Venture Capital And Private Equity Investors Take Note: Primary Care May Be The Next Behavioral Health

According to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) study reported in Health Affairs on March 24, 2020, national health care spending reached $3.81 trillion in 2019 and is projected to increase to $4.01 trillion by the end of 2020.  CMS also projects that by 2028, health care spending will reach $6.19 trillion, and will account for 19.7% of GDP, up from 17.7% in 2018. Continue Reading

Hospitals, Home Health Agencies, and Skilled Nursing Facilities: The Costs of COVID-19 and Federal Relief for Healthcare Providers

In a July 21, 2020 American Hospital Association (AHA) Press Release, the AHA announced the results of a new analysis prepared by Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC that, “highlights the dire impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the financial health of hospitals and health systems.”  According to the Press Release, the analysis shows that, without further government support, margins could sink to -7% in the second half of 2020, with half of all hospitals operating in the red.  In this same Press Release, the AHA referenced its own studies that estimate a minimum of $323.1 billion in COVID-19 – related financial losses for hospitals and health systems in 2020. Continue Reading

A Shot Across the Bow of the Pharmaceutical Industry: President Trump Issues a Quartet of Executive Orders on Drug Pricing that Might Eventually (OR NEVER?) Take Effect

On Friday, President Trump announced four executive orders directed at decreasing prescription drug prices by ordering certain actions by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).  One order – which has received the most negative reaction from the pharmaceutical industry – would create a “most-favored nation” policy to limit the price Medicare Part B pays for certain drugs to the lowest price paid in another Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country.  The White House did not release the text of this order on Friday and stated that it would not take effect until August 24, or at all if pharmaceutical companies can offer an alternative proposal to substantially reduce drug prices or if Congress acts. Continue Reading

Reopening Challenges: FAQs On Preparing For Additional Waves Of COVID-19

Many areas of the country are experiencing resurgences of COVID-19, and it is foreseeable that second and perhaps third waves of the virus will hit pockets of the country throughout the remainder of 2020. As healthcare organizations struggle to balance their continued response efforts to the pandemic, with preparations for future waves, we have received many questions from provider organizations regarding how best to prepare their organizations. Continue Reading

Site-Neutral Payments Stand: D.C. Court of Appeals Overturns Ruling and Allows Lower Payments to Off-Campus Provider-Based Departments

On July 17, 2020, in a blow to health care providers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a lower court’s more favorable ruling and held that the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) “site-neutral payment” policy may stand. Continue Reading

More Money On the Way in COVID-19 Fight: HHS Announces Additional $10B for Hospitals in High Impact COVID-19 Areas

On July 17, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced it will begin distributing $10 billion in a second round of funding to hospitals operating in high impact COVID-19 areas. The distribution is anticipated to begin as early as today, Monday, July 20, 2020. Hospitals with over 161 COVID-19 admissions between January 1 and June 10, 2020, or one admission per day, or that experienced a disproportionate intensity of COVID-19 admissions (exceeding the average ratio of COVID-19 admissions/bed) will receive funding in this distribution in the amount of $50,000 per eligible admission. Continue Reading

CMS Issues Proposed Home Health Agency Rule On Making Certain Telehealth Flexibilities Permanent, Increasing Medicare Payment Rates And Home Infusion Therapy Service Payment Rates For CY 2021

On June 25, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced its proposed Home Health Prospective Payment System Rule, for calendar year 2021 (the “Rule”), which aims to increase home health agency Medicare payment rates.  This Rule also includes a provision to make permanent the regulatory changes related to telecommunication technologies in providing care under the Medicare home health benefit beyond the expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”), which is set to time out at the end of July 2020. Continue Reading

Admonition To Members Of The Healthcare Industry: Don’t Give Trade Secret Protection The Short Shrift!

While traditionally healthcare businesses have tended to look to patent protection, it would behoove them to also think about trade secret protection to protect their valuable inventions.  Given the financial strains on businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses may find trade secret protection a cost-efficient alternative to the patent process. Trade secret enforcement also potentially can yield hundreds of millions, sometimes even over a billion, dollars for the trade secret holder.[1] Further, patent protection is not always available.[2] Continue Reading

The Decision is in: Hospitals Will be Required to Disclose Rates in 2021

In a June 23, 2020 decision, Judge Nichol of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and against the plaintiff hospital associations challenging CMS’s transparency rule. As a result,  hospitals will (pending any appeals) have to post private negotiated rates with payors effective January 1, 2021.  We discussed the lawsuit brought by the American Hospital Association (“AHA”), the Federation of American Hospitals, the Children’s Hospital Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges against CMS in our previous article. Continue Reading

The Post COVID-19 World: Continued Focus on Relaxing Telehealth Barriers

This week, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed the Equal Access to Care Act (the “EACA”), which would allow licensed providers to provide services via telehealth in any state, in any location for up to 180 days after the end of the public health emergency period. Continue Reading

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