Health Law Gurus

Health Law: News, Commentary & Insights

Cybersecurity and data breaches have been in public spotlight in the past several years as a result of recurring cyber-attacks on numerous organizations, business, its customers and communities in general. Media have been actively discussing cybersecurity trends and looking at the rise of identity technologies and web intelligence. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, more than 170 million American health records have been exposed since 2009. Such…
Several months ago Senate Finance Committee members Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Chair Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, stirred the hornets’ nest again for nonprofit hospitals by asking the IRS for answers regarding its oversight of nonprofit hospitals.  This request for information is expected to lead to additional IRS scrutiny of nonprofit hospitals’ nationwide;  additional scrutiny that comes at a time when nonprofit hospitals are already scrambling to comply with the tax law changes under the 2017…
Early this year, two memoranda issued by the United States Department of Justice (the Department) were made public. The first, outlining the Department’s new stance on dismissing a False Claims Act (FCA) case over a relator’s/whistleblower’s objection was leaked in January, despite being labeled “Privileged and Confidential; For Internal Government Use Only” (the Granston Memo). The second memorandum, related to the use of government guidance as a basis for enforcement actions was released by the…
Last week the Supreme Court of the United States rejected a petition for a writ of certiorari in Medical Device Business Services, Inc. et al. v. United States ex rel. Nagrol et al. In this case, the petitioner asked the Court to resolve a circuit split on the question of what Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) means in False Claims Act (“FCA”) context. By punting on this issue once again, the Court leaves in place…
Telemedicine is a rapidly growing industry that uses telecommunications to gather, store, and communicate clinical information. It is a subcategory of telehealth, which is the broader term encompassing all uses of telecommunications in the healthcare context. Telemedicine can be asynchronistic, where information is stored and then forwarded, or it can be used in real-time.…
Security Alert: New Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities Impact Computer Processors Last spring the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack crippled the global economy, impacting over 100,000 organizations throughout 150 countries and generating an estimated $4 billion in losses.  The National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a community of actors within the healthcare and public health sectors, recently announced that a new threat has emerged that could result in significant exposure to healthcare entities.…
Generally, medical marijuana dispensaries are not allowed to deduct expenses for federal income tax purposes because buying and selling marijuana, even for medical reasons, is considered “trafficking in illegal drugs.”  Such dispensaries, however, are allowed to offset income by cost of goods sold (“COGS”) if they maintain sufficiently reliable records to allow the IRS to verify their income and expenditures.  Although public opinion has shifted more in favor of medical marijuana in recent years, industry…
In 2015, Congress repealed the complex and heavily criticized Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (“TEFRA”) partnership-level audit rules which apply to partnerships and most LLCs.  The new audit rules, which Congress adopted in place of the TEFRA rules, go into effect in less than a month (on 1/1/2018).  This change in audit rules will have a direct impact on the healthcare industry since many healthcare entities, such as physician practice groups, medical…
This past summer Governor Christie signed into law an amendment (“SB 1315”) to the New Jersey Physical Therapy Licensing Act of 1983 (“PT Licensing Act”), to be effective as of January 17, 2018.  Most importantly, SB 1315 will expand the scope of practice for Physical Therapists (each a “PT” and collectively “PTs”) and allow greater utilization of Physical Therapy Assistants (“PTAs,” or individually a “PTA”). In addition, SB1315 adds additional mandatory notice requirements for PTs…
The Pennsylvania legislature is currently considering legislation that would amend the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act (the “Act”) to provide for court-ordered outpatient treatment for those suffering from mental illness or other impairment covered by the Act. The legislation, known as House Bill 1233: A Better Standard for Outpatient Commitment for Persons with Serious Mental Illness (“HB 1233”), would allow for involuntary outpatient treatment where there is clear and convincing evidence that a person would…