On November 7, 2023, the citizens of the state of Ohio voted to codify reproductive rights, including the right to abortion, in the state constitution.
In 2019, Ohio banned nearly all abortions once fetal cardiac activity was detected (typically around six weeks’ gestation) through its “Heartbeat Law.” Challenges to Ohio’s Heartbeat Law under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey prevented it from taking effect until the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization repealed those cases. After Dobbs, Ohio’s “Heartbeat ...
On Friday, October 6, 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) filed a Second Temporary Extension of the COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications (“Second Temporary Rule”), extending the full set of telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”) through December 31, 2024. The Second Temporary Rule is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register today (October 10, 2023) and scheduled to take effect on November ...
In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast: The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization one year ago overturned 50 years of legal precedent protecting the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, leaving the question of whether and how to regulate abortion to individual states.
What has happened since and what is to come?
Epstein Becker Green attorneys Amy Dow, Erin Sutton, and Jessika Tuazon examine how the Dobbs decision has impacted the legal landscape for patient access to abortion, discuss the challenges facing the health care industry, and explore how industries can manage their compliance efforts moving forward as the legal landscape continues to evolve.
In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast: On April 21, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to preserve access to the prescription abortion drug mifepristone.
However, while the case continues in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the future of mifepristone—and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority to approve new drugs—will continue to be debated on appeal.
As health care entities around the country face staffing shortages, hospitals have started to turn to apps to fill nursing shifts. New apps allow hospitals to engage nurses as independent contractors to fill open shifts, allowing nurses to bid on shifts and select hours that match their schedule. Apps allow nurses to work as independent contractors and engage directly with the hospital as opposed to employees of the hospital or a nursing staffing agency that then engages on their behalf to staff the hospital. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on these apps, crediting their rise to nurses retiring or leaving the field after burn out from the COVID-19 pandemic, from which hospitals are still struggling to recover. But, these apps have existed for several years, and employment issues such as correct calculation of wages and tracking work time are something Epstein Becker Green has previously spotted.
During the past several turbulent weeks for the U.S. health care system, rulings in the case Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA have called into question the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA’s”) scientific review process to approve new drug applications. While the U.S. Supreme Court acted on the afternoon of Friday, April 21, 2023 to preserve access to the drug mifepristone while the case continues in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the future of mifepristone—and the FDA’s authority to approve new drugs—will continue to be debated on appeal.
On February 24, 2023, the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) announced proposed permanent rules around prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine that expand the circumstances under which practitioners can prescribe controlled substances without first conducting an in-person medical evaluation of the patient outside of the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”). The proposed rules are more restrictive than the DEA emergency waivers under which providers conducted telemedicine prescribing for the last three years, but are less restrictive in comparison to the pre-PHE regulations applicable to telemedicine prescribing of controlled substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).
Both the proposed rules related to telemedicine prescribing of Schedule III-V non-narcotic controlled substances, and the separate proposed rules related to telemedicine prescribing of buprenorphine, were published in the Federal Register on March 1, 2023. The public has been given until March 31, 2023 to review and provide comments regarding the proposed rules, which the DEA will consider before promulgating final regulations.
In the era of abortion regulation and the wind-down of the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”), new legislation in states such as Utah may be a sign of what is to come for online and telehealth prescribing. On February 14, 2023, the Utah Senate passed a bill that would repeal the State’s “Online Prescribing, Dispensing, and Facilitation Licensing Act” (“Online Prescribing Act”). Utah H.B. 152. The bill currently awaits Governor Spencer Cox’s signature and would take effect sixty (60) days after its signing. Originally enacted in 2010, the Online Prescribing Act has allowed health care providers to register with the State to prescribe and dispense certain FDA-approved drugs via online pharmacies and utilization of telehealth visits. Utah Code § 58-83-306. While providers have been required under the Online Prescribing Act to obtain a comprehensive patient history and assessment prior to issuing a prescription, at present, this may be done via telehealth. Utah Code § 58-83-305. Once signed into law, the effect of H.B. 152 would be to make asynchronous telehealth-only prescribing unlawful in the state, with Utah’s law on the scope of telehealth practice amended to prohibit “diagnos[ing] a patient, provid[ing] treatment, or prescribe[ing] a prescription drug based solely on . . . an online questionnaire; an email message; or a patient-generated medical history. Utah H.B. 152, amending Utah Code § 26-60-103.
In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast: Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, some states have banned abortion in all or most circumstances and many more have enacted new restrictions or enforced old ones.
On April 14, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidance on the Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process, created under the No Surprises Act (NSA) to provide a mechanism for payers and providers to resolve disputes as to appropriate payment amounts for certain out-of-network claims. In addition, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury launched two online portals– one to host the IDR process for providers and payers and one to host the patient-provider dispute resolution process for self-pay and uninsured patients.
This new guidance replaces earlier instruction from the agency on how the IDR process would operate and what the independent arbitrator was required to consider. The prior guidance was withdrawn after a successful legal challenge to the interim final rule implementing the No Surprises Act provisions on the IDR process, specifically with respect to the weight to be given to the Qualifying Payment Amount (QPA). The QPA is essentially the payer’s median contracted rate for similar services. The QPA is used to calculate patient cost sharing and must be considered by the independent arbitrator in resolving a payment dispute between a payer and an out-of-network provider. Initially, regulators directed arbitrators to use the QPA as a baseline, and when choosing between the parties’ proposed payment offers to choose the amount closest to the QPA unless one of the parties submitted credible information demonstrating that the appropriate payment amount was materially different from QPA.
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