Categories
Article

Top Ten Health Law Myths

I have been practicing health law for more than 25 years and have had the benefit of working with a lot of healthcare providers. My clients will often repeat myths about the practice of healthcare they have heard from their colleagues. There are also occasions when my fellow attorneys will make assumptions about healthcare law […]

Categories
Article

The Shocking Truth About Neurostimulators and the Government’s Efforts to Recoup Payments

For much of the past decade, peripheral neurostimulator devices have been used liberally by some practitioners to treat chronic pain. In addition to pain relief, any manufacturers also promise providers that these devices are reimbursable by Medicare. This combination of relief and reimbursement has proven irresistible. Why not use a device that gives patients relief […]

Categories
Article

The Facts About Medical Factoring

One of the immutable truths about healthcare is that it can take a long time to get paid. Though Texas has a prompt payment statute, it can take 60 days or longer for a claim to be paid. Disputed claims can get pushed out an additional 60 days. The wait is even longer – sometimes […]

Categories
Article

Texas-Sized Pitfalls for Med Spas

Med spa growth across Texas and the nation continues to increase. The American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) found in 2018 that there were 5,431 med spas in the United States with average revenue of more than $1.5 million. That was up by 9% from the year before.1 Revenues during 2020 were strong relative to other […]

Categories
Alert

Hospice, home health agency and owners pay over $1.8M to resolve claims concerning physician payments

The founders of an Edinburg hospice and related home health agency have paid $1,847,279.36 to resolve allegations they submitted claims to Medicare that resulted from unlawful referrals. The company offered compensation to physicians who were responsible for a significant majority of their patient referrals. Specifically, they provided physicians with monthly payments pursuant to medical directorship agreements with Allstate and Verge. Those payments were in excess of fair market value for the services the physicians actually provided. They also sold interests in Allstate to five different physicians which ultimately netted them substantial quarterly dividends. They also provided physicians other gifts and benefits, such as travel and tickets to sporting events.

Categories
Alert

2020 Health Antitrust Year in Review

The federal antitrust enforcement agencies brought three hospital merger challenges and three criminal antitrust enforcement actions in health care in the past year. Combined with the incoming Democratic administration, healthcare antitrust enforcement is likely to remain strong in 2021.

Categories
Alert

Improper Billing of “P-Stim” Devices is Focus of Recent FCA Settlements

Improper billing for electro-acupuncture using a “P-Stim” device (or peri-auricular stimulation device) has been the subject of two False Claims Act (FCA) settlements already in 2021, following a trend of such enforcement actions within the past year. And there are more to come. These prosecutions involve providers billing federal healthcare programs for acupuncture using P-Stim […]

Categories
Alert

Texas Company Agrees to Reimburse Medicare for Improper Billing Related to Neurostimulators

Spinal Decompression Clinic of Texas (“SDCT”) has agreed to pay $330,898.00 to resolve liability under the False Claims Act for the alleged improper billing of electro-acupuncture device neurostimulators. Medicare does not reimburse for acupuncture or for acupuncture devices such as P-Stim, nor does Medicare reimburse for P-Stim as a neurostimulator or as implantation of neurostimulator electrodes.

Categories
Alert

New HHS Advisory Opinion Confirms Complete Federal Preemption for PREP Act Cases and Applicability of the Act’s Defenses in Non-Use Situations

Advisory Opinion 21-01 expands on the language of the amended Declaration to clarify that the PREP Act provides complete preemptive federal jurisdiction for cases in which it is a defense. Once invoked, the PREP Act provides complete preemptive federal jurisdiction, and the federal court retains the case to decide whether the immunity and preemption provisions apply; if they do not apply, then the court would try the case as it would a diversity case.

Categories
Alert

HHS Issues Advisory Opinion on Contract Pharmacies Under the 340B Program

Many covered entities enter into written agreements with pharmacies (contract pharmacies) to distribute their covered outpatient drugs to the entities’ patients. The covered entity orders and pays for the 340B drugs, which are then shipped from the manufacturer to the contract pharmacy. The contract pharmacy then sends the drug to the patient. The covered entity purchases the drug, and the contract pharmacy provides the pharmacy services to dispense the drug to a patient.

In the advisory opinion, the HHS Office of the General Counsel asserts that the plain meaning of Section 340B requires manufacturers to sell covered drugs to covered entities at or below the ceiling price.