This post was written by Matthew R. Sheldon and Alexander Y. Thomas. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing a lower court decision disqualifying a former in-house attorney from acting as a False Claims Act qui tam relator against his former employer. The relator was formerly general counsel to Unilab, a subsidiary of Quest … Continue Reading
On June 9, 2011, Senator Orrin Hatch released a report by the Senate Finance Committee Minority Staff that outlines key concerns about Physician-Owned Distributors ("PODs"), specifically regarding the lack of regulatory oversight and clear guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General ("OIG"). The Committee Minority's report, Physician Owned Distributors (PODs): An Overview of Key Issues and Potential Areas for Congressional Oversight, set forth findings of committee staff who spoke to over fifty people and reviewed thousands of pages of documents. In addition to the report, the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Financial Committee, Special Committee on Aging, and Judiciary Committee sent letters on the same day to the Administrator for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") and the Inspector General of Health and Human Services ("HHS") requesting further inquiry into the concerns set out in the Senator Hatch's report.… Continue Reading
On December 13, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed the decision of Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (the "Secretary") excluding three former pharmaceutical executives for twelve years from participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health care programs. The exclusion - the latest weapon in governmental assaults on pharmaceutical company wrongdoing - was imposed by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services ("OIG"). The executives, who included the company's former general counsel, were excluded notwithstanding the fact that they asserted no knowledge of the misbranding conduct for which their former employer, Purdue Frederick Company ("Purdue"), previously settled with the government.
The decision illustrates the government's enhanced focus on individual liability and punishment in the context of fraud and abuse by health care entities, and it represents a significant development in enforcement activity in this area.… Continue Reading
On October 20, 2010, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services issued significant new guidance for implementing its permissive exclusion authority under section 1128(b)(15) of the Social Security Act. Section 1128(b)(15) specifically authorizes the OIG to exclude an owner, officer or managing employee of a sanctioned entity, i.e., health care provider, supplier, or manufacturer, from participation in federal health care programs. The OIG's new guidance sets out non-binding factors that the OIG intends to consider in deciding whether to impose exclusion on owners, officers and managing employees.… Continue Reading
Despite the many years since enactment, counseling health care clients on the broad and complex federal physician self-referral law, commonly called the Stark Law, will become increasingly difficult. Although originally enacted in 1989 to create “bright line” to demark improper physician self-referred laboratory services, and expanded in 1993 to cover a wide range of “designated … Continue Reading
On September 23, 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule that would implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) designed to strengthen provider and supplier screening requirements under the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). According to CMS, the Proposed Rule is intended to ensure "that only legitimate providers and suppliers are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, and that only legitimate claims will be paid."
Among many other things, the Proposed Rule would: apply screening tools, including unannounced site visits, background checks, and fingerprinting, based on the level of risk associated with different provider and supplier types; impose a $500 application fee on certain providers and suppliers; authorize temporary moratoria on enrollment of certain types of new providers and suppliers; require Medicare and Medicaid payments to be suspended upon credible allegations of fraud; and update various Medicaid screening requirements. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until November 16, 2010.
Our full alert provides an analysis of the proposed rule.… Continue Reading
In April 2010, Reed Smith provided an extensive analysis of the recently-enacted health reform legislation, H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as amended by H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Reconciliation Act). Together, these sweeping measures expand access to health insurance (including subsidies, mandates, and market reforms); reduce health care spending (particularly in the Medicare program); expand federal fraud and abuse authorities and transparency requirements; impose new taxes and fees on health industry sectors; and institute a variety of other health policy reforms.… Continue Reading
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued new "Telemarketing FAQs" to supplement the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) recent revisions to its Special Fraud Alert on Telemarketing by Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers. As you may recall, in January 2010, the OIG amended the Special Fraud Alert to add a warning about suppliers contacting a beneficiary before the supplier receives written beneficiary consent, as it may violate the statutory provision that prohibits Durable Medical Equipment (DME) suppliers from making unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries regarding the furnishing of a Medicare-covered item. Specifically, the OIG stated that it "has also been made aware of instances when DME suppliers, notwithstanding the clear statutory prohibition, contact Medicare beneficiaries by telephone based solely on treating physicians' preliminary written or verbal orders prescribing DME for the beneficiaries." According to the OIG, the "physician's preliminary written or verbal order is not a substitute for the requisite written consent of a Medicare beneficiary."
In response to this new language, Reed Smith contacted the OIG to discuss the adverse impact this policy would have on timely beneficiary access to medically necessary equipment ordered by a physician, since some suppliers call a beneficiary to arrange for equipment deliveries upon receiving an initial physician verbal order. The OIG has just sent us a copy of new CMS Telemarketing FAQs that seek to clarify certain aspects of the revised Special Fraud Alert...… Continue Reading
Last week, in my capacity as president of the American Health Lawyers Association, I attended the first National Summit on Health Care Fraud, a joint undertaking by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice. The conference brought together private sector leaders, law enforcement personnel, and health care experts as part of the Obama Administration's coordinated effort to fight health care fraud. This was the first national gathering on health care fraud between law enforcement and the private and public sectors.… Continue Reading
The American Health Lawyers Association released a white paper on August 10, 2009, which analyzes the problems and benefits of the Stark Law and challenges amidst pending health care reform. In light of these significant policy discussions, many are wondering whether Congress will take action. Reed Smith's Karl Thallner was quoted in BNA's Health Law Reporter article discussing difficulties of the Stark law and the proposed improvements suggested by AHLA Committee. The article, "AHLA Stark Reform Proposals Welcome, Have Little Chance of Success, Attorneys Say" is reproduced with permission from BNA's Health Law Reporter, 18 HLR 1105 (Aug. 20, 2009). Copyright 2009 by The Bureau of National Affairs,Inc. (800-372-1033).… Continue Reading
This post was also written by Matthew E. Wetzel. On December 18, 2008, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (“AdvaMed”), the national trade association of medical technology manufacturers, issued a revised Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals (the “AdvaMed Code” or “Code”). The revised AdvaMed Code, which becomes effective July 1, 2009, contains … Continue Reading
We previously wrote about how the Department of Justice (DOJ) revised its Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations, which govern how federal prosecutors investigate, charge, and prosecute corporate crimes, including health care fraud. Reed Smith’s Matthew R. Sheldon, Alexander “Sandy” Y. Thomas, and Richard D. Kelley have written more on the subject.… Continue Reading
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has revised its Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations, which govern how federal prosecutors investigate, charge, and prosecute corporate crimes, including health care fraud. A number of the revisions address the area of cooperation credit, including providing that credit for cooperation will not depend on a corporation’s waiver of attorney-client … Continue Reading
In-house lawyers in many industries–including life sciences and health care–repeatedly confront hard questions about the attorney-client privilege. As Reed Smith lawyers Matthew Sheldon and Sandy Thomas explain in the PrivilEdge Newsletter, a number of recent developments warrant attention. These include “The Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act of 2007”–pending legislation that would curb demands for waiver of … Continue Reading
Articles in This Issue: Provider Networks and Joint Ventures: Avoiding Antitrust Scrutiny Through Clinical Integration Stark II, Phase III Final Rule In the Spotlight: Fraud and Abuse Health Law 101: Fraud and Abuse Recent Reed Smith Publications Click here to read the Spring 2008 issue of Health Law Monitor.… Continue Reading