Department of Health & Human Services

On January 17, 2024, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) and the Office of Personnel Management issued a notice that they will reopen the period for submitting comments on the proposed rule, “Federal Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) Operations” (the “Proposed Rule”) under the No Surprises Act (the “Act”).Continue Reading Comment Period for the No Surprises Act Proposed Rule, “Federal Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) Operations,” Will Reopen

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a press release highlighting recent and forthcoming actions by the FTC, Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which they say will further promote competition, thereby lowering costs and increasing the quality of care in the U.S. health care market. In addition to highlighting recent actions by each of the agencies (e.g., the FTC’s proposed non-compete rule), the release states that the three agencies are entering into new partnerships to increase interagency cooperation and advance a “whole-of-government” approach to protect health care competition, including:Continue Reading FTC, DOJ, and HHS Announce Interagency Initiatives to Promote Healthcare Competition

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released its “Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2022” (the “Report”), highlighting continued enforcement and recovery actions under the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC). During fiscal year 2022 (FY 2022), over $1.7 billion was returned through HCFAC’s enforcement actions.Continue Reading HHS & DOJ FY 2022 Enforcement Targeted Fraud in COVID-19, Telemedicine, Opioid and Prescription Drugs, and Substance Use Treatment Centers, Among Other Initiatives

On November 2, 2023, the American Hospital Association and Texas Hospital Association, in conjunction with the Texas Health Resources and United Regional Health Care System, filed suit against the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) regarding OCR’s guidance on the use of online tracking technologies by HIPAA entities.[i] This action and its results will impact how healthcare entities must protect and may use certain information collected on their digital sites.Continue Reading Caught in the Web: Hospital Associations Sue OCR on Third-Party Web Tracking Guidance

Late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) posted Advisory Opinion No. 23-07 affirming the broad protection available for compensation to employed physicians under the bona fide employee exception and safe harbor to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (the “AKS”). The opinion highlights flexibility for healthcare providers seeking to compensate employees in ways that align incentives with their employers, and particularly for physician practices to align employed physicians with use of the practices’ ambulatory surgery center (“ASC”) capabilities.Continue Reading OIG Confirms the Broad Protection of Employee Safe Harbor

On June 16, 2023, nearly half of the State Attorneys General[1] penned a letter (the “Letter”) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) advocating for broader privacy protections surrounding reproductive health care information. Specifically, the Letter targeted the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “Proposed Rule”) published by OCR in April of 2023, which proposed a number of revisions to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).[2]Continue Reading State Attorneys General Pen Letter to OCR Advocating for Greater Privacy Protection of Reproductive Health Care Information

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently announced changes to its process for informing healthcare industry stakeholders of new or updated Compliance Program Guidance (CPG). Historically, sector-specific CPG has been published in the Federal Register. Going forward, the OIG will publish all current and updated CPG on its website.Continue Reading OIG’s Modernization of Compliance Program Guidance: What to Expect

The growth of private equity and other financial sponsor investments in the health care industry has led many states across the country to adopt expansive oversight authority over health care transactions. With the enactment of New York State’s budget for the State Fiscal Year 2023-2024, signed into law on May 3, 2023, the movement for more oversight in New York is coming this summer.Continue Reading New Notice and Public Disclosure Requirements for Material Health Care Transactions in New York

On April 17, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2024 Final Rule (the “Notice”) that includes standards for issuers and Marketplaces, and requirements for agents, brokers, web-brokers and others. The Notice implements various changes previously proposed by CMS, including (i) requiring provider networks to comply with network adequacy standards and delaying the implementation of appointment wait time standards, (ii) standardizing plan options, (iii) adding special enrollment periods to increase ease of obtaining coverage, (iv) strengthening markets, and (v) bolstering program integrity.Continue Reading CMS Releases Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2024 Final Rule

In February, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) delivered two annual reports to Congress for the 2021 calendar year as mandated by the HITECH Act, several notable takeaways were exposed. By providing data on enforcement actions and insight into areas of noncompliance, the reports assist HIPAA entities to mitigate risk, prioritize compliance efforts, and promote industry accountability.Continue Reading HHS OCR Delivered Annual Reports to Congress

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), recently issued a proposed rule to adopt standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) for “health care attachment” transactions (the “Proposed Rule”). The Proposed Rule would implement requirements of HIPAA’s administrative simplification regulations, which are intended to support healthcare claims and prior authorization transactions while also introducing a standard format for electronic signatures to be used in conjunction with health care attachments.Continue Reading CMS’s Administrative Simplification Rule Aims to Increase Efficiency and Standardization for Health Care Attachments