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.

Pile of Medical Bills

Federal Judge Throws Out 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, Rehab Facilities and Psychiatric Facilities

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

Updates to PA’s 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 from Heightened OIG and Regulatory Scrutiny

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

Physician Reporting Obligations: 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

PA Health Facility Licensure and 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 Concerns as New Jersey and Utah Health Systems 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

Upcoming Deadlines for PA Hospitals and Behavioral Health Providers to Spend and Report Act 2 of 2022 ARPA Funds

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 Per U.S. Surgeon General Advisory

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

New Federal Grant Targets Behavioral Health Services at Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facilities

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 Considerations 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.
Pharmacy Drugs

NJ Codey Law Updates – The End of the In-Practice Pharmacy?

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, upheld in an unpublished opinion that a medical practice may not own an in-practice pharmacy to which the physician owners refer patients.
gavel and stethoscope

PA Department of Health Defines Factors and Uses for “Innovative Hospital Models”

There is now a clear understanding what a hospital must do to operate Micro-Hospitals, Outpatient Emergency Departments and Tele-Emergency Departments.
Pile of Medical Bills

Federal Judge Throws Out Portions of “Surprise” Medical Billing Rule

A federal judge in Texas threw out parts of the No Surprises Act rule that established the arbitration process supported by Congress meant to protect patients from surprise medical bills.
Updated FAQ on Corporate Integrity Agreements Details Obligations for Reportable Event Disclosures

HIPAA Privacy Rule May Allow Stopgap to Subpoenas That “Order” Personal Health Information

Handling PHI requests from third parties is commonplace. However, it can be a bit intimidating to get a subpoena seeking PHI — not least given the subtle threat in the word itself.