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.

Mergers and Acquisitions

COPA-Like Agreements in Pennsylvania and COPA Rules in Neighboring States

We examine COPA-like agreements in Pennsylvania where health systems seeking to merge as well as a COPA rules in neighboring states.
FTC building

Federal Trade Commission Policy Paper Takes Hard Stance Against Certificates of Public Advantage

In the recently issued Policy Paper and based in part on the empirical evidence that it gathered, the FTC vigorously disputes the claimed justifications for COPAs.
Mergers and Acquisitions

Possible Changes to the 2010 Merger Guidelines Regarding Pro-Competitive Efficiencies

The questions posed by the Agencies serve as a useful roadmap for hospital systems considering a merger and addressing the issue of pro-competitive benefits.
Test Tubes for Clinical Trial

FDA Working to Encourage Diversity and Equity in Clinical Trials 

The FDA has recently made efforts to encourage more diversity and equity in clinical trials by releasing “Diversity Plans to Improve Enrollment of Participants from Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Populations in Clinical Trials.” 
Pile of Medical Bills

Yet Another Portion of “Surprise” Medical Billing Rule

Judge Jeremy Kernodle of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas decided to throw out another portion of the “No Surprise Act” in Lifenet, Inc., v. United States Department of Health and Human Services
person looking at medical information on iphone

Overview of HHS Guidance on Audio-Only Telehealth Services

HHS recently issued guidance on telehealth services through audio-only mediums that clarifies how covered entities can provide, with HIPAA compliance, services through audio-only telehealth appointments.
Stethoscope on Money

Medicare Boosts Payments for Hospices, Rehabs and Psychiatric

The Biden administration recently released three final rules that provide for an aggregate $1.19 billion increase in Medicare payments for hospices, rehabilitation facilities, and psychiatric facilities.
Mergers and Acquisitions

Tying, Tiering, Steering and Gag Clause Issues Front and Center Again

Following a spate of completed merger transactions, complaints have been filed by purchasers of health care services alleging monopolization of power

PA Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Confidentiality Laws

Providers must ensure that patient information disclosures comply with the stricter confidentiality provisions of PA laws.

36 Charged in Telehealth Fraud Schemes

The OIG encourages practitioners to exercise caution when entering into arrangements with telemedicine with “suspect” characteristics.

Physician Reporting: Navigating Workers’ Compensation and HIPAA in PA

We examine how necessary worker's compensation disclosures comport with HIPAA’s privacy protections in Pennsylvania.
Rural Emergency Room

Should You Be a Rural Emergency Hospital?

The federal assistance opportunities for Rural Emergency Hospitals may prompt facilities to transition to this model -- we delve into their requirements. 
gavel and stethoscope

Outpatient Psychiatric Oversight Law Changes on the Horizon

A summary of some key takeaways from each piece of legislation that affects particular health care facilities.
Medical stethoscope

Coverage and Funding Details of the Healthy Delaware Families Act

 The Act provides a 12‑week paid family and medical leave program, financed by the State’s paid leave trust fund. We analyze key coverage and funding details.
Mergers and Acquisitions

FTC Reemphasizes Antitrust as NJ and Utah Abandon Proposed Mergers

Holly Vedova, the FTC’s Bureau of Competition Director, issued statements announcing that both mergers have been called off.
Mergers and Acquisitions

FTC Seeks to Block Hospital “Mergers” in New Jersey and Utah

PA hospitals and behavioral health providers that received payments under Act 2 of 2022 are required to report specific information to DHS
gavel and stethoscope

Deadlines for PA Hospitals and Behavioral Health Care to Report

PA hospitals and behavioral health providers that received payments under Act 2 of 2022 are required to report specific information to DHS
Doctor with physician burnout

Six Ways to Mitigate Health Worker Burnout

We outline key recommendations that may serve as a helpful starting point for health care providers and others to formulate a health care burnout mitigation strategy.
Elderly Couple Behavioral Health

Grant Targets Behavioral Health at Nursing Home and Long-Term Care

The Department of Health and Human Services announced almost $15 million in funding to strengthen the delivery of behavioral health care services to residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Operating Room Technology

OIG Anti-Kickback Opinion Examines Physician Ownership of Medical Device Manufacturer and Referrals

OIG issued Advisory Opinion 22-07 delves into whether physicians who have an ownership interest in a medical device company are at risk for anti-kickback sanctions.
Capitol Building Image

Bipartisan Mental Health Legislation Awaits House Vote

Legislation includes provisions that address mental health concerns in children and focus on expanding access to mental health care.

Policy for Voice-Controlled Devices Used in Senior Care Facilities

We examine key privacy rights considerations as well as best practices for shaping effective policies for voice-controlled device usage in senior care settings.
Mergers and Acquisitions

How Does the Third Circuit Analyze Hospital Mergers?

We examine how the FTC and courts such as the Third Circuit currently analyze proposed hospital mergers.
reports with magnifying glass

Key Issues in Direct Health Care Contracting with Employers

We examine a list of some high-level questions for health care providers to consider when directly contracting with employer plans.