Category Archives: Hospitals

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340B Program-Participating Hospitals Object to CMS’s Proposed Cuts to 340B Program Reimbursement: CMS’s Recent Information Collection Request

Information Collection Request. On November 27, 2019, 340B Health, a nonprofit membership organization comprised of hospitals and health systems that participate in the federal 340B drug pricing program (“340B Program”), submitted comments (“340B Comments”) to Seema Verma, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), objecting to an announcement by CMS on … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Key Kickback Statute, Stark Law, and False Claims Act Principles in Dismissing Allegations Against HCA

On July 31, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment to hospital operator HCA and dismiss relator Thomas Bingham’s allegations. Bingham v. HCA (S.D. Fla. July 31, 2019) (“Op.”). In a well-reasoned opinion, the Court affirmed several key holdings: There is no “remuneration”, … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Rejects CMS DSH Policy, Calls CMS Guidance Practices Into Question

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court upheld a D.C. Circuit Court decision vacating a policy of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) that would have “dramatically – and retroactively – reduced payments to hospitals serving low-income patients.” Azar v. Allina Health Services, 587 U.S. __ at 1 (2019). The Supreme Court’s Allina opinion … Continue Reading

California AG Aims to Block County’s Purchase of Two San Jose-Area Hospitals

On January 9, 2019, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California – Los Angeles Division (the “Court”), requesting that the court stay its December 27th Sale Order, which approved Santa Clara County’s $235 million bid to purchase two hospitals from Verity Health System … Continue Reading

340B Drug Pricing Program Litigation Update: Court Rejects CMS Drug Pricing Cuts

On December 27, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion that ruled against the Trump Administration in its plan to cut funding from the 340B Drug Pricing Program (“340B Program”).[1] Background As discussed in a November 17, 2018 posting on this blog, the reimbursement rates for the 340B Program … Continue Reading

More Than 700 CEOs of Hospitals and Health Systems Write to Congress to Stop Cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program

On October 2, 2018, the CEOs of more than 700 hospitals and health systems representing healthcare providers in all fifty states sent a letter to Congress (the “Letter”) in a collective effort to protect the 340B Drug Pricing Program (the “340B Program”).[1] The CEOs expressed their view that recent governmental actions have reduced the reach … Continue Reading

340B Drug Pricing Program Litigation Update: American Hospital Association, Et Al. v. Azar

On July 17, 2018, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the D.C. District Court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit led by the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and America’s Essential Hospitals challenging $1.6 billion in cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program. American Hospital Association, et al., v. Azar.… Continue Reading

Lifting the Limits on Physician-Owned Hospitals: Can Regulators Prevail Where Legislators Have Stalled?

We reported, in early 2017, on what was then the latest legislative effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s amendment to the Stark Law’s whole hospital exception, which amendment has effectively prevented new physician-owned hospitals from participating in the Medicare program. (You can visit—or revisit—that post, which explores arguments in favor of and in opposition … Continue Reading

Notes on Day 2 of the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

San Francisco (Tuesday, January 9, 2018): Day 2 of the 2018 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference provided concrete examples of the trends that have been discussed in recent years – the impact of shifting healthcare delivery modalities on hospitals, the opportunity for retail medicine, the need for more effective management of chronic conditions and the increasing … Continue Reading

‘Twas the Season to Contract? A Year-End Review of Network Negotiations and Billing Disputes

As 2017 drew to a close, some health plans and healthcare providers across the country were still busy trying to finalize contracts for in-network services for 2018 and beyond. A number of negotiations made the headlines in 2017, highlighting ongoing and emerging issues affecting network contracting. We recap for you some complex deals: in June, … Continue Reading

340B Drug Pricing Program Litigation Update

In November of last year, we wrote about a preliminary injunction being sought by hospital advocacy groups attempting to stop implementation of the Trump administration’s cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program (“340B Program”). Last week, the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction was denied and the case was dismissed in a final, appealable order. As … Continue Reading

Tax-Exempt Healthcare Organizations Brace for Impact as Senate Tax Reform Bill Passes

