Photo of Lynsey Mitchel

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

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, the California Department of Managed Health Care (the “Department”) released an all plan letter (the “Letter”) regarding changes to the Department’s General Licensure Regulation (the “Regulation”) in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  The Letter updated the Department’s previous guidance concerning the Regulation that was issued on June 13, 2019.  For further information, see our previous post regarding the Regulation here.  
Continue Reading The California Department of Managed Health Care Extends the Phase-In Period for the General Licensure Regulation

On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the California Department of Managed Health Care (the “DMHC”) released a guidance letter (the “Letter”) to all health care service plans regarding billing for and delivering telehealth services during the COVID-19 state of emergency.  The Letter provides  follow-up guidance to previous guidance the DMHC released on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 (the “Initial Guidance”).  The DMHC has also provided additional information regarding the most frequently asked telehealth questions it has received (the “FAQs”).
Continue Reading California Department of Managed Health Care Releases Additional Guidance on Telehealth Services

This COVID-19 – LEGAL GUIDE FOR MEDICAL GROUPS (“Guide”) provides a general discussion of legal issues confronting medical groups as a result of COVID-19, including employee protections, infection control, and reporting obligations, workforce management and related mitigation strategies, employee obligations, business and payor relationships, privacy and telehealth, Medicare changes, and strategic transactions.
Continue Reading COVID-19 — Legal Guide for Medical Groups

On December 20, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on program integrity for Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plans.  This rule implements a number of provisions from the ACA, including the requirement that each state have the opportunity to establish an Exchange, as well as the steps the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) may take to oversee Exchanges’ compliance with HHS standards, including ensuring their financial integrity, including conducting investigations and annual audits, and the requirement that the Secretary establish procedures to verify the accuracy of information provided by applicants, including eligibility to purchase qualified health plans (QHPs) through the Exchange and for advance payments of premium tax credit (APTC) and cost-sharing reductions (CSRs).
Continue Reading Health and Human Services Exchange Program Integrity Final Rule

Background

On June 28, 2018, California’s new privacy bill A.B-375 was signed into law as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”). On October 10, 2019, the California Attorney General issued proposed regulations for implementing and interpreting the CCPA.[1] Effective on January 1, 2020, the CCPA will apply to all for-profit entities and businesses that:

  • Do business in California;
  • Collect the personal information (“PI”) of California residents, and
  • (a) Annually have gross revenues of $25 million or more; (b) derive half or more of their annual revenue from selling PI; or (c) transact in the PI of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices per year.[2]


Continue Reading The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018: Why the Healthcare Sector Needs to Pay Attention (and Not Just in California)

On Monday, August 8th, the Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs of the Department of Managed Health Care (the “Department”) released a letter of opposition (the “Letter”) to Assembly Bill 1249 (“AB 1249”). The Letter was addressed to Brian Maienschein of the California State Assembly, who is the lead author of AB 1249.
Continue Reading California Department of Managed Health Care Opposes AB 1249

On March 4, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a wide-ranging proposed rule (“Proposed Rule”)[1] with the intent to “move the health care ecosystem in the direction of interoperability” in alignment with the objectives set out in the 21st Century Cures Act (“Cures Act”)[2] and Executive Order 13813.[3] According to CMS, this Proposed Rule is a key step in putting patients at the center of their health care and ensuring that they have access to their health information – attempting to solve the problem of accessing complete health information from different providers and payors. CMS believes patients should have the “ability to move from health plan to health plan, provider to provider, and have both their clinical and administrative information travel with them throughout their journey.”[4] A twin goal is that health IT should not “detract from the clinician-patient relationship… or from the quality of work life for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals.”[5]
Continue Reading Overview of Proposed Rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regarding Interoperability and Patient Access to Data

After a protracted comment period, the California Department of Managed Health Care (the “Department”) formally adopted its much anticipated “global risk” regulation (the “Regulation”), which will go into effect on July 1, 2019. As more specifically set forth in Section 1300.49 of the California Code of Regulations (“CCR”) and as described below, the Department has formalized its long-standing policy that any person that assumes “global risk” must obtain a license to operate a health care service plan and has added a process whereby such a person can seek an exemption from such licensure. As a result of new definitions for the terms “global risk” and “prepaid or periodic charge,” the Regulation marks a significant expansion of the Department’s oversight activity, and is likely to have a substantial impact on a variety of entities and arrangements in the State.
Continue Reading New Regulation Clarifies DMHC’s Position Regarding Knox-Keene Licensing

Balanced billing or “surprise billing” has been getting increased attention at both the federal and state level. Balance bills arise when a payor covers out-of-network care, but the provider bills the patient for amounts beyond what the payor covers and beyond cost-sharing amounts. California has been tackling this issue for over a decade. This article provides an update regarding two pieces of California legislation – A.B. 72, effective in 2017 and A.B. 1611, newly proposed – which concern balance billing.
Continue Reading Balanced Billing in California: Update Regarding 2016’s A.B. 72 and an Overview of Newly Introduced Bill A.B. 1611

Dual Special Needs Plans

This part 6 of our 7 part series focuses on the provisions regarding dual special needs plans (“D-SNPs”) released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) in the proposed rule issued on November 1, 2018 (the “Proposed Rule”). D-SNPs enroll individuals who are entitled to both Medicare and medical assistance from a state under Medicaid. States cover some Medicare costs, depending on the particular state and the member’s eligibility. As reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation in “Medicare Advantage 2017 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update,” Gretchen Jacobson, Anthony Damico, Tricia Neuman, and Marsha Gold ( June 6, 2017), enrollment in special needs plans increased from 2.1 million in 2016 to 2.3 million in 2017 – and 81% of members of these plans are enrolled in D-SNPs.
Continue Reading Blog Series Part 6: CMS Proposed Rule on Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicaid Fee-For-Service and Medicaid Managed Care Programs for Years 2020 and 2021