CMS Announces New Rules and Waivers of Federal Requirements for Hospitals and Clinicians Responding to COVID-19

Hospitals without walls, the USNS Comfort and FaceTime calls between patients and doctors are just some of the new and much-needed initiatives to fight the COVID-19 pandemic that are now possible because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is relaxing laws and regulations.

On March 30, 2020, CMS, in coordination with the Trump administration, announced the implementation of a sweeping array of new rules and waivers of federal requirements for hospitals and health systems to effectively manage potential surges of COVID-19 patients.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Crisis Standards of Care Guidelines to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since March 13, 2020, when President Trump declared a national state of emergency due to the COVID-19 crisis, we have been in a healthcare crisis. The United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been plagued by increasing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), supplies, beds and physicians necessary to care for COVID-19 patients. In addition, drastic patient surges, limited numbers of life-saving ventilators and healthcare providers who have been working tirelessly for weeks in a constant state of emergency all contribute to an extremely strained health system. Not only do more and more patients need care each day, healthcare providers must work quickly to diagnose, triage and treat patients, as well as make difficult decisions on how ventilators are assigned and reassigned. And we have yet to hit the anticipated spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Accordingly, states have either implemented or developed Crisis Standards of Care (CSC). A CSC is triggered when healthcare systems are so overwhelmed by a pervasive or catastrophic public health event, such as COVID-19, that it is impossible for them to provide the normal, or standard, level of care to patients. Instead of meeting the standard of care to avoid liability, providers must now meet the crisis standards of care as set-forth on a statewide basis or adapted by individual facilities.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Department of Treasury Issues Guidance on Air Carrier Industry Assistance from CARES Act

On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued guidance to air carriers for $32 billion in emergency relief grant aid for payroll outlined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law by the president on March 27, 2020. An additional $46 billion is authorized for loans from the Treasury under Section 4003(b) of the CARES Act. These grants and loans are dedicated to the airline industry.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Federal and State Enforcers Will Scrutinize Pricing Behavior During COVID-19 Pandemic

In addition to drastic changes to everyday life, the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting antitrust enforcement. Companies must be prepared to address these impacts, including steering mergers and acquisitions through regulatory approvals, seizing opportunities to collaborate to solve public health issues raised by COVID-19, and avoiding use of pricing algorithms or other pricing mechanisms that could lead to allegations of price gouging. Indeed, U.S. lawmakers recently urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to act quickly to protect the public from price gouging, particularly for essential COVID-19 health products such as facemasks, disinfectants and hand sanitizers. Thirty-three state attorneys general also recently issued a letter urging the nation’s major retailers to rigorously monitor price gouging practices on their platforms during this time.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Nevada Courts Issue Emergency Orders to Combat the Spread of COVID-19

By Tyson Hafen

From March 13, 2020 through March 30, 2020, Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court (Clark County) and the U.S. District Court of Nevada have issued 16 emergency administrative orders in response to, and in order to combat the spread of, COVID-19.  The stated purpose of the orders is to continue legal proceedings to the degree possible while balancing the health and safety of attorneys, litigants, court staff, and the public.

These emergency orders follow Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s March 12, 2020 declaration of a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading Nevada Courts Issue Emergency Orders to Combat the Spread of COVID-19

COVID-19: Updates to New Jersey Executive Order

Governor Murphy announced on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, a pending Executive Order that will impact business operations across the State of New Jersey, including construction, retail, manufacturing and warehouses.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Brad Molotsky, please visit the Duane Morris Project Development/Infrastructure/P3 Blog

‘Nothing Works’: Hospitals Race To Train More Docs To Operate Ventilators

With COVID-19, it’s one step forward, two steps back.

That’s what doctors battling the devastating viral lung infection on its frontlines are saying, as hospitals face shortages not only in ventilators to keep patients alive, but in doctors to operate them. […]

A fixture in intensive care units, a ventilator requires near-perpetual management. Pulmonologists work with respiratory therapists and nurses to diagnose, intubate, drug, and manage patients hooked up to the devices. […]

Delphine O’Rourke, partner at the Duane Morris law firm in Philadelphia who advises health care providers on emergency preparedness, told TPM that hospitals were increasingly relying on doctors from other specialties to operate the complex machines.

“There’s a limited number of pulmonologists, so you get increased demand — especially when pulmonologists are working around the clock on this,” she said.

To read further remarks by Ms. O’Rourke, please visit the firm website, or read the full text of the article at the TPM website.

SBA and Treasury Release FAQs on Paycheck Protection Program Loans

On April 6, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the U.S. Department of Treasury, provided brief answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

To read the full text of this Alert, which highlights the further clarifications provided by the FAQs for borrowers working their way through the PPP, please visit the firm website.

What Employers Need To Know About Furloughs

During the coronavirus pandemic, employers are considering options that will enable them to match the size and structure of their workforce to their current business needs, while also retaining the flexibility to rapidly return the workforce to precrisis levels. One such option is placing employees on unpaid leave; namely, a furlough.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner Jonathan Wetchler (originally published in Law360), please visit the firm website.

Emergency Order Regarding Corporate Annual Meetings Issued by Delaware Governor

On the evening of April 6, 2020, the Governor of the State of Delaware issued his Tenth Modification to the Covid-19 State of Emergency, which contained provisions fostering a Delaware corporation’s ability to react where it had already called and noticed an annual meeting of stockholders to be held in-person.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Richard Renck, please visit the Duane Morris Delaware Business Law Blog.