Federal Court Proceedings

The government buys billions of dollars in healthcare-related goods and services every year, and no government procurement is perfect. In a business where every contract award matters, healthcare contractors should be aware that they may have a second chance at winning a contract if the government agency made a material error in its procurement process. The question disappointed healthcare contractors should ask is whether the agency acted unreasonably in its evaluation and selection of the awardee. If the answer is “yes”—or even “maybe”—healthcare companies may file a bid protest at the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) challenging the award. If successful, the agency will often need to reevaluate proposals and make a new award, giving protestors another opportunity to be selected.Continue Reading A Second Chance to Win Your Government Healthcare Contract

Six months ago, we cautioned health plans and plan sponsors that states, the federal government, and private litigants were laser focused on Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“MHPAEA”) compliance. The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) investigated and closed 127 health plan investigations related to MHPAEA in FY 2020. Given the changes announced in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA”), and subsequent guidance, we expect heightened scrutiny of MHPAEA compliance from states, the federal government, and private parties.
Continue Reading State, Federal, and Private Enforcement of Mental Health Parity Compliance

In a February 10, 2021 ruling (the “Garcia Ruling”) out of the District Court for the Central District of California (the “CDCA Court”) in the case of Gilbert Garcia et al v. Welltower OpCo Group LLC, et. al., 20-02250JVS (C.D. Ca. Feb. 10, 2021), the CDCA Court held that the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (42 U.S.C. § 247d–6d) (the “PREP Act”) provides senior living facilities with an exemption from civil liability for actions taken by such facilities to protect facility residents from COVID-19.
Continue Reading Senior Living Communities, Liability for COVID-19 Countermeasures, and the PREP Act: Is the Tide Turning for Providers?

On November 10, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for California v. Texas, a case that will potentially decide the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).
Continue Reading Texas v. California: SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments About the Constitutionality of the ACA

On October 6, 2020, the US Supreme Court (the “Court”) heard arguments on an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) case that has the potential to curtail the rights of states to regulate their individual healthcare markets, in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (the “Case”).
Continue Reading ERISA: The Erosion of State Health Regulation Rights

In a setback to hospitals challenging deep cuts to reimbursement for prescription drugs acquired through the 340B drug pricing program (“340B Program”), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, on October 19, denied a request to reconsider a decision by three-judge panels of the Court upholding these cuts.  Short of a Supreme Court appeal, this decision effectively ends hospital challenges to these reimbursement reductions, and makes the implementation of additional cuts in 2021 a near inevitability.
Continue Reading The U.S. Court of Appeals Denies Rehearing on Cuts to 340B Drug Pricing Program

In its decision, the Court concluded that UnitedHealth Group, Inc. (“United”) was not authorized to engage in “cross-plan offsetting.” What is cross-plan offsetting? It is a “self-help” practice that third party administrators (“TPAs”) of employer-funded health plans (“ERISA Plans”) engage in by offsetting alleged overpayments made to an out-of-network provider under one TPA-administered ERISA Plan by withholding payments to the same provider under a different TPA-administered ERISA Plan. Cross-plan offsetting is not an issue for in-network providers since most, if not all, in-network contracts include very specific definitions of what an overpayment is and how it may be resolved. However, for out-of-network providers, there is no contract in place and this often leads to disagreements about what should be considered an overpayment and how overpayments may be resolved. From the TPA’s perspective, cross-plan offsetting alleviates the need to wait for the resolution of an overpayment dispute to recapture overpayments made by the TPA to the provider. From the provider’s perspective, cross-plan offsetting is the TPA version of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Sound complicated? Cross-plan offsetting is complicated! However, notwithstanding its complications, cross-plan offsetting is effective. In fact, it is so effective that on May 30, 2019, United filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Eighth Circuit’s decision and allow United and other TPAs to continue using cross-plan offsetting as a way to recover alleged overpayments.
Continue Reading Cross-Plan Offsetting in the Balance: UnitedHealth Group, Inc. Petitions the Supreme Court to Allow Cross-Plan Offsetting; Response to be Filed on or before July 31, 2019