Legal Updates

Proposed Regulations Released Relating to Health Insurance Premium Tax Credits under Affordable Care Act while Eleventh Circuit Finds Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

On August 12, 2011, the Departments of Treasury and Health and Human Services released Proposed Regulations to provide guidance to individuals who enroll in qualified health plans through State-based Exchanges, as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act, and to provide guidance to Exchanges that make qualified health plans available to individuals and employers.  The Exchanges will be one-stop marketplaces where consumers can buy private health insurance plans.  The premium tax credit is designed to help individuals and families with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (approximately $22,350 to $89,400 for a family of four in 2011) afford health insurance where they are not otherwise eligible for other coverage such as Medicare, Medicaid or affordable employer-sponsored coverage (i.e., the employee only premium exceeds 9.5% of household income or fails to cover 60% of total allowed costs).  These Proposed Regulations provide that the credit may be advanced by the Department of Treasury directly to the insurance company.   Under related employer mandate rules, applicable large employers will be liable for excise taxes effective in 2014 if they have any full-time employees that are certified to receive a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction in connection with enrollment in health insurance through a State Exchange and either the employer fails to offer to its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in an employer sponsored plan that provides “minimum essential coverage” or offers such a plan that is unaffordable.  The Proposed Regulations relating to the premium tax credits indicate that it is anticipated that future guidance will provide a safe harbor permitting employers to base the affordability calculation on wages they pay their employees rather than on a household income basis. 

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BC Government Report on its BC Hydro Review

Today, the British Columbia government released its report on its review of BC Hydro. The comprehensive report is written by a government appointed review panel which was devised in response to a proposed 32% electricity rate increase over three years.

The report provides 56 recommendations to BC Hydro and mostly addresses the internal operations of BC Hydro, but also touches on current and past BC energy policy and its impact on BC Hydro operations.

The report does not directly address the future of the BC clean energy industry, but if you read between the lines, the report does offer some nuggets of information that impacts independent power producers and clean energy enthusiasts (the self-sufficiency review and reliance on imported power is an example on pages 92-93).

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Wisconsin recall results and what it means for S.B. 5

As we recently reported, opponents of changes to Ohio’s Public Employees’ Collective Bargaining Law (popularly known as S.B. 5) recently succeeded in collecting the signatures necessary to place the issue of overturning S.B. 5 on the 2011 November ballot.  We also noted that polling from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute indicated that 56% of respondents favor repeal, while 32% support keeping the law in place.

Tuesday night, Wisconsin voters in six state senate districts went to the polls to vote on the proposed recall of six Republican state senators who voted in favor of similar (arguably, more aggressive) public bargaining reform proposed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and passed by the Wisconsin State Assembly amid much partisan rancor.  Republicans retained four of the six seats contested, narrowly averting the loss of a third seat that would have tipped the Wisconsin Senate majority in favor of the Democrats. 

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Keren Weiss was featured in "Sound Corporate Housekeeping: How to Protect Your Entity’s Independent Status," published by RBMA

Keren Weiss was featured in “Sound Corporate Housekeeping: How to Protect Your Entity’s Independent Status,” published by RBMA

Sound Corporate Housekeeping: How to Protect Your Entity’s Independent Status
By: Keren Weiss

With the growing scrutiny of business operations and corporate liability, radiology and imaging practices must diligently work to maintain certain corporate formalities, thereby minimizing the risks and exposure to the business and its owners. Although often overlooked, medical practices of all sizes should recognize the value of operating the business entity as a limited liability entity or corporation. By utilizing a corporate structure such as a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), limited liability partnership (LLP) or limited partnership (LP), officers, directors and partners gain invaluable protection against personal liability for acts of the practice, including shielding personal assets from judgments or debt collectors.

