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Legal Insights and Perspectives for the Healthcare Industry

CMS recently issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) clarifying requirements and considerations for hospitals and other providers related to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The FAQs address questions concerning patient presentation to the emergency department, EMTALA applicability across facility types, qualified medical professionals, medical screening exams, patient transfer and stabilization, and telehealth issues.

The Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute LLC (FCS), a leading oncology provider in Southwest Florida, relating to allegations that FCS conspired to allocate medical and radiation oncology treatments for cancer patients with at least one other Florida oncology provider during a 17-year period.

We invite you to join our international trade and national security practice on Thursday, May 7, for a webinar on Foreign Influence and Conflicts of Interest in US Universities and Nonprofits Receiving Federal Funds. US universities, nonprofits, and faculty that receive federal funding and grants are required by a number of laws and regulations to disclose foreign gifts and contracts to the federal government. These laws and regulations are based on the understanding that when research institutions fail to meet disclosure requirements, they can compromise the integrity of taxpayer-funded research and allow federal funds to accelerate foreign research and development, sometimes to the detriment of national security interests.

As we all settle into our new sense of normalcy, Health Law Scan continues to monitor developments surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have lawyers across the firm providing updates on a wide variety of topics to keep our clients apprised of all the developments.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) issued an internal memorandum on April 10 to its regional directors describing a process that could be used to review medical licensees’ requests for temporary exemptions from certain NRC regulations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Enclosed with the memorandum is a template letter that regions can use to streamline granting temporary exemptions.

Also enclosed with the memorandum is a table identifying the regulations NMSS has evaluated and deemed appropriate for temporary exemptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The table includes information that medical licensees could rely on in support of the exemptions that NMSS has concluded would be appropriate for licensees to request. The regulations identified in the table and the activities covered by those regulations are summarized below.

Hospice officials identified both best practices and challenges that hospice employees face when disposing of controlled substances in a patient’s home.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on April 14 detailing the challenges associated with the disposal of controlled substances in home hospice settings. As part of the October 2018 Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act), the GAO was tasked with conducting a review of controlled substance disposal in the home hospice setting. The GAO conducted a very limited review based on discussions with seven hospices and 11 state hospice association officials.

Morgan Lewis is staying informed on all of the developments surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our healthcare team continues to follow developments, producing a number of publications and webinars to help keep our healthcare industry readers informed.

COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Updates: We have hosted a number of brief webinars addressing questions of interest to healthcare providers during this time:

Our telecommunications, media, and technology group prepared a LawFlash discussing two programs that the Federal Communications Commission established on March 31 to help eligible healthcare providers purchase and deploy telehealth technology. The programs provide immediate relief for telehealth and healthcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and aim to improve telehealth outcomes over the longer term.

Read the LawFlash

CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 TASK FORCE

For our clients, we have formed a multidisciplinary Coronavirus COVID-19 Task Force to help guide you through the broad scope of legal issues brought on by this public health challenge. We also have launched a resource page to help keep you on top of developments as they unfold. If you would like to receive a daily digest of all new updates to the page, please subscribe now to receive our COVID-19 alerts.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a far-reaching interim final rule (IFR) to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on March 30. The IFR represents a comprehensive set of policy changes designed to shift the provision of Medicare services from face-to-face care to remote care through telehealth, in order to mitigate the risks of exposure to COVID-19 for patients and healthcare providers. Above all else, the IFR prioritizes physically distancing patients from their care teams and other patients.

The IFR, with a display copy totaling 220 pages, is a massive rule issued at perhaps historic speed. Although it was published just three weeks after the passage of initial legislation (the CPRSAA), and only days after the passage of the CARES Act, the IFR touches on nearly every aspect of the Medicare program, including home health and hospice, intensive care services, radiation therapy management, physicians’ services, and inpatient rehabilitation.