Revised Code of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Takes Effect

On January 1, 2022, the updated Code on Interactions with Health Care Professionals, published by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), became effective. The updates reflect fraud and abuse concerns voiced by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General in its November 2020 Special Fraud Alert. While it is not a legal document, companies that adopt the code’s rules are more likely to comply with federal fraud and abuse laws like the Anti-Kickback Statute.

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

CMS Mandate Blocked Nationwide

By Erin M. Duffy and Samantha Dalmass

A federal judge in New Orleans blocked the Interim Final Rule with Comment requiring the vaccination of all staff of health care facilities subject to the health and safety standards under the Medicare Conditions of Participation (“CoPs”) issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) earlier this month. The nationwide block was issued on November 30, 2021, less than one week before the December 6, 2021 deadline for all staff of covered facilities to have received at least their first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series, and only one day after a federal court in Missouri blocked the CMS vaccination requirement in Missouri, Arkansas, Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Notwithstanding the broad authority of CMS to regulate the health and safety of facilities subject to Medicare CoPs, the order issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana blocking implementation of the CMS mandate set forth in 86 Fed. Reg. 61555-01 (November 5, 2021) will remain in effect pending final resolution of the case. The Biden Administration will likely appeal to the Supreme Court, but in the meantime facilities covered by the mandate should plan accordingly and ensure they are prepared to implement the required plans and processes for vaccinating staff, providing exemptions and accommodations for those who are exempt, and tracking and documenting staff vaccinations.

New Reporting Requirements for Philadelphia Health Care Facilities

By Erin M. Duffy and Samantha Dalmass

On June 9, 2021 Mayor Jim Kenney signed municipal legislation amending the Philadelphia Health Code to add a section establishing reporting and employment requirements related to changes in ownership or of the license holder of long-term care facilities and hospitals. Proposed in April by the Committee on Public Health and Human Services, Bill No. 210331 (the “Ordinance”) was passed by the Philadelphia City Council on May 27, 2021. The Ordinance imposes certain notification requirements for hospitals and long-term care facilities pursuant to a 5% or more change in ownership of the owner or operator of such institutions. The City of Philadelphia Ordinance requires hospitals and long-term care facilities to provide notices to the City of Philadelphia, as well as to facility employees prior to the effective date of a sale or other change in ownership interest. The ordinance also requires that certain documentary evidence of the transaction be posted the institution’s website. Following the initial posting of such notices, there are ongoing requirements for the owner or operator of a facility to update the information made available to its employees and the public on a weekly basis as well as additional notice requirements upon the effective date of the change. Continue reading “New Reporting Requirements for Philadelphia Health Care Facilities”

Emergency Temporary Standard Issued for the Healthcare Industry by OSHA

On June 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted for publication in the Federal Register its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), setting forth new mandatory safety requirements designed to protect workers from COVID-19. The much-anticipated ETS is generally applicable only to certain healthcare workplaces and imposes differing obligations with respect to vaccinated and unvaccinated employees in various contexts.

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

New National Standard for Barrier Face Coverings Approved by ASTM International

On February 15, 2021, ASTM International, a voluntary standards-setting organization, approved a new national standard for barrier face coverings that establishes minimum design, performance, labeling and care requirements for disposable and reusable face masks. Manufacturers should take full advantage of this new guidance as it implements a universal standard for the evaluation of barrier face coverings utilized by a majority of Americans every day.

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

Tale of Two Cases: Nursing Home COVID Immunity Battle Playing out in Court

A recent case decided Feb. 10 has the nursing home industry and plaintiff malpractice attorneys clamoring over whether certain measures taken by nursing homes during the pandemic should be immune from plaintiff negligence lawsuits against nursing homes.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner Neville M. Bilimoria, which was originally published in Chicago Lawyer, please visit the firm website.

H.B. 3360 and S.B. 72: Assessing Prejudgment Interest to Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Verdicts in Illinois

By Nicholas J. Lynn

On March 25, 2021, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker vetoed a bill that would assess prejudgment interest to personal injury and wrongful death verdicts. The bill originally was reported as House Bill 3360 (“H.B. 3360”) and more recently passed the Legislature as a compromised plan, S.B. 72, which reduced the prejudgment rate from 9% to 6 %, allowing plaintiffs with personal injury or wrongful death verdicts to recover the interest on all damages except punitive damages, sanctions, statutory attorneys’ fees, and statutory costs. On January 13, 2021, H.B. 3360 passed the Democrat-controlled chambers of the General Assembly. H.B. 3360 provided 9% prejudgment interest to personal injury and wrongful death verdicts to be calculated annually from the time the defendant was placed on notice of the injury to the date of judgement. Illinois remains one of just four States not to have some form of prejudgment interest available for trial-winning plaintiffs.

HHS Issues Proposed Changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule

On December 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule. HHS stated that the proposed modifications, which are being issued as part of HHS’s “Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care,” are aimed at removing barriers to coordinated care, strengthening individuals’ access to their own medical information, and reducing unnecessary administrative burdens. Proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule in the NPRM include: Continue reading “HHS Issues Proposed Changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule”

Considerations for Seniors Housing Communities and COVID-19 Vaccines

More than nine months after start of the coronavirus pandemic, the beginning of the end finally appears to be within sight. Novel vaccines have shown tremendous promise in clinical trials, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) to the first two COVID-19 vaccines—one developed by a collaboration between Pfizer and BioNTech SE and the other developed by Moderna. The first Americans received initial doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday, December 14, 2020—a remarkably quick turnaround from the initial identification of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the end of 2019 to the delivery of the first doses of a vaccine one year later.

While the efforts to bring vaccines to long-term care communities will not begin in earnest until December 21 or December 28, residents of long-term care communities in a handful of states have begun to receive COVID-19 vaccines. To that end, although companies in the seniors housing industry are likely well on their way to preparing for the upcoming vaccinations in their communities, this Special Issue Brief provides some background on the COVID-19 vaccine approvals and an overview of some of the key issues operators should make sure to consider.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris attorney Alison T. Rosenblum, please visit the American Seniors Housing Association website.

Office of Inspector General Issues Special Fraud Alert on Speaker Programs

On November 16, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a Special Fraud Alert addressing speaker programs presented by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Such programs, at which companies may pay physicians or other health care professionals (HCPs) for speeches or presentations about drugs and devices in addition to providing remuneration to attendees, are frequently sponsored by pharmaceutical and device companies seeking to provide education regarding their products. Highlighting what it called “inherent fraud and abuse risks,” OIG’s Special Fraud Alert expressed concerns surrounding the offer or payment of remuneration from pharmaceutical and device companies to physicians or other HCPs associated with such programs.

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

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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