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.

CMS posted an expanded set, dated April 29, of Medicare regulatory flexibility measures for hospice organizations related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, supplementing the previous COVID hospice flexibilities guidance from March 29.

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.

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.

The Morgan Lewis healthcare team continues to monitor the developments surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are acutely aware of what the healthcare service provider community is currently facing and are here to help. We are hosting two webinars a week to address the evolving unprecedented legal issues that arise from pandemic. The webinars will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Below we provide the webinars we have previously hosted, and we will keep our COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Update Webinars page updated with the latest webinars.

UPCOMING SESSIONS

PREP Act and Other Considerations for Hospitals Experimenting with COVID Treatments – 4.7.20

COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Update Webinars – 4.9.20

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Open Payments COVID-19 Announcement on March 25 saying that it planned in some cases to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to late or incomplete data reporting. CMS stated that, although it is sensitive to the challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it does not have the authority to waive the statutory requirement that Program Year 2019 Open Payments data be submitted by the March 31, 2020, deadline or to postpone the publication deadline of June 30, 2020. CMS will, however, “exercise enforcement discretion with respect to submissions completed after the statutory deadline due to circumstances beyond the reporting entity’s control associated with the pandemic,” and will consider the impact that these circumstances have on reporting entities’ ability to report in a timely, accurate, and complete manner in deciding whether to impose civil monetary penalties.