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Showing 62 posts in Hospitals.

DOJ Starts Cracking Down on Individual Health Care Executives for False Claims Act and Stark Law Violations Committed by Their Companies

Healthcare executives and physicians take note: The Department of Justice is now cracking down on individuals, and not just companies, for False Claims Act, Stark law, and anti-kickback statute violations. Read More ›

Categories: Hospitals, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events, Physicians

OCR Begins Phase 2 Audit Program of Covered Entities and Business Associates

AuditThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced that it has begun Phase 2 of its HIPAA audit program. This audit phase will impact covered entities and their business associates. Read More ›

Categories: Compliance, HIPAA, Hospitals, Providers

CARE Act Legislation Signed Into Law By Governor Snyder and Set to Take Effect July 12th

care act legislationThe Michigan CARE Act, recently signed into law by Governor Snyder, is set to take effect on July 12, 2016. Michigan becomes the 29th state to enact the CARE Act, which is intended to support and equip family caregivers with information and training when loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. A copy of Public Act No. 85 is available here. Read More ›

Categories: Compliance, Hospitals, News & Events

Is Losing Money by Employing Physicians a Stark Violation?

losing money by employing physiciansModern Health Care has reported that hospitals often lose approximately $176,000 a year per each employed physician.

While this initially seems like a surprising statistic, it is understandable that hospitals lose money when they employ physicians. Physicians in private practice often pay their staff less than comparable hospital employees. When a hospital buys a physician’s practice, the benefit costs typically increase if the staff receives the hospital’s fringe benefit package. Moreover, hospital overhead is typically higher than a private physician practice with regard to HR costs and other support services.

Many systems claim that the only way to manage the health of a given population (which is what ACO and other similar payment structures are requiring) is to be fully integrated with employed physicians, so covering the losses incurred by employing physicians is the necessary cost of preparing for the new paradigm. The ugly, and legally problematic, truth is that most health systems look beyond the income generated by physicians for treating patients but also at income from physician ancillary referrals to justify the economic losses caused by acquiring physician practices. This raises concerns under the Stark law. Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Compliance, Hospitals, Medicare/Medicaid, Physicians

Government Intervenes in Affordable Care Act 60 day Rule Violation Allegation

Government Intervenes in Affordable Care Act 60 day Rule Violation AllegationIn a first-of-its-kind and closely followed case, a U.S. district court denied a New York health system's (Healthfirst’s) motion to dismiss the U.S. government's and State of New York's complaints in intervention under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) and New York state counterpart. This case represents the first time that the government has intervened in an FCA case based upon an allegation that a party violated the "60 day rule." The 60 day rule came into existence with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 and subjects parties to FCA liability for failing to report and refund an overpayment within 60 days of identification, even if the defendant received the payment through no fault of its own.

The case, Kane ex rel. United States et al. v. Healthfirst et al., involves three hospitals that were part of the Healthfirst health system network and provided care to patients that were part of Healthfirst's Medicaid managed care plan. Healthfirst received payments from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) in return for services provided to Medicaid eligible enrollees.

The government's allegations stem from overpayments to Healthfirst as a result of a software glitch. Healthfirst was first questioned about the possible overpayments by the New York State Comptroller's office in 2010. The health system tasked Kane, an employee and the eventual whistleblower in the case, to look into the payments. Five months later Kane emailed Healthfirst management a spreadsheet listing over 900 claims totaling more than $1 million that contained an erroneous billing code that may have led to the overpayments. Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Fraud & Abuse, Health Care Reform, Hospitals, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events, Providers

DOJ and State of Michigan Bring Antitrust Lawsuit Against Four Michigan Hospitals Three Settle Charges Immediately and One Vows to Fight

DOJ and State of Michigan Bring Antitrust Lawsuit Against Four Michigan Hospitals Three Settle Charges Immediately and One Vows to FightThe U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), together with the Michigan Attorney General (“AG”), recently filed a lawsuit alleging that four hospital systems located in Southern Michigan violated antitrust laws by agreeing not to compete with one another.

The civil lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and alleged that the four hospitals agreed not to market or advertise themselves in each others’ territories, which constitutes “unreasonable restraints of trade that are per se illegal” under the Sherman Act and the Michigan Antitrust Reform Act. Read More ›

Categories: Hospitals, News & Events

Virginia Man Wins $500,000 After Recording Surgical Team’s Insulting Comments

healthcare lawsuitTalk about adding insult to injury. A Virginia man woke up after his colonoscopy to learn that the surgical team had mocked, belittled and insulted him throughout the procedure.

Fearful that he would not remember the doctor’s post-op instructions, the man pressed record on his smartphone before receiving anesthesia. Upon listening to the recording after the procedure, he realized that the members of the surgical team began their rant as soon as he drifted off to sleep. Read More ›

Categories: Hospitals, News & Events, Physicians

Health Care Trends

health care trendsRural hospitals across the United States struggling to stay open

According to the National Rural Health Association, approximately 50 hospitals in the rural United States have closed since 2010. The number of annual closures is growing. Congressional healthcare budget cuts and policy changes significantly affect rural hospitals because rural hospitals often have a disproportionate number of patients who are covered under Medicare, Medicaid or who are uninsured. A number of factors affect and pose challenges to rural hospitals. One challenge is the difficulty of attracting talent, which often means paying more to healthcare professionals in order to recruit them for employment at a rural hospital.  Other challenges facing rural hospitals include:

  • changing demographics;
  • advances in medical practice that the hospital may be unable to implement;
  • new federal regulations and standards that create additional compliance related pressure; and
  • lower reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid.

Closures of rural hospitals may force individuals to travel long distances for medical care, which may lead to an increase in mortality rates. The closures may discourage business ventures in rural areas due to the increased costs associated with not having a healthcare facility nearby. Metropolitan hospital closings have increased recently, but the existence of medical care alternatives in metropolitan areas typically reduces the effects that closures have on patients.  Read More ›

Categories: Health Care Reform, Hospitals, Insurance, News & Events, Physicians, Tax

The Updated April 2015 National Practitioner Data Bank Guidebook has been Released

The DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”) has finally published the new National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”) Guidebook.  The original Guidebook had not been updated since September 2001. 

The updated April 2015 NPDB Guidebook is available here.

The new Guidebook extensively covers the changes resulting from the 2013 merger of the NPDB and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (“HIPDB”).  The HIPDB was a separate data bank that received and disclosed reports of final adverse actions by federal and state agencies and health plans against practitioners, entities, providers, and suppliers.  After the merger, there were significant changes in the entities eligible to query and report, as well as the individuals and entities subject to reports.  Read More ›

Categories: Criminal, Hospitals, Licensing, News & Events, Physicians, Providers

Peer Review Protections Apply to Objective Facts in Incident Reports

incident reportsThe Michigan Supreme Court has issued an important decision on the scope of peer review protection. In Krusac v Covenant Med Ctr, Inc, the court held that “objective facts gathered contemporaneously with an event” are protected when “contained in an otherwise privileged incident report.” Krusac overruled a Court of Appeals opinion, Harrison v Munson Healthcare, which ruled that peer review protection only applied to the evaluative content in an incident report. Krusac reinforces the broad protections for “records, data and knowledge” that is collected by or for peer review committees.

While Krusac clarifies the scope of the statutory protection, it also highlights the need for hospitals and health facilities to carefully structure and properly document their peer review processes. It will be especially important in litigation to establish that a committee or individual has been assigned a peer review function and that information is being collected for the purpose of reducing morbidity and mortality and improving patient care.

Richard Kraus of Foster Swift filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the University of Michigan Health System in Krusac.

Categories: Hospitals, News & Events