July 7, 2010
By: Allen B. Roberts, Victoria M. Sloan
The typical set of protections or awards featured in a familiar array of whistleblower statutes has a new entrant with the imposition of mandated reporting in the Elder Justice Act section of the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”). In a notable departure from other laws, the Elder Justice Act provides that every individual employed by or associated with a long-term care facility as an owner, operator, agent or contractor has an independent obligation to report a “reasonable suspicion” of a crime affecting residents or recipients of care. Reports must be made directly to both the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and one or more law enforcement entities in as little as two hours following the formation of the reasonable suspicion.
Although limited to reports of crimes against residents and recipients of services of long-term care facilities, the mandate of the Elder Justice Act sets a new standard of conduct – and backs it up with stiff penalties affecting long-term care facilities and those associated with them.
July 6, 2010
On June 25, 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued theProposed Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2011 (the “Proposed Rule”). Significantly, among its revisions are the proposed regulations implementing Section 6003 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) concerning the physician self-referral provisions of Section 1877 of the Social Security Act, commonly known as the “Stark Law.” Specifically, the Proposed Rule outlines a proposed disclosure requirement for certain imaging services (the “Disclosure Requirement”) provided under the umbrella of the In-Office Ancillary Services Exception to the Stark Law. Suppliers and providers of imaging services should consider submitting comments on the Proposed Rule to CMS in either the specified areas requested by CMS or the other areas of concern related to this topic. The deadline to submit such comments is August 24, 2010. Also, as indicated in the Proposed Rule, the Disclosure Requirement will take effect on January 1, 2011—one year later than the potentially retroactive effective date of January 1, 2010, specified in PPACA.