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Legal Insights and Perspectives for the Healthcare Industry

The recently passed FY 2020 Appropriations Act increases funding for US healthcare agencies and programs over FY 2019 levels. The new law limits reauthorization of expiring healthcare extenders to five months, delays a scheduled reduction in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, enhances federal funding for healthcare research, and permanently repeals certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes.

US government–funded academic medical centers and other research institutions are caught between traditional values of academic freedom, collaboration, and nondiscrimination and their obligations to comply with US law and enforcement authorities. So far, academic medical centers and other research institutions have avoided prosecution by cooperating with the US government, but they are well advised to review their vetting and disclosure policies with respect to visiting non-US or dual national scholars and students while not targeting specific ethnic groups. From a practical standpoint, US academic medical centers and other research institutions conducting federally funded research need to be careful to address both export and deemed export control issues, as well as potential conflicts of interest in applying for and using the results of US government–funded research. Academic medical centers and other research institutions should follow closely the increased enforcement activities of the US government and recent congressional recommendations for further changes to safeguard US government–funded research, which are detailed below.