Monthly Archives: January 2017

Court of Appeal Upholds Substantial Damage Award Against Durham Police

In a decision released this week – Nissen v. Durham Regional Police Services Board, 2017 ONCA 10  – the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a trial decision which awarded a woman substantial damages for “emotional and psychological injury”  against the Durham Police Force for what she pleaded was “breach of informer privilege”.

The plaintiff lived with her husband and two children on a quiet street in Whitby, Ontario.  On occasion, the plaintiff asked the teenaged son of one of her neighbours to babysit her children.  One day when the plaintiff asked another neighbour to babysit, her usual babysitter became angry.  The plaintiff was disturbed by what she regarded as his irrational and frightening behaviour.  The plaintiff subsequently learned from another neighbour that the babysitter had broken into the neighbour’s home, stolen guns, and with his brother had taken the guns to school and threatened students.   

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New York Raises Salary Thresholds for Overtime Exemption – Employment Law This Week

Featured on Employment Law This Week:  Another Department of Labor action currently in limbo is the new federal salary thresholds for the overtime exemption. But New York went ahead with its own increased thresholds, sealing the deal at the end of 2016.

In New York City, the threshold is now $825 a week, or $42,950 annually, for an executive or administrative worker at a company with 11 or more employees. The salary thresholds will increase each year, topping out at $1,125 per week in New York City and in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties.

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ILN Today Post

Who is HIPAA business associate?

A wide range of vendors and contractors that perform services or other functions for health care providers or health plans face substantial obligations and potential liabilities as business associates under the Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules (HIPAA Rules) issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Therefore, it is crucial for covered entities, as well as anyone performing services or functions involving protected health information (PHI) for covered entities or business associates, to identify all of their business associate relationships so they can take appropriate actions to comply with the HIPAA Rules. As we will discuss in this white paper, whether a service provider is a business associate under the HIPAA Rules will depend on the relationship of the parties, the nature of the services and whether the activities involve the use, disclosure, transmission, or maintenance of PHI.

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The Trump effect: tips to make your workplace ‘Great Again’ in 2017

In late 2016, millions watched with mixed emotions as something which many may once have thought impossible (or at least very unlikely), took place. Donald Trump succeeded in his campaign for the White House and will shortly take office as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Whatever your feelings toward Trump, his campaign was one of the most significant talking points of 2016. Indeed, one of the (many) interesting things which have emerged from it is that many American voters who supported Trump did so, at least in part, because they believe he will run America like he runs his global business empire.

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New Federal and State Initiatives Seek to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

Recent federal and state legislative efforts signal an increased focus on a significant and largely underappreciated public health threat – antimicrobial resistance (i.e., when a microorganism (such as a bacteria or virus) is able to resist the effects of medications such as antibiotics and antivirals, causing such medications to be ineffective). The results of a 2014 study underscore the magnitude of the threat of so-called “superbugs,” estimating that the number of deaths worldwide attributable to antimicrobial resistance will reach 10 million by 2050.  By comparison, the same study projected 8.2 million deaths from cancer, and 1.2 million deaths from traffic accidents by 2050.  Legislative efforts to address antimicrobial resistance span from encouraging development of new pathways to market for antimicrobial drugs to expanding data collection and monitoring efforts to better understand the scope of the problem.  The combination of new data and less-restrictive pathways to market simultaneously provide pharmaceutical companies with a faster entry into the market for antimicrobial drugs and a better understanding by local health departments and hospitals of the need for new drugs to combat resistant strains of microorganisms.

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NLRB on Track to Continue Pro-Union Rulings in 2017

Our colleagues Adam C. Abrahms and Christina C. Rentz, attorneys at Epstein Becker Green, have a post on the Management Memo blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the health care industry: “NLRB Rings In the New Year by Signaling It Will Continue Its Pro-Union Rulings.”

Following is an excerpt:

In yet another decision that exhibits the current Board’s overreaching and expansive view of its jurisdiction, the Board recently ruled that nurses who supervise and assign other hospital staff are not statutory supervisors.

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NLRB Rings In the New Year by Signaling It Will Continue Its Pro-Union Rulings

In yet another decision that exhibits the current Board’s overreaching and expansive view of its jurisdiction, the Board recently ruled that nurses who supervise and assign other hospital staff are not statutory supervisors.

A Position Expressly Created to be Supervisory is Not Supervisory, According to the Board

In 2016, Lakewood Health Center (“Lakewood”) restructured its staffing system and replaced charge nurses with a newly created position, Patient Care Coordinator (“PCC”). According to the uncontradicted testimony of Lakewood Vice-President of Patient Care Danielle Abel, the hospital created this new position for one specific reason – “to ensure accountability for shift-by-shift work flow of the department….in addition to supervising the employees on their shift.”

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Court Issues Nationwide Injunction Prohibiting Enforcement of Section 1557 Provisions Relating to Gender Identity and Termination of Pregnancy – But Other Provisions Still Can Be Enforced

On December 31, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prohibits the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from enforcing certain provisions of its regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or termination of pregnancy. This ruling, in Franciscan Alliance v. Burwell (Case No. 7:16-cv-00108-O), a case filed by the Franciscan Alliance (a Catholic hospital system), a Catholic medical group, a Christian medical association, and eight states in which the plaintiffs allege, among other allegations, that the Section 1557 regulations force them to provide gender transition services and abortion services against their religious beliefs and medical judgment in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”).

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ILN Today Post

Think Tank: 2017 is shaping up to be a major year for state gas tax reform

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (Institute) released a late December article predicting that significant gas tax reforms will occur in numerous states in 2017. As examples, the Institute pointed to Alaska’s Gov. Bill Walker, who has proposed tripling his state’s gas tax; and Indiana, Louisiana, and Tennessee, where officials are considering their own reforms. “Altogether, it appears that more than a dozen states will seriously debate gas tax changes next year.”

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FY 2016 False Claims Act Recoveries: Government Enforcement Remains Lucrative and a Continued Source of Risk for Health Care Entities—But Will This Change in a Trump Administration?

The federal government continues to secure significant recoveries through settlements and court awards related to its enforcement of the False Claims Act (FCA), particularly resulting from actions brought by qui tam relators. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, the federal government reported that it recovered $2.5 billion from the health care industry. Of that $2.5 billion, $1.2 billion was recovered from the drug and medical device industry.  Another $360 million was recovered from hospitals and outpatient clinics.

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