In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast: What trends in state laws and regulations have emerged in the post-public health emergency (PHE) era, and how do these changes impact telehealth stakeholders?
At the federal level, many telehealth-related flexibilities have been extended through December 31, 2024, whereas, at the state level, there are wide variations in approach. Many states have continued to push the boundaries of existing telehealth policies, yet no two states are exactly alike in their approach to defining and regulating telehealth.
On this episode ...
Interest in and acceptance of telehealth services continues to grow. In 2023, a key focus by the states has been addressing questions about how to modify existing regulatory infrastructures sustaining the provision of telehealth services to support the continued use of these services in a post-public health emergency world.
However, modifications to telehealth services also increases the potential for fraudulent behavior and enforcement activity. Providers should continue to monitor developments in federal and state laws, regulations, and policies to capitalize on ...
When the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) ended on May 11, 2023, many physician groups furnishing certain medical equipment, devices, and/or supplies to their Medicare patients became in violation of the federal Physician Self-Referral Law (the “Stark Law”), which has draconian penalties, such as clawback of Medicare payments plus additional stiff monetary penalties and possible exclusion from participation in federal health care programs.
During the COVID-19 PHE, CMS issued temporary waivers, including a waiver of the “location requirement” of the In-Office Ancillary Services (“IOAS”) exception. That waiver allowed physician groups that furnish certain durable medical equipment, orthotics, prosthetic devices – including intermittent urinary catheters (“IUCs”) – and other medical supplies (collectively referred to here as “DME”) to provide home delivery of such DME to their Medicare patients without facing sanctions for violating the Stark Law. With the end of the PHE having occurred over three months ago, that temporary waiver of sanctions ended and can no longer be relied upon for legal compliance with the Stark Law.
The federal government’s announcement that the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”) declaration would end on May 11, 2023 marked the end of various federal mandates and benefits. The Centers for Disease Control’s authorizations to collect certain types of public health data expired, as did the requirement that insurance providers waive costs or provide free COVID-19 tests. However, the Biden Administration announced that COVID-19 hospital admissions, deaths, emergency department visits, test positivity and results of wastewater surveillance will continue to be reported, although the sources of some of this information will change.
On March 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) updated its Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”), drafting 13 FAQs aimed at easing the transition from COVID-era flexibilities to the end of the Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) on May 11, 2023. These FAQs arrive on the tail of OIG’s March 10, 2023 COVID-19 Public Health Emergency policy statement, which announced that the expiration of the PHE in May also marks the end of flexibilities extended during the crisis. The updated FAQs offer a glimpse into how OIG investigations and enforcement might play out after the end of the PHE. These FAQs address subjects including “General Questions Regarding Certain Fraud and Abuse Authorities,” the “Application of Certain Fraud and Abuse Authorities to Certain Types of Arrangements,” and “Compliance Considerations.”
The vast majority of the principles articulated in the updated FAQs will undoubtedly be familiar to many. Generally speaking, the updated FAQs restate or clarify longstanding OIG policy. The updated FAQs are more than reiteration, however; they offer condensed policy and explanation in a single location, and demonstrate that for the most part, investigations and enforcement may return to the pre-PHE status quo.
On April 11, 2023, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced its plan for termination of the existing notifications of enforcement discretion related to the expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023.
In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast: In conjunction with the national COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other federal agencies have issued waivers and other declarations with the goal of giving providers flexibility in order to render services during the PHE.
How should stakeholders prepare for the end of the PHE on May 11, 2023?
Our colleague Denise Dadika and Alexandria Adkins of Epstein Becker Green have a new post on the Workforce Bulletin blog that will be of interest to our readers: "New Jersey Mandates COVID-19 Vaccination or Weekly Testing for Workers in Health Care and Congregate Settings."
The following is an excerpt:
On August 6, 2021, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy signed Executive Order 252 (“Order 252”) requiring health care and high-risk congregate settings to maintain a policy requiring workers to either provide adequate proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID-19 ...
The top story on Employment Law This Week is the unfolding Zika virus crisis.
For the fourth time in history, the World Health Organization has declared a global public health emergency, following the spread of the Zika virus throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The disease can have harmful effects on fetuses, and the CDC has warned against travel for pregnant women and their partners. The Zika crisis has important implications for employers. Workers who travel for their jobs may request accommodations, and employers should make them aware of the risks if they aren't ...
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