On December 17, 2021, in a “Friday Night Surprise” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the Stay on the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).  This seminal ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees and requires that employees be either (1) vaccinated; or (2) weekly tested and fully masked if unvaccinated.  While it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the ETS stands, OSHA has already stated that they will begin enforcement of the ETS in January 2022.  Specifically, OSHA will enforce all requirements except testing for unvaccinated employees beginning January 10, 2022, and enforcement related to testing will begin February 9, 2022.

Continue Reading OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Survival Guide

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

The ABA Washington Health Law Summit is the premier legal conference focusing on health law policy and, as a result, offers insight into current and future major policy issues.  But, as always at this conference, there are the issues selected by the conference chairs and formally on the agenda – and then there are issues experienced practitioners can identify by reading between the lines.  Both are addressed below.

Continue Reading Health Law Policy Heading Into 2022 At The ABA Health Law Summit

Physicians and other providers can take a deep breath as Congress has acted to prevent the trio of Medicare payment cuts that were set to take effect at the beginning of 2022—a 3.75% cut due to scheduled changes in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (“PFS”), a 2% cut for Medicare sequestration, and a 4% Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYGO”) Act cut would have slashed Medicare payments by nearly 10% during a tumultuous time for healthcare. The Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act (S. 610) was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 7 and passed the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2021.  The bill has been sent to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

Continue Reading News Flash: Last Minute Congressional Action Saves Physicians from a Nearly 10% Cut to Medicare Payments

On December 2, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a memorandum (the “CMS Memo”) addressing survey and enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement applicable to Medicare and Medicaid participating healthcare providers and suppliers and their staff. The CMS Memo was issued in response to preliminary injunctions against the implementation and enforcement of the Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule  published on November 4, 2021, which requires staff working in Medicare or Medicaid certified providers and suppliers (including nursing facilities, hospitals, dialysis facilities and all other provider types covered by the rule) to have the shots necessary to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, 2022, and receive their first shot prior to December 6, 2021 (the “Rule”).

Continue Reading CMS Suspends Vaccine Mandate Enforcement for Healthcare Workers

On November 12, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) revised and finalized draft guidance first issued on May 3, 2019, for co-location of hospitals with other hospitals or healthcare providers[1] (the “Finalized Guidance”). The Finalized Guidance is intended to guide CMS Surveyors in evaluation of such hospitals’ compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation related to shared space, services, and staff.

Continue Reading CMS Loosens Restrictions on Co-Located Healthcare Providers; Enforcement Interpretation Still to Be Determined

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) recently issued a report concerning the use of telehealth to render behavioral health services to Medicaid enrollees, calling for greater evaluation and oversight in the hopes of encouraging states to implement changes to improve how their Medicaid programs use telehealth for behavioral health services, including mental health assessments, individual therapy, and medication management.

Continue Reading HHS OIG Studies State Medicaid Programs’ Use of Telehealth

On November 2, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced that it will be taking actions to advance its strategic commitment to drive innovation to support health equity and high quality, person centered care. CMS’ 2022 Physician Fee Schedule final rule (the “Final Rule”), will focus on, amongst other things:

Continue Reading Health Equity Remains a Priority for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2022

This post originally appeared as an article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal on October 29, 2021.

As of January 1, 2022, patients will no longer be at risk for one of the most detested practices in healthcare: surprise out-of-network bills.


Continue Reading Relief from Surprise Bills – Congress Passes the No Surprises Act What Providers and Insurers Need to Know