambaram cited to previous KFF studies showing that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on people who reside or work … Continue Reading

Elective and Non-Essential Medical Procedures: States React to Federal Recommendations and the Opening Up America Again Guidelines

On April 16, 2020, the Trump Administration issued its “Opening Up America Again Guidelines” (the “OUAA Guidelines”) as a self-styled roadmap to the staged reopening of the American economy. On Sunday, April 19, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) followed suit by issuing new guidance (the “Reopening Guidance”) designed to reintroduce the … Continue Reading

Even in a Crisis, Stark Law Compliance Demands Attention: CMS Issues Explanatory Guidance on Stark Law Blanket Waivers

On April 21, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released “Explanatory Guidance” related to the March 30, 2020 Blanket Waivers of Section 1877(g) of the Social Security Act (information about those waivers available in our previous blog post here), applicable during the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”). The Explanatory Guidance clarifies the … Continue Reading

Telehealth and Online Prescribing: COVID-19 Triggers Changes to the Prescriber/Patient/Pharmacist Relationship

When Alex Azar, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”), declared a national emergency on January 31, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he triggered an exception to the “in-person medical evaluation” requirement for online prescribing as set forth in the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 … Continue Reading

CMS Addresses Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Providers Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic: Best Practices and What’s to Come

On Wednesday, April 9, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) hosted a call entitled “COVID-19 with Nursing Homes.” CMS leadership aimed to provide updates on the agency’s latest guidance, joined by leaders in the field interested in sharing best practices with their peers.… Continue Reading

California Department of Managed Health Care Releases Additional Guidance on Telehealth Services

On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the California Department of Managed Health Care (the “DMHC”) released a guidance letter (the “Letter”) to all health care service plans regarding billing for and delivering telehealth services during the COVID-19 state of emergency.  The Letter provides  follow-up guidance to previous guidance the DMHC released on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 … Continue Reading

HHS Further Relaxes HIPAA Regulations Governing Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

On April 2, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced a Notification of Enforcement Discretion to allow certain uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) by HIPAA business associates during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Understanding that the CDC, CMS and state and local … Continue Reading

FCC Now Accepting COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

As a follow up, to our post from Thursday, April 9, 2020, today, the FCC announced that it will  begin accepting applications for its $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program (“Program”). Health care providers can submit applications at the FCC’s Program Webpage, but should be sure to follow previous guidance for pre- and post-filing requirements.  A … Continue Reading

HHS Distributes First $30B of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund – What Providers Need to Know and Do Next

On Friday, April 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) began distributing $30B of the $100B appropriated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (“PHSSEF”), also called the “CARES Act Provider Relief Fund”.  HHS distributed the funds to providers based … Continue Reading

Increased Expenses and Lost Revenues? CARES Act Funding Opportunities for Health Care Providers and Suppliers

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) provides many avenues of potential funding relief for health care providers and suppliers who are suffering increased expenses and lost revenues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  Some of these funding opportunities may or will require affirmative action by a health care provider or … Continue Reading

Summary of Key Provisions of Interim Final Rule: CMS Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

On March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (the “IFC”) to address numerous regulatory and administrative changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Interim Final Rule was announced in conjunction with many other revisions and relaxations, and in addition to previously issued … Continue Reading
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