New York recently enacted new legislation that will amend Article 45-A of the New York Public Health Law, entitled “Disclosure of Material Transactions”. Although the legislation, as enacted, contains no description of legislative intent, the budget bill language originally proposed referenced concerns with the “proliferation of large physician practices being managed by entities that are investor-backed” (e.g., private equity platforms) and which are otherwise unregulated by the state outside of the licensure of the individual practitioners.
Effective August 1, 2023, the new legislation requires thirty (30) days advance notice to the New York State Department of Health (“Department”) of any “material transactions” involving “health care entities” that provide administrative or management services for physician practices, provider-sponsored organizations, health insurance plans, “or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan providing health care services. . . .”
Please join Epstein Becker Green attorneys for a fall webinar series—via five 45-minute sessions—that will address how proactive compliance initiatives are critical to a platform’s operations, expansion efforts, and eventual monetization upon exit.
Immediate Post-Closing Operational Fixes When: October 2, 2018 at 12:00pm – 12:45pm People: John Eriksen, Josh Freemire, Gary Herschman, and Marc Mandelman Location: Webinar (ET)
Add-On Diligence Strategy When: October 9, 2018 at 12:00pm – 12:45pm People: Josh Freemire, Anjana ...
Financial sponsors commit substantial capital in establishing or acquiring physician/professional management platforms in sectors such as dermatology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, urology, pain management, radiology, ophthalmology/optometry, dentistry, etc. Thereafter, sponsors seek to consolidate and make the platform more operationally efficient and pursue platform growth through add-on and tuck-in deals, as well as organic expansion.
This webinar series will address how proactive compliance initiatives are critical to a platform’s operations ...
There has been a growing trend of strategic joint ventures throughout the healthcare industry with the goal of enhancing expertise, accessing financial resources, gaining efficiencies, and improving performance in the changing environment. This includes, for example, hospital-hospital joint ventures, hospital-payor joint ventures, and hospital joint ventures with various ancillary providers (e.g., ambulatory surgery, imaging, home health, physical therapy, behavioral health, etc.). Extra precautions need to be taken in joint ventures between tax-exempt entities ...
Many health care providers rely on a worked relative value unit ("wRVU") based compensation model when structuring financial relationships with physicians. While wRVUs are considered an objective and fair method to compensate physicians, payments made on a wRVU basis do not always offer a blanket protection from liability under the Federal Stark Law. As recent settlements demonstrate, wRVU based compensation arrangements that are poorly structured or improperly implemented can result in significant liability.
The wRVU physician compensation model is particularly favored ...
On April 18, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to grant summary judgment in favor of defendant BayCare Health System ("BayCare") in a False Claims Act whistleblower suit that focused on physician lease agreements in a hospital-owned medical office building, thereby dismissing the whistleblower's suit.
The whistleblower, a local real-estate appraiser, alleged that BayCare improperly induced Medicare referrals in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law because the lease agreements with its physician tenants included free use of the hospital parking garage and free valet parking for the physician tenants and their patients, as well as certain benefits related to the tax-exempt classification of the building. The brief ruling affirms the magistrate judge's determination that the whistleblower failed to present sufficient evidence to establish either the existence of an improper financial relationship under the Stark Law or the requisite remuneration intended to induce referrals under the Anti-Kickback Statute.
The alleged violation under both the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law centered on the whistleblower's argument that the lease agreements conferred a financial benefit on physician tenants – primarily, because they were not required to reimburse BayCare for garage or valet parking that was available to the tenants, their staff and their patients. However, the whistleblower presented no evidence to show that the parking was provided for free or based on the physician tenants' referrals. To the contrary, BayCare presented evidence stating that the garage parking benefits (and their related costs) were factored into the leases and corresponding rental payments for each tenant. Further, BayCare presented evidence to support that the valet services were not provided to, or used by, the physician tenants or their staff, but were offered only to patients and visitors to "protect their health and safety."
In light of the evidence presented by BayCare, and the failure of the whistleblower to present any evidence that contradicted or otherwise undermined BayCare's position, the magistrate judge found that: (i) no direct or indirect compensation arrangement existed between BayCare and the physician tenants that would implicate the Stark Law, and (ii) BayCare did not intend for the parking benefits to induce the physician tenants' referrals in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.
A recent settlement demonstrates the importance of compliant structuring of lending arrangements in the health care industry. The failure to consider health care fraud and abuse risks in connection with lending arrangements can lead to extremely costly consequences.
On April 27, 2017, the Department of Justice ("DOJ") announced that it reached an $18 Million settlement with a hospital operated by Indiana University Health and a federally qualified health center ("FQHC") operated by HealthNet. United States et al. ex rel. Robinson v. Indiana University Health, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:13-cv-2009-TWP-MJD (S.D. Ind.). As alleged by Judith Robinson, the qui tam relator ("Relator"), from May 1, 2013 through Aug. 30, 2016, Indiana University Health provided HealthNet with an interest free line of credit, which consistently exceeded $10 million. It was further alleged that HealthNet was not expected to repay a substantial portion of the loan and that the transaction was intended to induce HealthNet to refer its OB/GYN patients to Indiana University.
While neither Indiana University Health nor HealthNet have made any admissions of wrongdoing, each will pay approximately $5.1 million to the United States and $3.9 million to the State of Indiana. According to the DOJ and the Relator, the alleged conduct violated the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal False Claims Act.
For more details on the underlying arrangement and practical takeaways . . .
On March 15, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an opinion that sheds insight on how courts view the "writing" requirement of various exceptions under the federal physician self-referral law (or "Stark Law"). The ruling involved the FCA qui tam case, United States ex rel. Emanuele v. Medicor Assocs., No. 1:10-cv-245, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36593 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 15, 2017), involving a cardiology practice (Medicor Associates, Inc.) and the Hamot Medical Center. The Court's detailed discussion of the Stark Law in its summary judgment ...
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