October 15, 2018| Blog
Congress has left town until after the midterm elections, but the Administration is continuing to advance its priorities in the regulatory arena. This week, the Administration is expected to publish the proposed rule, "Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Regulation to Require Drug Pricing Transparency." We cover this and the political implications in this week's health care preview.
October 12, 2018| Blog
The Journal of the American Medical Association in its September 18, 2018, issue included four articles on deep learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In one of several viewpoint pieces, On the Prospects for a (Deep) Learning Health Care System, the author’s conclusions aptly describes why health care providers, entrepreneurs, investors and even regulators are so enthusiastic about the use of AI in health care.
Strategies to Unlock AI’s Potential in Health Care, Part 1: Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Getting a Patent
October 12, 2018| Blog
As in any technology area, it is important to consider patent protection early in the development of an AI-related invention. However, AI inventions raise a number of particular issues that, if not addressed fully or at the right time, could be fatal to securing U.S. patent protection that would otherwise be available to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the invention. This article identifies common pitfalls in getting a patent for AI inventions and provides insights on how to avoid them. These principles apply not only to AI-related inventions, but also to digital health inventions more broadly.
October 9, 2018| Blog
While the House is out on recess, the Senate continues to be in session. This week the Senate has some non-health care related hearings scheduled as well as nomination hearings. We are looking for signals for a deal to finish work and send vulnerable Senators home to campaign. However, while legislative action may begin to cool down, regulatory activity at OIRA could be heating up.
October 9, 2018| Blog
Drug and device manufacturers will need to update their reporting systems and provide new training to their sales staff in the coming years based on changes to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act included in the final opioid package passed last week. Beginning with data reported in 2022, the Sunshine Act will cover payments made to advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. The change will also impact state laws requiring the reporting of payments made to these provider types, which will be preempted by federal law.
October 9, 2018| Blog
This October 3rd marked the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Now, 10 years later, the question is whether the law has changed the playing field to ensure greater access to care and more equitable financial parameters. Although the passage of this legislation created a pathway for change, there are still challenges to address. Hopefully our path forward will continue address these issues of implementation, so we approach the day when those living with mental health and substance use disorders will be seen as having a condition or disease that deserves prevention strategies, supports and treatment services, and civil rights protections similar to all other medical conditions.
Final Opioid Legislation Expands Treatment Options for Medicaid Beneficiaries with Substance Use Disorder
October 5, 2018| Blog
The final bipartisan opioid package, which passed in the Senate this week and is expected to be signed into law, includes a significant revision from the original House bill that could lead to an increase in treatment options for Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from substance use disorder (“SUD”). The final version of the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act” will provide state Medicaid programs with the option to cover SUD treatment in certain Institutions for Mental Diseases (“IMD”) for Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 21 and 64.
October 2, 2018| Blog
On September 25, 2018, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a final legislative package to address the opioid crisis. Following this agreement, the House passed the opioid package on September 28, 2018. The Senate is expected to pass the package in the weeks ahead, and the President is expected to sign the package into law. ML Strategies has created a chart tracking the provision of the final opioid package.
October 1, 2018| Blog
You might have missed it but Congress averted a government shutdown last week. While several appropriations bills passed on time for the first time in years, several agencies, including the FDA, were funded on a continuing resolution (CR). The CR provides funding until December 7th and will need to be addressed again by that time. However, the House is now in recess and won’t be back in town until after the midterm elections. So the lame duck session will have a few ‘must dos’ on the list.
September 28, 2018| Blog
On August 27, 2018 the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for information (RFI) seeking comment on the anti-kickback statute (AKS) and the beneficiary inducement prohibition to the civil monetary penalties (CMP) as potential barriers to coordinated and value-based care. The August 27 RFI was the second RFI issued as part of HHS’s “Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care,” an ongoing effort to accelerate the transition from fee for-service to a value-based system that emphasizes care coordination.
September 26, 2018| Blog
Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) have been hailing a federal judge’s recent ruling to vacate the 2014 Overpayment Rule. But, how did we get here? And what does it really mean for MAOs?
September 24, 2018| Blog
This week, Congress and the White House need to finalize a government spending bill in order to avoid a shutdown. While all signs point to a deal being reached, it is widely expected that several agencies will be operating on a continuing resolution for the first couple months of fiscal year 2019. While the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education are expected to receive a full appropriation prior to September 30th, the FDA, which is funded through the Department of Agriculture, is expected to be funded through the continuing resolution, which will go through December 7th.
September 24, 2018| Blog
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Determination of Need (DoN) Program has proposed a number of changes to the DoN Regulations (105 CMR 100.000, et. seq.). Program Director Nora Mann presented the proposed revisions, together with an informational briefing memorandum, to the Massachusetts Public Health Council at its September 12, 2018 meeting. The proposal reflects administrative lessons learned in implementing the regulations, which, as reported in a previous post, DPH redrafted and promulgated in January 2017.
September 17, 2018| Blog
This week, Congress is off and running with two emerging priorities to complete before members head off to campaign. With the midterms just 50 days away, the longer issues like opioids and appropriations remain unsolved the more likely they are to get punted until after the midterms.
September 13, 2018| Blog
Over the past couple of years, FDA has introduced multiple programs allowing faster review of medical devices in order to get them to market more quickly. Some of the FDA’s efforts have been highly visible, such as the Breakthrough Devices program in the 21st Century Cures Act and the Software Precertification pilot program in the FDA’s Digital Health Innovation Action Plan. Others have been less trumpeted but are still significant developments for device manufacturers.
September 12, 2018| Blog
ACA plans scored a major victory last week when a federal court held that health plans participating on the ACA exchanges are entitled to unpaid cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments from the federal government.
September 10, 2018| Blog
Congress continues to make progress towards funding the government despite having only seven business days remaining with both chambers in town prior to the September 30 deadline.
September 6, 2018| Blog
We have continually provided updates on the application and approvals of Medicaid 1115 waivers that include work requirements. One such approved waiver is the Arkansas Works Program. As we previously noted, Arkansas became the first state to implement work requirements for Medicaid eligibility.
Mintz’s Antitrust Group Covers Third Circuit Reinstatement of $67 Million Antitrust “Refusal to Deal” Suit Against Blues
September 5, 2018| Blog
Last week, Bruce Sokler and Farrah Short from Mintz’s Antitrust practice group published a detailed alert regarding the Third Circuit’s reinstatement of an antitrust suit brought by medical device manufacturer LifeWatch Services, Inc. (“LifeWatch”) against the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and five of its member insurance plan administrators: LifeWatch
September 4, 2018| Blog
Congress is back in session with several high-profile hearings and looming deadlines. The Senate will begin consideration of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and will begin its work with the House on conferencing a number of appropriations bills.
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