In December of 2019, two new rules were proposed by the federal government to increase the number of organ transplants in the United States. As of July 2019, 113,000 Americans sat on the national transplant waiting list. The first proposed rule would change the way Organ Procurement Organizations (“OPO”) report data on the number of organs procured. The second proposed rule creates new legislation to assist living donors after their transplant procedures. Both rules were proposed by the Health and Human Services Department (“HHS”) as a follow up to President Trump’s Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health.
Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) proposed new rules to improve the interoperability of electronic health information (“EHI”) to fulfill its statutory requirement under the 21st Century Cures Act. These proposed rules were issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”) to address both technical and healthcare industry factors that create barriers to the interoperability of health information and limit a patient’s ability to access EHI. Epic, one of the largest programs for maintaining electronic health records (“EHR”), is attempting to halt the finalization of the interoperability rules before they take effect as they believe it posts privacy concerns. On March 9, 2020, HHS announced the joint final rules from CMS and ONC to spur innovation and to end information blocking.
In a previous article, I discussed the mental health crisis facing student athletes across the country. I called on the NCAA, individual universities, and all coaches to increase efforts to improve the overall health and wellness of their athletes. The stigma is slowly being tackled, making it more commonplace for athletes to speak out when they need help. But how can athletic departments make these services readily available and accessible for student athletes? The NCAA recommends a well-trained psychologist to be a part of athletic departments’ staff. There are, however, other models being utilized.
In the United States, a mortgage is considered “conforming” if it meets the guidelines of Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) and Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association). Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae buy mortgages, pools them, and then sells them back to the open market for investors. In 2008, the federal government put both organizations into a conservatorship due to the financial meltdown and subsequent economic recession. As such, the government now has stringent guidelines that homebuyers must meet if they want to qualify for a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae mortgage.
At the end of January, the Federal Reserve Board, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “Agencies”) approved a notice of proposed rulemaking (“Proposed Rule”) to amend the “covered fund” provisions of section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act, also known as the “Volcker Rule” (the “Rule”). The Volcker Rule is a regulation that generally prohibits banks from certain investment activities with their own accounts and limits their dealings with private equity and hedge funds, also known as “covered funds.”
On November 18th, 2019, Congress introduced the Stop Marketing and Revealing the Wearables and Trackers Consumer Health Data Act, known as the Smartwatch Data Act. The Smartwatch Data Act was introduced by Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen and Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, due to Google’s desire to acquire fitness tracker manufacturer Fitbit in 2020. Since notice of this acquisition, privacy advocates have raised concerns about how Google will use personal health data collected through Fitbit devices. Therefore, this legislation aims to ensure that health data collected through fitness trackers, smartwatches, and health apps, cannot be sold without consumer consent.
Public Act 101-0531 (“Act”) was signed into law on August 23, 2019. The Act is a step that the Illinois legislature has taken to protect students from recurring violence by school employees. It allows the Illinois State Board of Education (“ISBE”) to suspend an educator’s license if they are charged with crimes listed in Section 21B-80 of the Illinois School Code. If the person is acquitted of that crime, however, they would have their license reinstated. Prior to the enactment of this statute, ISBE had to wait until the conclusion of any criminal proceedings to revoke a teaching license if a teacher was charged with a sex crime or Class X felony. In addition to the change in agency authority, the bill also creates several reporting and policy review requirements that will help protect students from violence and school districts from liability.
By now most people are familiar with the #MeToo movement. The movement began in 2006 by women, specifically Tarana Burke and women of color from low wealth communities, to help survivors of sexual violence. Eleven years after the movement was founded, it exploded during the fall of 2017 when well-known women in the entertainment industry began to use the famous #MeToo hashtag and shared their stories of sexual, discrimination, abuse and harassment. Two and half years later, there has been some change, but not enough. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, said the biggest impact of #MeToo is that it decreased the stigma associated with sexual abuse and harassment and increased awareness.
In the past 12 years, Manchester City has seen a dramatic rise to the European Elite. In 2008, Sheikh Mansour, who has ties to the United Arab Emirates’ royal family, took over ownership of the club. Following the take-over, Manchester City has gone on to win 10 major trophies. On February 14, 2020, Manchester City was handed a two year ban on European competitions, as well as a $32.5 million fine. This is the largest fine ever by Union of European Football Associations (“UEFA”), the governing body of European Football. The UEFA found that Manchester City overstated its sponsorship revenue in its accounts. This, according to the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body, is a “serious breach” of Licensing and Financial Fair Play. If the ban is upheld, Manchester City would be fined approximately $232.5 million, a sum of the initial fine plus potential winnings in European Football competitions. According to Simon Chadwick, director at the Centre for the Eurasian Sport Industry, “UEFA must win this ban, if it doesn’t then its position on Financial Fair Play beings to unravel.” This is a pivotal moment in UEFA’s history as a governing body.