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The Federal Courts gave the America Hospital Association and 340B covered entities a late Christmas present and in doing so may have dealt a blow to the Trump Administration’s initiatives aimed at controlling or reducing drug prices.


On December 27, 2018, Judge Rudolph Contreras granted the American Hospital Association’s Motion for a Permanent Injunction over CMS’ Medicare Part B reimbursement cut for 340B hospitals. As I have previously written, the vehicle for that reimbursement cut was the 2018 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule, and CMS’ existing authority to adjust OPPS drug reimbursement.
Viewpoint General

DOJ Follows Through on a 2018 New Years’ Resolution: Rein In Qui Tam Actions

December 20, 2018 | Blog | By Laurence Freedman, Bridgette Keller

Along with most of us, last January DOJ set its own goals for 2018: new policies related to False Claims Act (“FCA”) enforcement. One such “resolution” for 2018 was the DOJ Civil Fraud section’s instruction to its attorneys and all AUSAs handling FCA cases to routinely consider whether declined qui tam actions should be dismissed under the Department’s authority in Section 3730(c)(2)(A) of the FCA, which it had rarely used from 1986 through 2017. Known as the “Granston Memo” (which we discuss here) and now codified in the Justice Manual, the central theme of the instruction is that seeking dismissal of qui tam actions may be in the government’s interest to “preserve limited resources and avoid adverse precedent.” We are now seeing the first evidence of DOJ following through on that resolution.
Viewpoint General

Observations from FDA’s Public Workshop on Medical Device Servicing and Remanufacturing

December 19, 2018 | Blog | By Benjamin Zegarelli, Aaron Josephson

On December 10-11, 2018, FDA hosted a public workshop, Medical Device Servicing and Remanufacturing Activities, as part of its effort to develop a draft guidance that will distinguish servicing activities from remanufacturing. FDA expressed intent to develop a draft guidance on this topic as part of its May 15, 2018 report to Congress on the quality, safety, and effectiveness of medical device servicing. This post provides some observations about areas of agreement among stakeholders and FDA’s perspective on servicing versus remanufacturing.
Viewpoint General

OIG Says Proposed MCO Incentive Program Protected by AKS Safe Harbor

November 19, 2018 | Blog | By Bridgette Keller

In its favorable Advisory Opinion 18-11, the OIG explains how a managed care organization’s proposed incentive program to pay network providers to increase the amount of Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries would not violate the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS).  What is interesting about this Advisory Opinion is that the OIG finds that the health plan’s proposed arrangement would be protected by the managed care safe harbor for eligible managed care organizations (ECMOs), and there are not many opinions addressing this safe harbor.
Viewpoint General

All-Payor Kickback Statute Included in the Recently Passed Opioid Legislation Applies Broadly to Laboratories

November 12, 2018 | Blog | By Karen Lovitch, Laurence Freedman, Benjamin Zegarelli

The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act”) – which is intended to combat the spread and pernicious effects of opioid abuse – contains an all-payor kickback prohibition that applies to laboratories, recovery homes, and clinical treatment facilities.   
Viewpoint General

Six Things to Know About the New Section 1332 Waiver Guidance

October 25, 2018 | Blog | By David Chorney

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) released new guidelines (the “Guidance”) on the application and approval process for states seeking waivers through Section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) from certain requirements for health plans issued under the ACA. The Guidance replaces guidelines issued under the Obama Administration and previously published on December 16, 2015. This post highlights how the Guidance differs from the Obama Administration guidelines and what those differences will mean for states seeking Section 1332 waivers.
Viewpoint General
For much of the past 18 months, the Trump Administration, and in particular CMS, have talked a good game regarding reducing pharmaceutical prices. On October 16, 2018, a key component of the Administration’s strategy was revealed in the form of CMS’ Proposed Rule requiring manufactures to include the “list price” for prescription drugs reimbursable by Medicaid or Medicare in television advertisements. While I do think that there will be new initiatives to address drug pricing, I believe most will come through the state and not the federal level. This post addresses six potential initiatives from a recently released report of the National Governors' Association.
Viewpoint General

ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of October 22nd

October 22, 2018 | Blog | By Eli Greenspan

While Congress is in full campaign-mode, the Administration is continuing its regulatory push in the health space. On Monday, the Administration put forth new guidance on Section 1332 waivers. These waivers were created by the Affordable Care Act as a way for states to seek additional flexibility to pursue avenues for providing high quality and affordable health coverage. Today's guidance will put the Administration out front on interpreting state proposal's to drive innovation. We cover this and more in this week's health care preview.
Viewpoint General

OIG Opinion Illustrates the Need for New AKS Safe Harbors

October 17, 2018 | Blog | By Matt Mora

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) has issued an Advisory Opinion regarding a surgical device and wound care product manufacturer’s proposal to offer its hospital customers who purchase a suite of three joint replacement products a warranty program covering the Product Suite.
Viewpoint General
In the first new guidance document from FDA in several years specific to the subject of direct-to-consumer (DTC) promotion of prescription drugs and biological products, the Agency is recommending that companies take additional steps to ensure that quantitative efficacy or risk information does not convey inaccurate information and does not have the potential to confuse consumers. The draft guidance defines quantitative efficacy and risk information as “information that numerically addresses the likelihood or magnitude of a drug’s effectiveness or risks.” FDA’s advice on how to most clearly share this type of information should be considered by companies when developing any form of DTC promotional media, whether they are digital, broadcast, in traditional print format, or otherwise.
Viewpoint General

HHS Continues the “Sprint to Coordinated Care”

September 28, 2018 | Blog | By Daryl Berke

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.
Viewpoint General

The 2014 Overpayment Rule is Vacated: How We Got Here and Key Takeaways

September 26, 2018 | Blog | By Bridgette Keller

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?
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a significant decision, finding that a physician’s medical judgment about the medical necessity of heart procedures can be “false or fraudulent” under the federal False Claims Act (FCA). 
Recently the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a statement that it had intervened in a False Claims Act (FCA) case against Insys Therapeutics, Inc. and consolidated five separate qui tam cases into one case, U.S. ex rel Guzman v. Insys Therapeutics, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The all-too-common story of a healthcare company declaring bankruptcy in the face of aggressive Medicare recoupment actions before the company even has a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may get a new ending – at least in the Fifth Circuit.
Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced that it had entered into an agreement with a Massachusetts-based medical device manufacturer to settle allegations that the Company had violated the False Claims Act by purchasing lavish meals for physicians to induce them to use heart pumps manufactured by the Company.

Are HCT/Ps a Dark Spot in the Sunshine Act Requirements?

March 7, 2018 | Blog | By Benjamin Zegarelli

On February 22, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the tissue graft manufacturer MiMedx Goup, Inc. and its failure to report payments to physicians under CMS’s Open Payments Program established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148, Sec. 6002, amending Social Security Act Sec. 1128G), also known as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA).
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently intervened in a False Claims Act (FCA) case that raises a variety of interesting allegations, including payment of kickbacks by a compounding pharmacy to contracted marketing companies in the form of percentage-based compensation, to TRICARE beneficiaries in the form of co-payment waivers, and to physicians who submitted prescriptions without seeing patients.
Mintz’s Health Care Enforcement Defense Group recently published its most recent Health Care Qui Tam Update. This Update analyzes the 47 health care-related qui tam cases unsealed in August and September 2017.

The Health Policy Commission’s Annual Cost Trends Hearings

November 1, 2016 | Alert | By Steven Baddour, Daniel Connelly, Julie Cox, Daria Niewenhous, Stephen Weiner, Maxwell Fathy, Elena Horvit, Parnia Zahedi

The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission conducted its fourth annual Cost Trends Hearing on October 17 and 18, 2016, under the requirements of Massachusetts’s 2012 health care reform legislation (“Chapter 224”).
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