When healthcare entities are seeking to expand their operations, they often will find interesting targets who have union-represented employees.  A union’s presence will create additional compliance obligations but, contrary to common misconceptions, union-related obligations are not necessarily unmanageable. In a recent case, which arose after new owners took over a skilled nursing home facility, the National Labor Relations Board reiterated the standards that will determine whether a buyer must recognize the seller’s former labor union,…
In a closely watched decision, this past week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld an Ohio law permitting Ohio to defund Planned Parenthood clinics.  See Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Hodges, Case No. 16-4027 (Mar. 12, 2019).  An 11 to 6 majority of the full panel of the Sixth Circuit reversed a district court decision enjoining a 2016 Ohio law that barred Ohio’s health department from funding organizations that…
On February 6, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Proposed Rule modifying the Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbor protection with the aim of lowering prescription pharmaceutical product prices and out-of-pocket costs for (primarily Medicare Part D and Medicaid Managed Care Plan) consumers. With the Proposed Rule, HHS hopes to encourage medication manufacturers to pass discounts directly to consumers and develop a transparent framework for the prescription pharmaceutical product market.  A more…
A lapse in federal funding, or a government shutdown, occurs when Congress and the President fail to agree to a new appropriations bill for oneor more of the federal government agencies. The most recent partial government shutdown, ending in January 2019, affected about 25% of government agencies (in dollar terms). The Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were among those agencies whose ability to spend new funds were impacted by…
On 31 January 2019, economists at the UK Competition and Markets Authority and London School of Economics published a new working paper on the effect of mergers between NHS hospitals on patient harm, stating that “a hypothetical merger to monopoly would, on average, be associated with a significant increase in harm rates”.  These findings have been published amidst several recent NHS hospital merger clearances by the UK competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority…
The June 13, 2018 Practical Law Practice Note co-written by Squire Patton Boggs attorneys Mark A. Salzberg, Elliot M. Smith, and John E. Wyand titled “State Legalized Marijuana Businesses and Access to the Bankruptcy Code” was recently updated to reflect recent case law as well as changes to the Controlled Substances Act. The Practice Note discusses the federal statutory scheme governing marijuana, its tension with state laws governing marijuana businesses, and the ability…
A new outlook on the most prominent cybersecurity threats in the healthcare industry today and a series of corresponding, risk-prioritized cybersecurity best practices to combat these threats are now available from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  More than 150 private sector healthcare and cybersecurity experts contributed to this guidance as part of the task force HHS established in response to The Cybersecurity Act of 2015.  Their goal, cost-effectively strengthening cybersecurity in the…
Policy Shifts at the Department of Justice – 2018 in Review provides an easily navigated yet detailed summary of significant developments at the Department of Justice (DOJ)  focusing on fraud and abuse. This Alert sheds light on how the policy shifts may affect the health care industry in the coming year. Among the topics of interest to healthcare are: Debut of Justice Manual False Claims Act Developments – Granston and Brand Memos Relaxing All or Nothing…
Employers need to be prepared to address issues with employees regarding possession and use of medical marijuana. What Does the Law Say? Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed in 2016, permits patients with any of 21 specific medical conditions to purchase, use and possess medical marijuana in various forms (including certain dried plant material, oils and edibles). Patients must register with the state Board of Pharmacy and, if the patient is under the age of 18,…
The Eighth Circuit has recently reviewed whether a pharmacy benefit manager (”PBM”) is a “health benefit plan” within the meaning of the state statutes in Mississippi, North Carolina, and Georgia such that a pharmacy may bring a claim to enforce the any willing provider laws against PBMs.  Many states have enacted some version of any willing provider laws, which generally require healthcare plans to accept any qualified provider willing to accept the plans’ terms and…