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 … Continue Reading

The 340B Drug Pricing Program: New CMS Final Rule Draws a Motion for Preliminary Injunction from Hospital Groups

On November 13, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final rule, “Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs” (“Final Rule”). The Final Rule, in addition to the usual collection of annual Medicare payment updates and adjustments for the coming year, includes … Continue Reading

Tax-Exempt Hospitals & Other Tax-Exempt Healthcare Organizations Not Immune from Federal Tax Reform

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 … Continue Reading

Exclusive Agreement Between Hospital and Insurance Plan Does Not Violate Section 1

The Seventh Circuit refused to revive an exclusive dealing claim by one hospital against its competitor because of an exclusivity agreement with an insurance plan. Judge Richard Posner wrote the short opinion strongly reiterating in the health insurance context the established principle that a competitor trying to attack vertical agreements under Section 1 of the … Continue Reading

To Report or Not to Report – Is it Really A Question?

In a May 15, 2017 Bankruptcy Court decision (Gardens Decision) from California’s Central District (In re Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center, Inc. (Bankr. C.D.Cal., May 15, 2017, No. 1617463), Judge Ernest M. Robles wrote that the grant of oversight and approval authority given to California’s Attorney General over buy/sell and change-in-control transactions between nonprofit … Continue Reading

Jury Returns Massive Verdict in Hospital Gown Fraud Lawsuit

On Friday, April 8, 2017, a federal jury in California sent shockwaves throughout the healthcare and legal community when it returned a $454 million verdict against Kimberly-Clark Corp. and its affiliate Halyard Health Inc. (together, “Kimberly-Clark”) in a case involving the sale of Kimberly-Clark’s MicroCool Breathable High Performance surgical gowns. The verdict is believed to … Continue Reading

New N. Calif. Report Suggests High Cost of Giving Birth Linked to Increased Health System Consolidation

Childbirth is the leading indication for hospital admission in California, with roughly 500,000 deliveries in the state each year. This is particularly challenging for health plans serving Northern California, the most expensive region in the country to give birth. New research suggests that increased health system consolidation may be a factor contributing to high prices, … Continue Reading

Initiative to Improve Quality After Discharge: New Caregivers’ Laws

This month Indiana,[i] Illinois,[ii]  California,[iii] Oregon,[iv] and New Hampshire[v] join  11 other states with newly effective Care Advise Record Enable (CARE) laws[vi] requiring hospitals to give patients the opportunity to designate caregivers to assist them after leaving the hospital.  These laws are in  response to an initiative from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) … Continue Reading

Exploring the Relationship Between Price and Competition Among Physician Practices

The latest from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is a thematic issue organized around a prominent topic in healthcare: price, cost, and competition. Contributing to the debate is an article titled, “Physician Practice Competition and Prices Paid by Private Insurers for Office Visits.”[1] The study is of particular interest because, as the … Continue Reading

From Competitors to Co-Adventurers, Seven Hospital Systems Join with Anthem Blue Cross to Shake Things Up in Southern California

Anthem Blue Cross and seven competing hospital systems in Southern California are joining forces to establish a new health plan offering, Vivity.[1]  Operating with a combined 14 hospitals and approximately 6,000 physicians, the venture has already announced its first major customer: the State of California’s pension fund manager, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).… Continue Reading

Nonprofit Hospital Revenue Growth Slows

For the second straight year in a row, nonprofit hospital expenses have increased more than revenue, according to a study of 383 hospital systems by Moody’s Investors Service released on August 27, 2014.  In an article published the same day by the New York Times, nonprofit hospital financial performance for 2013 was characterized as the … Continue Reading

A “virtual merger” is underway between Chicago-area Alexian Brothers Health System and Adventist Midwest Health

Chicago-area Alexian Brothers Health System and Adventist Midwest Health signed a non-binding letter of intent to form a joint operating company, a collaboration commonly referred to as a virtual merger. As Alexian brings five hospitals to the agreement and Adventist brings four, the health systems combined would create the third-largest network of hospitals in the … Continue Reading
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