On October 9, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to modernize and clarify the regulations that interpret the Medicare physician self-referral law (often called the “Stark Law”), which has not been significantly updated since it was enacted in 1989. As CMS tries to reconstruct the healthcare field, it is imperative for compliance programs to prepare for the changes in regulations to come. The following discussion provides a brief overview of the proposed changes but is not an exhaustive list of all rulemakings related to the physician self-referral law.
On October 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published two proposed rules in the Federal Register that could potentially transform key federal laws restricting health care arrangements. These rules address perceived or actual barriers to care coordination and value-based care under Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the Civil Monetary Penalty (“CMP”) law. The proposals are intended to “modernize and clarify” the regulations that implement and interpret these laws in order to drive innovation and more towards a more affordable health care delivery and payment system, while also maintaining barriers to prevent fraud and abuse. The proposed rules “will improve outcomes by moving away from the old modes of inpatient hospitalizations.”
Over the past year, restaurants and retailers have had to improve access to their physical locations, websites, and mobile applications to ensure that they are accessible to all individuals and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Now, restaurants and retailers may have another issue that they need to grapple with in order to comply with the ADA – including braille on gift cards.
In September, the Department of Labor announced a final revised “Overtime Rule” set to take effect on January 1, 2020, that raises the “standard-salary level” from $455 to $684 weekly to an annual total of $35,568. This will entitle anyone making less than this standard salary to receive fifty percent more in hourly wages for any hours worked in excess of forty in one week because they are no longer “exempted” from the overtime pay requirement in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Rule is expected to allow 1.3 million previously-exempt workers access to overtime pay. Workers who make more than this threshold can still receive overtime pay if their roles do not include substantial decision making such as administrative, professional, or executive jobs.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the organic food market is experiencing double-digit growth in recent years. Despite the list of reasons that bump up the cost of organic foods, consumers are increasingly willing to pay a premium. Unfortunately for consumers, the weak, unclear, and sometimes non-existent labeling regulations imposed on organic products means that they may not be getting what they think they are paying for.
As the holiday season fast approaches, many Americans are busy planning celebrations with friends and family and shopping for the perfect gift for their loved ones. We often stress about holiday parties and travel arrangements. For many of us, however, our impact on the environment during this time is not of great importance. Unfortunately, during this time, both household and commercial waste increases at often due to online shipments. The convenience of internet shopping, especially around the holidays, packs an environmental punch. As consumers, we must be cognizant of this impact when we decide to purchase online. Not only must we be aware of our own consumption, we must also consider the awareness and efforts of e-commerce platforms to address environmental concerns during this busy time.
The rapid evolution of electronic health records has dramatically changed the healthcare system in the past two decades. Healthcare organizations, both large and small, have transitioned from paper records to hybrid records, and then finally, for many organizations, to completely electronic data. In 2009, the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) created the federal “Meaningful Use” program. This program essentially amounted to a significant government subsidy for practices transitioning to electronic health records and provided funding for organizations to purchase electronic health records subscriptions from health information technology companies in exchange for complete adoption, implementation, and the regular development of quality reporting measures using the new software.
If you are a law student, lawyer, or have any association with lawyers, you have likely heard of the American Bar Association (ABA). The ABA has a great deal of influence in the legal profession, politics, the corporate world, and beyond. Recently, the ABA made headlines after a judicial nominee cried to the Senate during his Senate Committee hearing. This was, in part, due to the ABA’s influence. An ABA evaluator sent a scathing letter to the committee, putting into question the nominee’s character. This letter came under attack by Republicans for its alleged biased and untruthful nature. Despite the dividing nature of the letter, the ABA’s impact is undeniable.
The use of facial recognition technology in the commercial context generates numerous consumer privacy concerns. As technology becomes increasingly present in many aspects of our life, regulations on states and federal level are struggling to catch up. Currently, only three states (Illinois, Washington, and Texas) implemented biometric privacy laws, and only Illinois grants individuals with a private right of action.
On October 25, 2019, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) unanimously voted to begin changing the rule to allow colleges athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness. This progressive move is a big deal for the organization, which has previously kept an extremely firm line between amateurism and professionalism for their athletes. Despite opposition by some to change the current model, public opinion is strongly in favor of these types of changes.