The playing field in a lawsuit challenging agency action is tilted toward the agency, largely by means of various deference doctrines. One of the most important has been deference to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulations. Courts have been deferring to those interpretations for decades, following a 1940s Supreme Court case, Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co.[1] The ground really shifted in 1997, when in Auer v. Robbins[2] the Supreme Court…
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced a revision of the “Yates Memo” concerning credit a company will receive for cooperating with an investigation.   Instead of an “all or nothing” approach, the new policy permits a company to “identify all individuals substantially involved in or responsible for the misconduct at issue.” More about this change can be found at the Anticorruption blog here.…
On October 26, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a proposed rule that will, among others initiatives, allow CMS to recover higher dollar amounts of improper payments made to Medicare Advantage Organizations.  Improper payments are identified through Risk Adjustment Data Validation (“RADV”) audits, which are audits conducted to determine whether the risk adjusted payments submitted by Medicare Advantage Organizations are for diagnoses supported by proper documentation. If there are any improper…
The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has greatly increased its activity around cybersecurity initiatives and medical devices. As we approach the end of the year, this is a great opportunity to review recent developments. FDA Medical Device Cybersecurity Guidance On October 18, 2018, the FDA published draft guidance, “Content of Premarket Submissions for Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices.” This draft replaces prior guidance from 2014, and the outlines recommendations for device design, data…
In tandem with President Trump’s signing of H.R. 6, (now former) US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new Department of Justice (DOJ) funding awards aimed at curbing drug trafficking and supporting youth impacted by America’s opioid epidemic. At DOJ’s first-ever National Opioid Summit, Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein highlighted sustained federal law enforcement efforts to combat opioid abuse and related substance issues. DOJ’s nearly US$70 million investment, which closely follows the recent announcement…
On Wednesday, October 24, President Trump signed the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) into law. The bill signing occurred three weeks following Congress’ overwhelming approval of the measure, and nearly one year since the Trump Administration deemed America’s opioid crisis a federal public health emergency. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and…
Last month, CMS updated Chapters 13 and 14 from the Part D Prescription Drug Benefit Manual (PDBM). These updates affect Part D plan sponsor operations as well as network and non-network pharmacies. In Chapter 13, CMS updated its guidance on premium and cost sharing subsidies for low-income beneficiaries under the Part D program. In Chapter 14, CMS updated its guidance on coordination of benefits. A selection of CMS’s updates to those chapters are highlighted below:…
On September 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had tossed out a new calculation method, employed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), which had cut Medicare payments to hospitals. Azar v. Allina Health Services (“Allina Health”). HHS itself estimated that the D.C. Circuit’s ruling implicates between $3 and $4 billion in so-called Medicare “DSH” payments to hospitals for federal fiscal…
For the second time in as many years, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) entered into settlement agreements with and levied hefty fines on three hospitals that allegedly impermissibly disclosed patients’ protected health information to ABC News in the course of filming a television network documentary series.  OCR announced on September 20 that Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital each reached agreements with HHS…
Nearly three months following House passage of a legislative proposal related to America’s opioid epidemic, the Senate overwhelmingly cleared its own comprehensive, bipartisan package to address the crisis. On Monday, September 17, senators replaced the House-passed text with a substitute amendment and approved The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 (H.R. 6) by a vote of 99-1. The bill, authored by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), resulted from…