The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently announced guidelines for the application of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) to audio-only telehealth encounters following the end of the declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency (“PHE”). As reported here at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that it would exercise discretion in enforcing HIPAA regulations so long as a covered entity…
On March 10, 2022, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) appointed a Director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement.[1] As a part of this announcement, DOJ announced some of its priorities in Health Care Fraud enforcement. The priorities focus on kickbacks, utilizing the relaxed rules to bill for medically unnecessary or never performed services, vaccine-related fraud, and fraud related to accessing COVID relief funds. As a part of this enforcement priority, on April 20, 2022, DOJ announced…
The Department of Justice recently released their Year in Review summary of activity by the Healthcare Fraud Unit, detailing enforcements efforts related to some of the more significant telehealth-related fraud claims in 2021. The DOJ’s litigation unit significantly expanded last year to support the Fraud Unit, resulting in material criminal prosecutions and sentences. Since 2019, the Fraud Unit has led five enforcements actions involving over $8 billion in alleged fraud loss related to the exploitation…
Dickinson Wright Attorneys recently tackled some basic questions regarding private equity in health care during Dickinson Wright’s Health Law Summit. Below is a summary of what was discussed. Click here to view the full webinar. What is private equity? The term “private equity” is broad, referring to family offices, limited partnerships, and investment funds put together for specific purposes, namely to invest in certain sectors. They come in many different sizes and forms, and…
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a consumer protection agency that ensures the safety and efficacy of certain products in the US, such as medical devices, drugs, and prescriptions, tobacco products, cosmetics, food, including animal food, and electronic products that emit radiation. Canada’s equivalent is Health Canada (HC) and focuses on helping Canadians maintain and improve their health. During Dickinson Wright’s 2021 Health Law Virtual Summit, Billee Lightvoet Ward (Of Counsel, Grand Rapids) and…
As employees return to the workplace, an increasing number of employers are asking their workers to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations. This has led to many questions and concerns about whether such a practice is permitted under various healthcare privacy laws, particularly the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). At first glance, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) stance on HIPAA’s applicability to employer requests for COVID-19 vaccination records is fairly…
We owe a tremendous debt to the healthcare worker battalion, who fought, and continues to fight, to save lives globally during this pandemic.  It is important to consider that while the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the severe healthcare worker shortages globally, we are now facing an increasing percentage of burnout departures in the industry.  For example, a survey conducted by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) found that, “20 percent of national nurse associations reported…
On May 3, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) announced the creation of the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund (“CAF”).[i] Providers who administered the vaccine to patients on or after December 14, 2020, can now seek reimbursement for certain amounts they were unable to bill to patients for administering the vaccine. For providers to administer a COVID-19 vaccine, providers must be enrolled in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program.  As of February…
In March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, which provided $2.2 trillion in economic relief.  The Act was designed to quickly get money to millions of Americans suffering from the pandemic.  Unfortunately, this relief provided ample opportunity for fraud.  As the COVID pandemic begins to ease, the Department of Justice’s efforts to prosecute this COVID-19 fraud is intensifying.  To date, the Department has charged nearly 500 defendants with criminal…
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides $1.9 trillion dollars in economic stimulus for individuals, certain companies, and municipalities. This blog focuses specifically on what the ARP means for employers. First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) As of January 1, 2021, employers who were originally covered under the FFCRA (employers with fewer than 500 employees) were no longer required to provide FFCRA emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and emergency family medical leave (EFMLA) to covered employees. However,…