A California Superior Court judge recently issued an order granting the Service Employees International Union’s (“SEIU”) petition for writ of mandate under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) and ordered the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) to produce the names and personal home addresses of approximately 180,000 healthcare employees who hold licenses or certificates issued by CPDH. The order requires the production of this personal contact information no later than May 22, 2018.
Continue Reading California Superior Court Judge Orders Department of Public Health to Make Names and Personal Home Addresses of Approximately 180,000 Health Care Workers Available to SEIU; Union Organizing Activities Likely to Spike

As described in an April 17, 2018 article originally posted on the Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton, LLP False Claims Act Defense Blog, Kmart Corporation and the U.S. Department of Justice entered into a False Claims Act settlement agreement dated March 8, 2018, to end an investigation that was conducted jointly by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and California’s Bureau of Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse.

In a March 8, 2018 Press Release issued by the Department of Justice, the Department reported that the settlement was the result of a whistleblower lawsuit against Kmart in which the whistleblower, a Pharmacist-in-Charge at a California Kmart location in Lakeport, California, alleged that Kmart violated the federal False Claims Act by knowingly submitting claims for reimbursement to California’s Medi‑Cal program that were not supported by applicable diagnosis and documentation requirements.  As described in the March 8, 2018 Press Release, Kmart paid $525,000, as required by the Settlement Agreement; of this amount, $96,500 went to the whistleblower.
Continue Reading In Case Alleging Nationwide Pharmacy Fraud, Kmart Scores Narrow Settlement

Historically, health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”) have been uncomfortable neighbors. Plans provide drug coverage, but contract out the provision of such drugs to independent PBMs. PBMs in turn earn market rents by negotiating discounts (and big rebates) with Big Pharma, in turn offering structured medication formularies to plans.
Continue Reading Health Plans and Pharmacy Benefit Managers – Past and Future

Last Tuesday, February 27, 2018, representatives of CVS Health and Aetna went before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law (“Subcommittee”) to argue in favor of CVS Health’s recently proposed acquisition of Aetna.[1] The Hearing, “Competition in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: the Proposed Merger of CVS Health and Aetna,” has drawn significant attention from stakeholders in the healthcare marketplace who are looking at the testimony and questions as an indicator of the current Congressional mood regarding (i) the antitrust/anticompetitive concerns raised by the transaction’s detractors, and (ii) the pro-consumer benefits (e.g., reduction in healthcare care costs and the transformation of the CVS Pharmacy locations into community medical hubs for primary care and basic procedures) identified by the transaction’s supporters.
Continue Reading Proposed CVS Health-Aetna Acquisition Holds Strong in Congressional Hearing

Today, President Trump signed into law a sweeping tax reform bill passed by the House and the Senate on Wednesday that will materially affect virtually every sector in the economy, including, perhaps to a greater degree than others, the healthcare sector. Between the bill’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty tax and other pertinent provisions, we might reasonably expect to see:
Continue Reading President Trump Signs Tax Reform Bill Into Law

Update. We described in a previous blog post major changes that tax-exempt hospitals and other tax-exempt organizations in the healthcare industry face in the tax reform proposals working their way through Congress. In the early hours of Saturday, December 2, 2017, the Senate narrowly passed its tax reform bill. Although the Senate’s bill has much in common with the bill passed by the House of Representatives, there are significant differences. Accordingly, the House voted yesterday, December 4, 2017, to proceed with a conference committee to reconcile the two bills. A reconciled bill would still need to be approved by both the House and Senate. The Republicans are pushing hard to enact a final bill before year end.
Continue Reading Tax-Exempt Healthcare Organizations Brace for Impact as Senate Tax Reform Bill Passes

On November 2, 2017, CMS published its final rule (the “Final Rule”) on the 2018 Quality Payment Program (“QPP”), authorized by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (“MACRA”). This final rule adopted many of the proposals put forward by CMS in its June 2017 proposed rule, summarized here. But the final rule is not merely a rehash of the proposed rule, and there are several features that may have important implications that should be on practitioners’ immediate radar. These include:
Continue Reading MACRA Quality Payment Program Final Rule: Implications for 2018 and Beyond

As federal tax reform efforts proceed rapidly in both chambers of Congress, tax-exempt hospitals and other tax-exempt healthcare organizations are facing major potential changes. New tax burdens on tax-exempt organizations are among the ways in which the bills would raise revenue to pay for proposed tax cuts for businesses and individuals. Importantly, it is still early in the legislative process, and much may change as Republicans race to have a bill signed into law before the end of the year.
Continue Reading Tax-Exempt Hospitals & Other Tax-Exempt Healthcare Organizations Not Immune from Federal Tax Reform

Caveat: As of the date of this writing, there are indications that revisions to the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (“BCRA”) are in the works and may be issued as soon as Friday, June 30, 2017. If a revised BCRA is issued, there will be a new CBO report generated with respect to the revised bill. We will continue to watch the progress of the BCRA and, as a result, we will post to this blog additional blog posts regarding BCRA revisions, if any, and the BCRA’s advancement through the Senate, if any.

In Part VI of our blog series, Very Opaque to Slightly Transparent: Shedding Light on the Future of Healthcare, we outlined the “Macarthur Amendment” to the American Health Care Act (“AHCA”), which led to the bill’s narrow passage in the House on May 4, 2017. Almost 50 days later, on June 22, 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a “discussion draft” of the Senate’s response: the BCRA. While in large part similar to its House counterpart, there are some important changes, outlined below.
Continue Reading Part VII: The Senate’s Response to the American Health Care Act