Foster Swift health care attorneys are getting ready to attend the 20th Annual Health Law Institute March 6 and 7. The Institute provides attorneys with the opportunity to learn about the most recent statutory, regulatory, and case law developments in the health care industry. Co-sponsored by the Health Care Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, this educational opportunity offers a range of presentations from numerous leaders in the health care legal community. Read More ›
On Feb. 4, 2014, new legislation took effect amending Michigan's Do-Not-Resuscitate Procedure Act (the "Act").The Act allows a guardian, who has the power under Michigan’s guardianship laws, to consent to a do-not-resuscitate order (“DNR Order”) on behalf of a legally incapacitated person under certain conditions. This power does not extend to a guardian ad litem.
In 1996, Michigan passed the Act, which permits a competent adult or his or her patient advocate to sign a DNR Order instructing emergency personnel not to perform potentially life-saving procedures in the event of the cessation of respiration and circulation. However, the Act did not give express authority to a guardian acting on behalf of an individual to authorize a DNR Order. Read More ›
Any disciplinary sanction against a health professional’s license can have serious collateral consequences, such as termination from provider networks, loss of malpractice insurance or substantially increased rates, medical staff investigations and proceedings, adverse employment actions, and reports to the National Practitioner Data Bank. A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision highlights an added risk that many health professionals and their attorneys may not have known. A relatively minor licensing sanction was used, with devastating effect, as evidence in an unrelated malpractice action.
A dentist was sued for malpractice following a root canal procedure in Holder v Schwarcz. The jury awarded $67,500 in damages and the trial court granted $151,555 in case evaluation sanctions. The dentist had been involved in an unrelated licensing investigation relating to root canals for another patient. The licensing action was resolved through a consent order. In a consent order, a health professional does not admit any allegations in the licensing complaint, but agrees that the board’s disciplinary subcommittee may treat them as true and enter a sanction for violating the Public Health Code. The sanction imposed against the dentist in the licensing action included probation for one year, a requirement for ten hours of continuing education, and a $5,000 fine. The sanction was fairly typical for a licensing case alleging negligent care. Read More ›
On Feb. 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service published final rules (the “Final Rules”) related to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”). The Employer Shared Responsibility provisions, referred to as the “Employer Mandate,” generally require certain employers to offer minimum essential health care coverage to their full-time employees or face penalties. The Employer Mandate was originally scheduled to become effective on Jan. 1, 2014 but was delayed until Jan. 1, 2015.
The Final Rules include a second delay of the Employer Mandate. They provide that employers who employ 50 – 99 full time equivalent employees will not be required to comply with the Employer Mandate until Jan. 1, 2016. Additionally, those employers who employ 100 or more full time equivalent employees must offer minimum essential coverage to only 70 percent of those full time employees by Jan. 1, 2015 (as opposed to the 95 percent coverage requirement under the previous regulations). Those employers employing 100 or more full time employees will be required to offer coverage to 95 percent of all full time employees by Jan. 1, 2016. The chart below summarizes the basic details concerning this delay. Read More ›
On Jan. 2, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a proposed rule related to the Administrative Simplification requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). Specifically, it delayed the date by which health plans must certify compliance with certain operating rules imposed by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).
The ACA required the Secretary of HHS to adopt operating rules related to claims status, eligibility, electronic funds transfers ("EFT") and health care payment and remittance advice transactions ("ERA"). Health plans (and other covered entities) were required to comply with the claims status and eligibility operating rules by Jan. 1, 2013 and the EFT and ERA operating rules by Jan. 1, 2014. Additionally, health plans were required to file a statement with HHS certifying that the health plan is in compliance with the operating rules. This certification statement was due by Dec. 31, 2013. Read More ›
While originally scheduled to start in 2014, now beginning in 2015, "large employers" will be required to provide adequate health care coverage to their full time employees or pay a penalty. This requirement is known as health care reform’s Employer Mandate. In order to assess whether your company is subject to the Employer Mandate, you must first determine whether your company is a "large employer." Read More ›
On Dec. 27, 2013, final rules were published in the Federal Register by the Office of Inspector General and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These rules amend regulations protecting certain arrangements involving the donation of electronic health records (EHR) software or information technology and training services related to such EHR software from the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark law. The final rules are nearly identical to one another and make five primary changes to the EHR provisions: Read More ›
A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision offers a glimmer of hope to health professionals who face the unenviable prospect of appealing adverse decisions made by licensing boards. Since 1994, the Public Health Code has required that appeals by licensed health professionals from adverse licensing decisions be filed in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Over the past two decades, there have been very few cases where the Court of Appeals held that a decision by a licensing board was legally incorrect or factually unsupported. Read More ›
With the HIPAA changes taking effect in September of 2013, many health care providers are scrambling to update notices and policies to become compliant. One such notice that needs to be updated is the Notice of Privacy Practices. Read More ›
Omnicare Inc., the nation's largest dispenser of prescription drugs in nursing homes, announced on October 23, 2013, that it has agreed to pay $120 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging kickbacks to nursing homes.
The whistleblower in the case, an Ohio pharmacist named Donald Gale, worked for Omnicare from 1993 until 2010. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Cleveland in 2010, accused Omnicare of giving discounts for prescription drugs to nursing homes for certain Medicare patients in return for referrals of other patients at higher prices paid for by the federal government. Read More ›