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Rachel Yaffe was featured in "Teleradiology: You May Be Breaking the Law," published by RBMA

Rachel Yaffe was featured in “Teleradiology: You May Be Breaking the Law,” published by RBMA

Teleradiology: You May Be Breaking the Law
By: Rachel Yaffe

As technology advances and demand for high-quality, efficient healthcare increases, teleradiology continues to be a bustling field of medicine and a fertile territory for laws. Teleradiology is a branch of telemedicine that involves the electronic transmission of radiological patient images (i.e., x-rays, MRIs, CTs) from one location to another location for the purpose of interpretation and consultation by radiologists who are not physically present at the transmitting location.

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Elizabeth Sullivan was featured in "FDA Draft Guidance for Industry on Mobile Medical Applications Released," published by RBMA

Elizabeth Sullivan was featured in “FDA Draft Guidance for Industry on Mobile Medical Applications Released,” published by RBMA

FDA Draft Guidance for Industry on Mobile Medical Applications Released
By: Elizabeth Sullivan

On July 21, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) released draft guidance specifying how the FDA intends to oversee regulation of mobile medical applications for smartphones and other mobile computing devices. The guidance identifies the types of mobile medical applications that the FDA intends to focus on and requests industry comment by October 19, 2011. Although the guidance is not binding, it gives a good indication of the FDA’s current position on the regulation of mobile medical applications.

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Heather Kern was featured in "How Not to be a “Horrible Boss”: A Defense Litigator’s Perspective," published by RBMA

Heather Kern was featured in “How Not to be a “Horrible Boss”: A Defense Litigator’s Perspective,” published by RBMA

How Not to be a “Horrible Boss”: A Defense Litigator’s Perspective
By: Heather Kern

The dark comedy “Horrible Bosses” recently opened in theaters across the nation last month. The trailer for the film showcases Colin Farrell’s character directing a subordinate to “trim the fat” by firing all “the fat people.” The other two bosses – played by Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey – are equally despicable.

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Christal Contini was featured in "Considering a Sale of Your Business? Be Familiar with the Concept of an Earnout," published by RBMA

Christal Contini was featured in “Considering a Sale of Your Business? Be Familiar with the Concept of an Earnout,” published by RBMA

Considering a Sale of Your Business? Be Familiar with the Concept of an Earnout
By: Christal Contini

If you are the owner of a radiology group, imaging center or other health industry service provider, you may wonder about the value of your business. If you are trying to sell your business, the answer you receive from a prospective buyer may not meet your expectations and may be downright disappointing. In such a situation, you and your potential buyer may be able to bridge a purchase price gap by using a mechanism called an “earnout”.

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Ohio Statehouse Update: Week in review – August 5, 2011 — Our top "6" subjects you should know

1. Speaker Batchelder writes Governor Kasich with his support for electric deregulation

House Speaker William Batchelder (R-Medina) released a letter to Governor Kasich on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, stating his support for deregulatory energy reforms. While emphasizing the effect that energy policy has on Ohio businesses, the speaker wrote that a robust competitive market is the best way to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of power for consumers. Batchelder also indicated that a House panel spearheaded by Rep. Peter Stautberg (R-Cincinnati), chair of the House Public Utilities Committee, will begin oversight hearings as a review of the State’s regulatory climate in the near future.

The letter follows Kasich’s announcement of an energy summit that will take place September 21 and 22 at The Ohio State University coordinated by Battelle, a leading energy research center in Columbus. The purpose of the summit is to help the Kasich Administration and Ohio policy makers develop a 21st-century energy policy for Ohio. Summit participants will include leaders from the energy sector, business, education, state and local government, the regulatory community, non-governmental organizations, and economic development.

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Facebook’s Sponsored Stories May Become Tales of Woe

In one of Facebook’s latest efforts to monetize the participation of its over 500 million members, the company announced in early 2011 that it will offer advertisers a new opportunity: “Sponsored Stories.”

Sponsored Stories will republish a content user’s post about an advertiser’s brand as part of banner ads. Advertisers can opt to have several types of user-posted content appear as Sponsored Stories, such as page “likes,” check-ins, application engagement, and page posts.

The use of “branded content” or integrating a consumer’s message such as a tweet or Facebook post into a banner or other digital ad is becoming a more consistent part of the daily social media interactions consumers have with each other.

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