Healthcare

Fourth Circuit Holds the Americans with Disabilities Act Covers Gender Dysphoria

On August 16, 2022, in Williams v. Kincaid, the Fourth Circuit held that gender dysphoria can qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).  This is the first federal appellate decision which extends the ADA’s protections to transgender people experiencing gender dysphoria and it will have a significant impact on all entities covered by the ADA, including employers (covered by Title I of the ADA), and public accommodations (covered by Title III of the ADA). Prior to this holding, several of the district courts have come down both ways on the issue.

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Podcast: Interoperability: Information-Blocking Claims and Enforcement – Diagnosing Health Care

From the Diagnosing Health Care PodcastHow have complaints of information blocking been submitted to the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), and by whom? What does government enforcement action really look like?

In this episode of our special series on interoperability, hear from ONC attorneys Cassie Weaver and Rachel Nelson.

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OIG Approves Gift Cards for Medicare Managed Care Enrollees Who Complete Online Education

On August 19, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) posted Advisory Opinion 22-16 (“AO 22-16”) to its website, a favorable opinion concluding that the OIG would not impose sanctions in connection with a program that offered $25 gift cards to Medicare Advantage (“MA”) plan enrollees who completed an online educational program about the potential risk, benefits, and expectations related to surgery. AO 22-16 is the latest in a string of recent OIG advisory opinions addressing arrangements involving remuneration to Federal health care program beneficiaries – the ninth such advisory opinion in 2022 alone.

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Healthcare Worker Minimum Wage Increase Put on Hold in Los Angeles and Downey but May Soon Take Effect in Two Other California Cities

As we reported, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new healthcare worker minimum wage ordinance, increasing the minimum wage for healthcare workers at private healthcare facilities in Los Angeles to $25.00 per hour. Similarly, the Downey City Council approved its own citywide healthcare worker minimum wage ordinance. For the moment, however, both ordinances are on pause. The Los Angeles ordinance would have gone into effect on August 13, 2022, and the Downey ordinance would have become effective on August 11, 2022.

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Biden Administration Seeks to Clarify Patient Privacy Protections Post-Dobbs, Though Questions Remain

On July 8, two weeks following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson that invalidated the constitutional right to abortion, President Biden signed Executive Order 14076 (E.O.). The E.O. directed federal agencies to take various actions to protect access to reproductive health care services,[1] including directing the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “consider actions” to strengthen the protection of sensitive healthcare information, including data on reproductive healthcare services like abortion, by issuing new guidance under the Health Insurance and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).[2]

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Podcast: Impact of COVID-19 on Pharmacist Scope of Practice: Before and After the PREP Act – Diagnosing Health Care

In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast:  For years, pharmacy advocates have urged policymakers to make changes to state scope of practice laws that would permit pharmacists to prescribe and administer certain tests and vaccines at the pharmacy. How has COVID-19 impacted these efforts?

Hear from special guest Will Chang, Chief Legal Officer of UpStream.

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Podcast: Owner’s Outlook: Renovating and Expanding Critical Access Hospitals in a Volatile Market – Diagnosing Health Care

From the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast:  Over the last 12–24 months, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) have seen steep cost escalation in their expansion and renovation plans, with expense increases exceeding 10 percent. Combined with nationwide staffing shortages, CAHs are at a crossroads as to how to proceed.

On this episode of our Owner’s Outlook series, hear from special guest Eric Shell, Chairman of Stroudwater Associates, a national advisory firm that designs solutions for rural and community hospitals.

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Unpacking Averages: Assessing Whether FDA’s Breakthrough Device Designation Is Helpful

You might be thinking, that’s an odd title: obviously FDA’s breakthrough device designation is helpful.  However, after looking at the data, my conclusion is that I would avoid the breakthrough device designation for any product that qualifies for the 510(k) process.  The process is likely not helpful for such devices.

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Healthcare Noncompete Laws Get a Checkup in Four States and the District of Columbia

As readers of this blog likely know, many states have entirely different statutory schemes for noncompetes in the healthcare industry. Indeed, while 47 states generally permit noncompetes, more than a dozen expressly prohibit or limit them in certain sectors of the healthcare industry – typically for patient-facing clinicians.

For example, in Massachusetts, noncompetes are not permissible in “[a]ny contract or agreement which creates or establishes the terms of a partnership, employment, or any other form of professional relationship with a physician registered to practice medicine . . . , which includes any restriction of the right of such physician to practice medicine in any geographic area for any period of time after the termination of such partnership, employment or professional relationship.” The same restriction applies to Massachusetts nurses, psychologists, and social workers.

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Podcast: Interoperability: Health Care’s Next Disruptor Is openEHR – Diagnosing Health Care

Featured on the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast:  How is openEHR transforming the way health data is managed and stored across Europe? Will it soon disrupt the U.S. marketplace?

In this episode of our special series on interoperability, hear from Alastair Allen, CTO of Better.

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