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Audrey Crowell is an associate in the Corporate & Securities Practice Group in the firm's Dallas office.

On July 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a proposed new rule[1] that significantly expands the scope of protection available to vulnerable populations under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”).

Continue Reading Proposed Rule Leverages Section 1557 for Healthcare Equity

Last month, in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C., the Supreme Court denied a petitioner’s right to emotional distress damages in a private action brought under federal anti-discrimination laws. The Petitioner, a woman who is both deaf and legally blind, alleged that when she requested an American Sign Language interpreter at Premier Rehab Keller (“Premier”), the clinic denied her request, resulting in her inability to receive treatment. She filed suit under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Rehab Act”) and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), two federal statutes that prohibit recipients of federal funding from discriminating in the delivery of services based on disability. The Fifth Circuit dismissed her claim, reasoning that emotional distress damages are categorically unavailable in private actions and cannot be used to enforce either the Rehab Act or the ACA. As explained below, the Supreme Court affirmed the Fifth Circuit ruling.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Discrimination Case Narrows Scope of Restitution for Individuals

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