Skip to main content

Health Care

Viewpoints

Filter by:

Privacy & Thumbnail Viewpoints Thumbnail

Protecting Health Information Post Roe Part 1: Steps for Women

July 5, 2022 | Blog | By Dianne Bourque, Cynthia Larose

Much has been written about how existing privacy laws such as HIPAA are unhelpful to women in the wake of Dobbs vs. Jackon Women's Health Organization ruling. In the first of this two-part blog post series, the Mintz team breaks down the legal rights and practical strategies that women can use to protect their own information.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail

PBMs Continue to Draw Federal Scrutiny: PBM Transparency Act of 2022

June 30, 2022 | Blog | By Bridgette Keller, Hassan Shaikh, Sergey Smirnov, Jewel Duberry-Douglas

As we noted in our last PBM Regulatory Roundup, there has been a wave of state regulation focused on PBM practices in the wake of Rutledge and Webhi. However, PBMs are also facing federal reform efforts. The Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Transparency Act of 2022 (the Act) was recently proposed in the U.S. Senate and intends to incentivize “fair and transparent” PBM practices, prohibit spread pricing and claw backs of payments to pharmacies, and empower the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and state attorneys general in enforcement actions to stop “unfair and deceptive” PBM business practices.

At the same time, government watchdogs are also taking action: on June 7, 2022, the FTC announced that it would launch an inquiry into vertically integrated PBMs, and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services expects to release a report in 2022 following completion of its analysis of Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) PBM pricing.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
Anyone who has spent any time around health care policymaking circles in Washington, D.C. has heard about the intense five-year cycle Congress goes through in order to reauthorize the biggest user fee programs at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Mintz previously published this wonderful explanation of the process complete with an estimated timeline for how this year’s reauthorization was likely to go. As a reminder, the current authorization for FDA’s various human product user fee programs – with the exception of the over-the-counter drug program that was freshly created in 2020 – will expire on September 30, 2022 with the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, unless they are renewed by Congress before that time.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail

Potential Pitfalls of Telehealth Prescribing

May 31, 2022 | Blog | By Lara Compton, Ellen Janos, Cassandra Paolillo

As we’ve previously covered, while Congress has acted to extend certain COVID-era telehealth flexibilities (mostly related to Medicare coverage) beyond the Public Health Emergency (PHE), the future of prescribing controlled substances via telehealth is uncertain.  Although the American Telemedicine Association and other industry groups continue to advocate for changes to allow telehealth providers to prescribe controlled substances in certain circumstances, without further action by Congress or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), telehealth providers who prescribe controlled substances will need to conduct an in-person examination of the patient once the PHE ends. 
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
On May 11, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the creation of the Department of Financial Services’ Pharmacy Benefits Bureau. Governor Hochul noted that the Pharmacy Benefits Bureau is the first of its kind in the country. The Pharmacy Benefits Bureau will be tasked with implementing and overseeing new licensing and reporting requirements impacting Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) in New York. This blog post provides an analysis of the intended purpose of the Pharmacy Benefits Bureau and an overview of the new PBM guidance from the Department of Financial Services.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
On May 4, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first time issued warning letters related to products containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC).  FDA has previously sent warning letters to other companies illegally selling unapproved and misbranded cannabidiol, or CBD, products that claimed to treat illness in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), as we have discussed in prior posts (one example here).  In a separate recent slew of CBD-related actions, it issued warning letters jointly with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to seven companies for selling CBD products with claims that they will treat or prevent COVID-19. This blog post will define delta-8 THC and analyze the FDA's warning letters. 
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
Continuing our series discussing the CY 2023 Medicare Advantage and Part D Final Rule (Final Rule), this post focuses on the D-SNP related provisions under the Final Rule.  As we discussed, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed significant modifications to its regulations governing Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs).  CMS finalized the majority of its proposals with limited modifications.  This blog summarizes some of the key D-SNP provisions, focusing on the modifications from the proposed rule and CMS’ commentary that provides insight into CMS’ priorities and focus areas.  Please refer to our prior post on D-SNPs for a more in-depth overview of the proposals.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
As the COVID-19 public health emergency drags into its third year, we continue to keep track of efforts by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat fraud in the form of fake cures, counterfeit diagnostic tests, and other products claiming to prevent, treat, or detect infection by SARS-CoV-2 that are marketed without required FDA authorization. Our previous posts provided updates on joint and separate efforts by FDA and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) throughout the pandemic to detect and eliminate these illegal products. In this post, we focus on FDA’s recent enforcement activities concerning COVID-19 diagnostic tests and the agency’s increasingly aggressive pursuit of entities offering counterfeit or unauthorized tests.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
On April 27, 2022, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services issued Advisory Opinion No. 22-08 (AO 22-08), which addresses an existing arrangement of a federally qualified health center (FQHC) (hereafter, Requestor) that loans limited-use smartphones to enable existing patients’ access to Requestor’s telehealth platform (the Arrangement).  The Arrangement’s purpose is described as increasing access to telehealth services and combating isolation by allowing patients to talk and text with others, including during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
Last week, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued Advisory Opinion No. 22-09 (AO 22-09), which addresses a proposed arrangement pursuant to which the operator of a network of laboratories (the Requestor) would compensate hospitals for certain specimen collection services related to testing performed by Requestor (the Proposed Arrangement).  The OIG ultimately concluded that the Proposed Arrangement poses a risk of fraud of abuse under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). In this post, we will cover the OIG’s rationale for this decision, as well as some of the history of the OIG’s scrutiny of specimen collection arrangements.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Final Rule on Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs (Final Rule) late last week.  We summarized the major provisions of CY 2023 Proposed Rule in a blog series in January, noting that the proposals sought to increase consumer protections and reduce health disparities, with a strong emphasis on policies impacting individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. This is the first blog post in our series on the Final Rule in which we discuss policy changes to the maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) rules requiring that all cost-sharing, including cost sharing paid by secondary payors, be included in the calculations for MOOP.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
Last month, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) issued a report finding that Medicare Part D, and Medicare beneficiaries, could reduce spending with increased use of biosimilars. Specifically, OIG recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (1) encourage Part D plan sponsors to increase access to and use of biosimilars, and (2) monitor biosimilar formulary coverage to identify concerning trends. This blog unpacks the OIG’s report.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail

