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COVID-19 Update: CDC Updates Guidance on Public Transportation and Close Contacts

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) continues to update COVID-19 guidance as more information is known about how the coronavirus spreads.   On October 21, 2020, the CDC made a significant update to the definition of “close contact”.  Individuals that have spent 15 cumulative minutes within six feet of an infected individual during a 24-hour … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: HHS Renews COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration

On October 2, 2020, Secretary Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) renewed his public health emergency (“PHE”) declaration because of “the continued consequences” of the COVID-19 pandemic. This renewal will become effective on October 23, 2020 when the previous July 23 renewal was set to expire and will continue to January … Continue reading

CMS launches website intended to assist hospitals in complying with the price transparency requirements effective January 1, 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in its 2020 outpatient prospective payment system final rule requires hospitals to publicly post standard charge information beginning January 1, 2021. On September 30, CMS launched a website intended to assist hospitals in complying with the price transparency requirements. The website is available at link here. The website … Continue reading

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP Leads Conversation with PE Leaders Re the Future of Healthcare

On September 22, 2020, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and Ernst & Young LLP held their 5th Annual Health Care Private Equity Conference.  As with most other conferences this year, this event was hosted virtually.  NRF Partner Warren J. Nimetz, led an insightful and lively discussion on the annual panel “What’s Hot and What’s Not” … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: U.S. Surpasses 200,000 Fatalities; CDC Releases Holiday Guidelines

This past week the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and seven million cases of COVID-19.  The spread of the virus has altered the way we work, live, and play around the world and will soon touch on one of the most treasured times of the year, the holiday season.  The … Continue reading

CMS Withdraws Proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule

On Monday, September 14, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) Administrator Seema Verma announced on Twitter that CMS was withdrawing the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (“MFAR”) from its regulatory agenda. The MFAR, which was proposed in November of 2019, would have added new reporting requirements for state governments to receive state … Continue reading

President Trump Signs Most Favored National Executive Order

President Trump signed a controversial Executive Order on September 13, 2020  entitled Executive Order on Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First  with the intention of tying drug costs paid by the Medicare program to the costs borne by countries that have national health systems.   The Executive Order provides that “[i]t is the policy of … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: Biopharmaceutical Executives Release Joint Statement on Vaccine

Chief executive officers of nine biopharmaceutical companies signed an unprecedented joint pledge, entitled BIOPHARMA LEADERS UNITE TO STAND WITH SCIENCE, acknowledging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, and pledging to: Always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority. Continue to adhere to … Continue reading

CMS Publishes Proposed Rule on Medicare Coverage for Innovative Technologies 

On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a proposed rule that would establish a new Medicare coverage pathway, Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (“MCIT”), for medical devices that are designated by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) as breakthrough devices. Under the proposed MCIT pathway, CMS would provide national … Continue reading

CMS Issues FY 2021 IPPS and LTCH PPS Final Rule

On Wednesday, September 2, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the FY 2021 Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTCH) final rule. The final rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on September 18 and most of its provisions will be effective … Continue reading

HHS Issues Proposed Rule on Good Guidance Practices

On August 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a proposed rule that would impose requirements regarding the issuance and reliance on HHS guidance documents. This proposed rule results from the 2019 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Azar v. Allina Health Services (139 S. Ct. 1804). In this case the … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: CMS Announces Resumption of Survey Activities

On August 17, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced it was resuming inspections of Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers, which had been suspended in late March in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.   More specifically, CMS will be resuming onsite revisit surveys for surveys with end dates on, … Continue reading

Supreme Court to Hold Oral Arguments on Certain Republican States’ Challenge to the ACA on November 10

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on certain red states’ challenge to the Affordable Care Act on November 10, one week after the November 3 presidential election, according to the court’s online docket released on Wednesday, August 19.  The central argument in the case is whether the entire ACA is invalid without a … Continue reading

CMS Publishes CY 2021 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System Proposed Rule

On Tuesday, August 4, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published the calendar year (“CY”) 2021 Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (“OPPS”) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (“ASC”) Payment System proposed rule. The proposed rule would increase hospital Medicare OPPS payment rates by 2.6 percent and ASC payment rates by 2.6 percent … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: Trump Issues ‘Buy American’ Executive Order Related to Drugs

On August 6, 2020 President Trump signed an Executive Order on Ensuring Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures, and Critical Inputs are Made in the United States.  The Executive Order states that “the domestic supply chains must be capable of meeting national security requirements for responding to threats arising from CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) threats … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: Senators Release Liability Protection Draft Legislation

On July 27, 2020, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) released the SAFE TO WORK Act (“the Act”).   The Act was released as part of the Senate Republicans draft coronavirus legislation, the HEALS Act, which stands for Health; Economic Assistance; Liability protection; and Schools.  The Act seeks to limit liability for healthcare providers … Continue reading

President Trump unveils executive orders on lowering drug prices

On Friday, July 24, 2020, President Trump issued three executive orders, and announced a potential fourth executive order, with the stated intention of lowering the cost of prescription drugs in the United States. The general consensus among legal commentators is that the executive orders are not self-executing and implementation of the policies therein will, therefore, … Continue reading

Court of Appeals Upholds HHS Site-Neutral Payment Cuts to Off-Campus Provider Based Departments

On Friday, July 17, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found in favor of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) by holding that Medicare Part B payment cuts to certain services provided to Medicare beneficiaries in off-campus provider-based departments (“PBDs”) are within the agency’s statutory authority. More specifically, … Continue reading

CMS Administrator Publishes Blog Post on Expansion of Medicare Telehealth Services

On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Seema Verma, published a blog post on the Health Affairs Blog discussing CMS’ efforts to expand telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic and reviewing the potential of adopting some flexibilities as permanent measures. Historically Medicare has covered telehealth … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: FDA Inspections Signal Resumption of Government Enforcement Efforts

On July 10, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would resume domestic on-site inspections beginning the week of July 20.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA suspended inspections of facilities in March “to help slow the spread of the virus and help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.”   To … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: The Joint Commission Resumes Laboratory Survey Activities

In a special LabFocus The Joint Commission revealed they have resumed some laboratory survey activities.  TJC stated that “[a]ccount executives are contacting organizations due for a survey to assess the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on their operations and their current state.”   To determine which organizations will be surveyed, TJC is looking at “a … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: World Health Organization Warns of Dangerous Phase

During a press conference on June 19, 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that “[t]he pandemic is accelerating” and that we are now in a “dangerous phase” where the virus is “spreading fast.”   June 22, 2020 saw the largest single day spike in cases, with 183,020 new cases worldwide.   In the … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: FDA revokes EUA for malaria drugs used as COVID-19 treatment

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked emergency use authorization (EUA) for chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).  The FDA found that the criteria for issuance of the EUA are no longer met and “in light of ongoing reports of serious cardiac adverse events and several newly reported cases of methemoglobinemia … Continue reading

COVID-19 Update: CDC Issues Guidelines for Events and Gatherings

On Friday June 12 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published guidelines for events and gatherings ranging from lowest risk (virtual-only) to highest risk (large, in-person, where difficult to space at least six feet apart and attendees come from other areas).  The guidelines arrive at a time when cities and states have … Continue reading
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