Category:

Regulation

HHS Extends Deadlines to Give Health Care Providers and IT Developers More Flexibility in Responding to COVID-19

As the United States continues to grapple with the effects of the coronavirus epidemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced new rules extending compliance dates and timeframes under the Cures Act. The agency’s new rules—most of which take effect on Dec. 4, 2020—are aimed at giving IT developers and health care providers flexibility in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Death of Neutral Corporations

The current social and political climate, as well as our planet’s environmental climate, have shown the new role that corporations play in society. The pandemic and the current social upheaval seen worldwide have increased the need for real and meaningful corporate commitment to social responsibility.

2020 Title IX Regulations Update

The new Title IX regulations that were introduced by the Department of Education (the Department) in May are officially in effect and require school districts to implement multiple changes in their Title IX compliance practices. Title IX explains that educational programs and activities receiving federal funding from the Department must not act in a discriminatory manner on the basis of sex. These new regulations extend many new protections against sexual harassment, and aim to protect the rights of students, mainly their right to due process. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are challenged with implementing these new regulations while navigating the obstacles brought by the virus.

Extracting the Middle Ground: Is it Time to Federally Regulate Fracking?

The use of fracking has made the United States the global leader in natural gas and crude oil production.  However, the practice is not without controversy.  Activist groups have called for a ban against fracking as scientists have warned of potential health and environmental impacts, while energy lobbyists have fought bitterly against any restrictions or regulations.  As it stands, U.S. regulating of fracking has been mostly left ineffectively to the states, with exemptions to federal regulations on the books. As the societal costs of fracking become better understood, regulators and policy makers must make difficult decisions regarding the practice.

Running a Restaurant in the Covid Era; So Much Regulation, So Little Guidance. 

Americans miss dining out. In fact, surveys indicate that sitting down in a restaurant is the most missed pastime of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the monotony of homebound living grows and already economically fragile restaurants operate at a diminished capacity, patrons and restaurants alike are flouting regulations to get back to normal. Between the pressure of dwindling stimulus loans and eager customers, regulation must be balanced with economic relief to encourage responsible and sustainable reopening.

Changes in Healthcare Information Regulation: Information Blocking

On November 3, 2020 new rules from the Health and Human Services Department concerning information blocking in healthcare will come into effect. The rules are an implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act (“Act”) which is the latest in the government’s effort to lower costs and allow for greater patient access to electronic health information (“EHI”). The Act aims to prevent covered healthcare providers from restricting the flow of EHI in inappropriate ways. Violations of the new Act may result in considerable civil fines.

How Proxy Access for Shareholders Can Hold Corporations Accountable

Proxy access is not about giving shareholder’s rights, it is about checking C-suite power so that everyone wins instead of just the CEOs. Proxy access has the potential to address some of the pressing issues with corporate power. Corporate power and influence are concentrated in the board of directors, proxy access gives shareholders the opportunity to infiltrate this exclusive “inner circle” of power. Shareholder access to the board can push change towards greater diversity in the boardroom and demand greater transparency and compliance.

SEC Adopts New Rules for Whistleblower Program

Twelve years after the 164-year-old brokerage firm Lehman Brothers collapsed during the global financial crisis that had been sparked by the subprime mortgage catastrophe, last month the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a new rule changing parts of the agency’s whistleblower program. The program, which was established by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, permits the agency to provide financial awards to whistleblowers who provide it with original information about fraud and securities violations. At issue in this new rule is how the SEC will evaluate and apply its award criteria based on the circumstances in each case. Commissioners voted 3-2 to adopt the final rule – which is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register – during their Sept. 23 meeting. The SEC said the new rule was aimed at more efficient claim processing, increased transparency to the structure used by the Commission in determining award amounts and making other changes that reflect the Commission’s experience overseeing the program.

DOL Proposes Rule That Could Recategorize Many Employees into Independent Contractors

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has recently proposed a rule change that would revise its interpretation of “independent contractor” under the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”). According to DOL, which has the power to investigate worker complaints about misclassifications, this change is needed to promote certainty for stakeholders, reduce litigation, and encourage innovation in the economy. However, this proposed rule could also diminish employee rights because independent contractors have fewer protections under FLSA. This rule widens the scope of who can be considered an independent contractor. Thus, many workers classified as employees could be reclassified as independent contractors and lose protections under FLSA.

Rural Hospitals in Crisis Receive a Boost to Value-Based Care Model from New CMS CHART Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) Innovation Center (“CMMI”) recently announced a new model for health care providers in rural areas to receive payment from the federal government. The Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (“CHART”) initiative aims to improve rural health care while promoting the Trump Administration’s push to shift health care providers into a more expansive value-based payment model.