Legal Insights and Perspectives for the Healthcare Industry

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

We invite you to join us on Thursday, February 27 for our next installment of the Fast Break series. In a recent post, we highlighted staffing-related trends that arise in collective bargaining in the healthcare industry. For this month’s edition of Fast Break, we will be joined by partner Douglas Hart to discuss the recent National Labor Relations Board labor law changes and what healthcare providers should expect for 2020.

Register for the webinar now.

While US healthcare institutions are poised to respond to any outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), how should they prepare as employers for the questions and compliance challenges that arise in a public health crisis? In this LawFlash, our Labor, Employment, and Benefits team cautions that “employers must carefully balance concerns relating to employee and public safety with protecting employees from unnecessary medical inquiries, harassment, and discrimination—all while complying with immigration, leave, and medical privacy laws.”  Recommending that “[r]esponsibility should be assigned to specific individuals or teams to assess the hazard, communicate with employees and the public, and implement appropriate security measures,” they detail important information that employers should know before responding to an outbreak situation.

Read the LawFlash>

Check out our Responding to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus page for all of the latest developments.

The Morgan Lewis Labor & Employment NOW video series provides analysis of the latest legal developments and compliance insight for employers. In this edition, Doug Hart discusses staffing-related trends that arise in collective bargaining in the healthcare industry. Doug offers guidance to hospitals and healthcare facilities to better understand unions’ bargaining positions and determine appropriate employer responses, focusing on in-house registries, float pools, ratios, contract language, and wage and hour concerns.

Watch the discussion at Labor & Employment NOW >>

Healthcare providers dedicate approximately $39 billion per year to administrative activities related to regulatory compliance, according to research conducted by the American Hospital Association, which found the pace of regulatory changes “has begun to exceed many providers’ ability to absorb them.” To that end, understanding the federal rulemaking process and knowing when and how to get involved is critical for the healthcare industry.

In a recent webinar, Susan Harthill, Jonathan Snare, and Timothy Lynch addressed the ins and outs of the federal rulemaking process, including:

  • The differences between rules, policy statements, and other types of guidance
  • Why submitting comments is more critical now than ever

Coming on the heels of the FCC’s recently proposed $100 million Connected Care Program to fund telehealth-based connections between healthcare providers and patients, and continuing its recognition of the critical role telehealth plays in the healthcare industry, the FCC recently voted to adopt an extensive order overhauling the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program. The RHC Program has been supportive of telehealth services for some time, providing subsidies to rural healthcare providers to lower the expense of their broadband services, including monthly telecom and broadband recurring costs, and funding for special construction and network equipment where the healthcare provider otherwise lacks access to telecom or broadband facilities. (Read our prior blog on the FCC’s proposal.

The RHC Program has significant funding—over $571 million—and this reform is designed to streamline certain procedures, provide priority to rural healthcare in areas that are medically underserved, simplify the calculation of amounts that healthcare providers pay and service providers receive, reform the competitive bidding process, and improve the application process. The FCC intends for these comprehensive program changes to support vital telemedicine and telehealth services in rural communities while promoting efficiency and transparency and avoiding waste, fraud, and abuse.

The FCC recently issued draft rules for a pilot funding program to enhance broadband service for connected care telehealth purposes, reflecting the agency’s recognition of the increasingly critical role that telehealth plays in the healthcare industry. The proposal for a $100 million fund to use advanced telehealth technologies to reach low-income Americans and veterans will be of great interest to many healthcare companies.

Members of the Morgan Lewis healthcare team joined more than 1,200 professionals in attendance at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Health Lawyers Association recently held in Boston. This year’s conference was notable for a group of educational sessions on how the acceleration of digital technology is redefining the healthcare industry. Presenters stressed the importance for healthcare systems to have a digital strategy in place for maintaining relevance in this fast-changing environment, which one speaker likened “to building a plane while you fly it.”