On June 30, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to stabilize and promote the retention of California’s healthcare workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This response included the allocation of $1.3 billion for retention payments to physicians and other clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers. California’s Department of Health Care Services (“DHCS”) will administer the distribution of those funds through its Hospital and Skilled Nursing Facility COVID-19 Worker Retention Payment program (the “WRP”). The program is designed so that WRP payments will first be made to eligible employers, who then will pass through the WRP funds to individual physicians and other healthcare workers. In order to receive WRP funds, California employers must register with and provide certain information to DHCS on an expedited timeline.
The Jackson v. Dobbs decision catalyzed a shift in the legal landscape of reproductive rights in the United States. The decision held that there is no federal constitutional right to an abortion, leaving the ability to regulate access to abortion services to the states. In the wake of this ruling, there have been a number of legal developments that range from states implementing laws that prohibit or restrict access to reproductive care, to federal agencies taking action to protect patient privacy and preserve access to reproductive care. Below are some of the most recent developments* at the federal and state levels:…
Texas HB 1445, which went into effect on January 1, 2022, exempts medical billing services performed before the submission of the relevant insurance claim from state sales tax. The new legislation legally exempts medical billing services from the statutory definition of taxable “insurance services.” Practically speaking, this relieves management services companies, and ultimately physicians and patients, from bearing the burden of tax payments of up to 8.25% for the provision of certain medical billing services. The legislation is hailed by many as a meaningful step in lowering needlessly high healthcare costs, which are felt by patients and providers alike.
Continue Reading Tax Break for Certain Medical Billing Services in Texas
Scope of practice expansion has been a hot-button issue within medical communities and state legislatures for more than thirty years. The debate is centered on what services advanced practice providers (“APPs”) who hold Master’s Degrees (e.g., Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Pharmacists, Dental Hygienists, etc.) should or should not be able to furnish in their professional practices. Scope of practice is defined by state regulatory boards, often based on limitations established by state legislatures.
Continue Reading Debate Continues Around Scope of Practice Expansion for APPs
On October 4, 2021, the California Senate Bill 650 (“SB 650”), also known as the Corporate Transparency in Elder Care Act of 2021, was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. As described below, SB 650 is designed to provide the public with greater transparency as to skilled nursing facility (“SNF”) ownership and finances.
Continue Reading What Price Transparency? California SB 650 Shines Light on Skilled Nursing Facility Ownership while Creating New Reporting Burdens for California Skilled Nursing Facilities
On October 4, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed California bill SB-664 “Hospice licensure: moratorium on new licenses” (the “Bill”) into law. The Bill, which passed the California Assembly on September 8, 2021 and the California Senate on September 9, 2021, imposes a moratorium on the California Department of Public Health (the “Department”) issuing new hospice licenses on or after January 1, 2022. Under the California Hospice Licensure Act of 1990, a person, political subdivision of the state, or other governmental agency must obtain a license from the Department to provide hospice services to an individual who is experiencing the last phase of life due to a terminal disease. The moratorium will end either three hundred and sixty five (365) days from the date the California State Auditor publishes a report on hospice licensure or when the provisions of the Bill are repealed on January 1, 2027, whichever is sooner. The Department may grant an exception to the moratorium upon making a written finding that an applicant for a new license, or with a license application pending on January 1, 2022, has shown a ‘demonstrable need’ for hospice services in the area. However, the Bill does not affect the Department’s ability to renew existing licenses.
Continue Reading New California Law Imposes Moratorium on New Hospice Licenses
On July 1, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued new regulations (the “Regulations”) effective immediately that more narrowly limit the circumstances under which instances of unauthorized access to medical information have to be reported to CDPH. The new regulations also give CDPH more discretion to adjust penalties for violations. The Regulations complement Section 1280.15 of the Health and Safety Code (“Section 1280.15”) requiring state-licensed clinics, health facilities, home health agencies, and hospices to prevent any unlawful or unauthorized access to, or use or disclosure of, a patient’s medical information, and to report any unauthorized access, use or disclosure to the Department no later than fifteen (15) business days after the breach was detected.
Continue Reading California Issues New Health Facility Breach Reporting Requirements
On June 23, 2021, Delaware Governor John Carney signed House Bill 160, the Telehealth Access Preservation and Modernization Act of 2021 (the “Bill” or “HB160”) which continues and enhances Delaware residents’ access to telehealth services and, through the adoption of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (the “Compact”), ensures that telehealth services can be provided through qualified medical practitioners in a streamlined and efficient pathway to licensure that, according to the Bill’s supporters, meets the health care delivery system needs of the 21st century.
Continue Reading The “State” of Telehealth: Delaware Expands Access to Telehealth
On June 1, 2021, the Oregon Governor, Kate Brown, signed House Bill 2508A (“HB2508A” or the “Bill”) which, among other things, requires parity for healthcare services delivered through telehealth, upon satisfaction of certain criteria. The Bill expands coverage of and reimbursement for telehealth services in Oregon, promoting equitable and safe access to care.
Continue Reading The “State” of Telehealth: Oregon Looks to Provide Parity for Telehealth
On May 30, 2021, Illinois lawmakers passed House Bill 3308 (“HB3308” or the “Bill”) aimed at expanding the use of telehealth services in the state. The Bill would increase access and coverage to telehealth by establishing payment parity for behavioral health and substance abuse services and by establishing a panel to study payment parity for all telehealth services.
Continue Reading The “State” of Telehealth: Illinois Moves to Expand Telehealth Coverage
In our January 26, 2021 blog post “Permanency for Out of State Telehealth Services? Arizona Seeks to Make Permanent Changes to Licensure Requirements”, we discussed Arizona’s push to make permanent resolutions to the temporary telehealth exceptions issued in connection with the public health emergency (the “Pandemic”). In that article, we also noted that Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, as part of his “State of the State” address, proposed permanent changes to healthcare access which would allow Arizona residents to access healthcare providers through the use of telemedicine. As of May 5th, we have begun to see the first steps in implementing those changes.
Continue Reading The “State” of Telehealth: Arizona (Part 2) Arizona Is All-in On Telehealth