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.

doctors looking at tablet

New Laws Expand the Autonomy of Physician Assistants in Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf signed five new bills into law, including legislation that provides for permanent COVID-19 waivers that will give physician assistants more leeway and autonomy to practice in Pennsylvania.
medical records folders

OCR Issues HIPAA and COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance

The Office for Civil Rights recently released guidance on HIPAA’s application to an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan and Private Employers

President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan and Private Employers

On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced a six-pronged COVID-19 Action Plan.
doctor holding swab and testing tube

Delaware Advances COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Health Care And State Employees

Delaware Governor John Carney ordered all state employees and health care workers to be vaccinated for COVID‑19 on or before September 30 or submit to regular COVID-19 testing.
hospital bed in hospital room

Legislation Aims to Regulate Nurse-to-Patient Ratios in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Senator Maria Collett recently announced the reintroduction of the Patient Safety Act to help set safe nurse-to-patient ratios in Pennsylvania – a problem that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
US Capitol and reflecting pool at sunset

White House Targets Health Care Industry with Executive Order Promoting Competition in the Economy

The White House issued a far-reaching Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, promoting a “whole-of-government” approach to promote competition in the economy with a specific focus on the health care industry.
Doctors Walking Through Shared Space

Back to 2017: Pennsylvania Law Allows Physicians to Delegate Informed Consent Responsibility

Treating physicians in Pennsylvania may once again delegate the responsibility to qualified practitioners for obtaining patients’ informed consent, per Governor Tom Wolf’s approval of SB 425.
Health Law Observer

CMS Stark Law Guidance Details Potential Avenue for New Practice Acquisition Structure

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued its first Stark Law advisory opinion of 2021 (and only its 19th ever since it started issuing advisory opinions in 1998).
calculator and stethoscop laying on paper

New Regulations on “Surprise” Emergency and Out-of-Network Medical Billing

The first of several regulations implementing the No Surprises Act of 2020 (H.R. 133) has been issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury, and the Office of Personnel Management.
stethoscope laying on money

Is a Cash-Only Medical Practice Subject to HIPAA?

The issue is one of definitions. HIPAA applies to covered entities and their business associates. Presuming for the purposes of this post that the practice is not a business associate, the question is whether our cash-only practice is a covered entity.
doctors looking at tablet

Delaware Legislation Aims to Improve Primary Care

The Delaware General Assembly released Senate Bill 120 for consideration. The Bill’s sponsors, Senator Bryan Townsend and Representative David Bentz, seek to improve primary care access for Delaware residents.
lock and stethoscope on a keyboard

HHS OCR Shares Cybersecurity Actions to Prevent Ransomware

In light of the increasing threat posed by cyberattacks, the federal government has prioritized focusing on promoting cybersecurity practices.
latex gloves and a face mask

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standard for Health Care Employers

OSHA recently issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) governing COVID-19 precautions in the health care setting.
patients visiting doctor on laptop

Delaware Spotlight: New Law Requires Collaborative Agreements Between Physician Assistants and Physicians

Delaware Governor John Carney signed into law House Bill No. 33, as amended, which, among other things, changes the relationship between physicians and physician assistants in Delaware from supervisory to collaborative.
doctor holding swab and testing tube

New COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Long-Term Care and Intermediate Care Facilities Regarding Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities

CMS announced an interim final rule, that revises the infection control requirements long-term care facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Changes to HSR Reportability

Focus on Stark Law Changes: CMS’s Attempts to Simplify

In its efforts to modernize and clarify the Stark Law, CMS took steps to make compliance with the Stark Law simpler.
stethoscope laying on money

Don’t Forget the Anti-Dilution Clause in Stock Option Contracts

When reviewing a consulting or other agreement including stock options, it is important that the physician include an anti-dilution clause.
two cities as puzzle pieces merging together

Should Your Hospital Consider Reclassification?

Be on the alert for the publication of the interim final Rule on Hospital Reclassification and consider if your hospital should apply for geographic reclassification.
stethoscope and bag of money on a scale

Key Considerations for Selling Your Practice

When considering options, physicians need to decide what is most important to them and, based on that, prioritize their goals and strategies.
stethoscope and blood pressure device

An Overview of Delaware’s COPR Program

Delaware first passed its COPR statute in 1978 to comply with a then existing federal law requiring state certificate of need statutes designed to improve the delivery of health care.
man holding paper and a pen

Delaware Spotlight: Peer Review Privilege and Case Law Update

A recent case highlights the continued importance for a health care system or other organization with a peer review committee to understand what is protected by the Delaware Peer Review Statute and the steps that should be taken to avoid waiving the protection.

Focus on Stark Law Changes: New Limited Physician Remuneration Exception

This post takes a deeper dive into one of the new Stark Law provisions — the new exception for certain types of limited remuneration to physicians.
doctor looking at a tablet

The Provision of Acute Care Hospital Services in the Home During the COVID Public Health Emergency

The Acute Hospital Care at Home program is an expansion of the CMS Hospital Without Walls initiative that is intended to create additional flexibility for hospitals as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Outline of Certain Tax Reform

Avoiding Successor Liability in Asset Acquisitions

It is a fundamental principle, and an attractive characteristic, of asset acquisitions that the buyer can choose the assets they want to purchase and leave behind unwanted liabilities.