Health Law Observer

Timely insights and legal commentary on various health care issues and developments surrounding regulations, employment, transactions and a range of key industry matters. This blog is maintained by the Health Care Department of Stevens & Lee.

U.S. Anesthesia Partners and Welsh Carson File Motions to Dismiss FTC Antitrust Case

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that USAP and Welsh Carson carried out a three-part plan to consolidate and monopolize the anesthesiology market in Texas.
Researching finances

DOJ Drops No-Poach Criminal Case

This dismissal comes in the aftermath of the DOJ having previously lost four other criminal cases involving either no-poach or wage-fixing agreements.

Patients Suing Hospitals for Antitrust Violations – Do They Have Standing?

A recently decided case out of Connecticut provides a useful examination of how antitrust standing issues may be analyzed in cases involving commercially insured patients directly suing a health care system alleging economic harm.

OIG Issues General Compliance Program Guidance

This well-laid out reference guide will make life easier for compliance professionals and applies to all health care industry stakeholders.

Evading Transaction Roadblocks: Strategies for Common Late-Stage Dealbreakers

Late-stage transaction conflicts are not impassible and, if considered appropriately, can even result in an additional benefit to the Seller.

OIG Issues Unfavorable Opinion on Free Gifts for Purchasing Reimbursable Devices

The OIG recently ruled that a proposed arrangement offering that required additional devices billed to federal health care programs would violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the Beneficiary Inducements Civil Monetary Penalties Law.

Gag Clause Prohibitions in ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and the Public Health Service Act

We examine the gag clause prohibitions affecting health plan contracts and related compliance processes and issues.
Doctor at Computer

OIG Issues Favorable Opinion Concerning Bonus Payments to Employed Physicians

The OIG recently considered the question whether an employed physician can be paid bonus compensation relating to procedures performed by the physician without violating the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
federal trade commission building

FTC Abandons Axon Challenge Following Supreme Court Loss

With the fact that the constitutional challenges to its structure/processes would now be adjudicated by a district court, the FTC announced it was dropping its case.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Clarify Key Provisions of the False Claims and Anti-kickback Statutes

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the request of qui tam relators that it review the Sixth Circuit’s decision in a recent case resulting in an unregistered meaning for both Anti-kickback Statue and False Claims Act.
Judge gavel & doctor with stethoscope intertwining

Louisiana’s COPA Exempts Hospital Acquisitions from Federal Antitrust Laws

The District Court for the District of Louisiana recently issued an order granting motions for summary judgment in favor of a notable hospital merger, holding that Louisiana’s issuance of a COPA constituted state action.

False Claims Act’s Materiality Requirement Spotlighted Again in Recently-Decided Third Circuit Case

The False Claims Act’s materiality requirement as articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Universal Health Servs., Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 579 U.S. 176 was again front and center in a case decided by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Anesthesiologists preparing to put a patient under.

FTC Sues Private Equity Firm and Anesthesia Group Alleging Unlawful Monopolization in Texas Market

The FTC filed suit alleging that U.S. Anesthesia Partners, Inc. and the private equity firms, creating USAP, executed a multi-year anticompetitive scheme to consolidate anesthesiology practices in Texas to drive up prices in order to boost their own profits.
stethoscope on book

Draft Merger Guidelines: Rebutting a Claim of Substantial Lessening of Competition

We discuss rebuttal evidence that merging parties may offer to show that no substantial lessening of competition is threatened by the proposed merger.
Mergers and Acquisitions

FTC/DOJ Announce Three Public Workshops to Discuss the Draft Merger Guidelines

The workshops are aimed at promoting a “dynamic discussion” about the draft guidelines to complement the comments currently being submitted.
Operating Room Technology

OIG Says Proposed Surgery Monitoring Arrangement May Violate Kickback Statute

The OIG opinion is significant in that it again illustrates how the OIG may treat business arrangements with characteristics of a contractual joint venture as prohibited arrangements.

Do New Jersey Regulations Require Assisted Living Residence Admission Agreements to Contain Certain Language?

This post walks through a few of the requirements for the resident’s written agreement upon admission to a New Jersey assisted living residence.
Healthcare Merger representation

Details on the 2023 DOJ and FTC Proposed Merger Guidelines’ Potential Impact on Health Care Systems

This post provides additional detail as to how some of the 13 specific guidelines in the Proposed Guidelines are likely to be applied by the Agencies, especially as they are likely to impact mergers involving health care systems.
Doctor with physician burnout

New Stark Law Exception and Anti-Kickback Statute Safe Harbor Aim to Combat Physician Burnout

These efforts aim to permit health care entities to provide wellness programs to assist physicians and other clinicians seeking help for their mental health.
Rules and regulations book. Law, rules and regulations concept. 3d illustration

FTC and DOJ Issue Proposed Updated Merger Guidelines

The DOJ and FTC jointly issued a draft update of their Merger Guidelines intended to describe and guide the Agencies’ review of mergers and acquisitions to determine compliance with federal antitrust laws.
Mergers and Acquisitions

FTC Follows DOJ and Withdraws Antitrust Policy Statements

The Federal Trade Commission announced that it was withdrawing two antitrust policy statements related to enforcement in health care markets.
Elderly Couple Behavioral Health

PA House Passes Bill to Mandate Patient-to-Nurse Staffing Ratios

The Patient Safety Act proposes specific patient-to-nurse staffing ratios, staffing plans and reporting requirements for Pennsylvania hospitals, as well as protections for nurses in noncompliant hospitals.
nursing home

New Jersey’s First Hospital-Based Supportive Housing Opened Via Pioneering State Partnership Program

Barclay Place is a 56-unit housing community where supportive services are offered by St. Joseph’s Health.
columns of historic building

Supreme Court’s Decision in SuperValu May Benefit Defendants in False Claims Act Cases

The Court may have opened a door to what will ultimately become intense disagreement between the Government and relators on the one hand and FCA defendants on the other as to the meaning of the term “knowingly” as used in the FCA.