DOJ Announces Another Wide-Ranging COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Action

April 28, 2022 | Blog | By Samantha Kingsbury

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced another significant takedown that it described as “build[ing] on the success of the May 2021 COVID-19 Enforcement Action.”  As part of this enforcement effort, criminal charges were announced against 21 defendants across the country for their alleged involvement in various COVID-19 related fraud schemes that resulted in over $149 million in “COVID-19 related false billings to federal programs and theft from federally-funded pandemic assistance programs.” 
Read more
Privacy & Thumbnail Viewpoints Thumbnail
Ransomware is the “business pandemic.” Warnings have been issued by multiple agencies around the world to alert businesses to increase their protection and awareness. Most recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a warning to health care organizations related to what it calls “an exceptionally aggressive” ransomware group known as Hive.
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail

OIG Approves Physician-Owned Medical Device Company

April 28, 2022 | Blog | By Rachel Yount

On April 25, 2022, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a favorable Advisory Opinion regarding a medical device company (Company) in which physicians who order the Company’s products hold a majority ownership interest.  The Company manufactures medical device products that may be ordered by the physician owners and a physician spouse of one of the physician owners. This blog post analyses the Advisory Opinion and recommends risk-mitigation strategies for PODs and other health care entities with physician ownership, particularly entities where physician-owners are a considerable source of revenue. 
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
At the end of March 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance to drug manufacturers and states on reporting Medicaid Best Price under value based purchasing (VBP) arrangements (Medicaid Best Price Guidance or Guidance).  This Guidance follows CMS’ final rule issued on December 31, 2020 (Final Rule) responding to criticism that Medicaid Best Price requirements are hindering the use of VBP arrangements.  The Final Rule and Guidance will go into effect on July 1, 2022, allowing manufacturers to report multiple best prices for VBP arrangements so long as the manufacturer offers the VBP arrangement to state Medicaid programs. This blog post will begin with a “101” on the Medicaid Best Price Policy, and then delve into an overview of the Final Rule, including the surrounding criticism from stakeholders; summarize the Medicaid Best Price Guidance; and discuss the potential impact of this change on states and manufacturers
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail
On March 17, the same day we wrote about proposed legislation in Connecticut to cap drug price increases, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts included a similar proposal in his proposed budget.  Similar to the Connecticut legislation, the Massachusetts bill (S. 2774) would penalize manufacturers for increasing the price of any medication above its reference price, adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, plus 2%.  Manufacturers that exceed this threshold would have to pay a penalty equal to 80% of the amount above the excessive price increase threshold – meaning the manufacturer would essentially only collect 20% of the revenue for a drug above the price cap.  Like the Connecticut bill, the reference price is based on a drug’s Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC), which is essentially the list price set by manufacturers for a prescription drug before any negotiations or discounting. This article addresses the implications if S.2774 were to become law. 
Read more
Health Care Viewpoints Thumbnail

OIG Approves Manufacturer’s Offer of Free Genetic Testing

April 14, 2022 | Blog | By Karen Lovitch, Theresa Carnegie, Pat Ouellette

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) recently published an Advisory Opinion in which it concluded that the provision of free genetic testing and counseling services by a pharmaceutical manufacturer would not result in the imposition of sanctions under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the beneficiary inducements civil monetary penalty provision (Beneficiary Inducements CMP).  This Advisory Opinion is the first to address this type of arrangement and thus provides useful insight for the health care and life sciences industries.
Read more
Sign up to receive email updates from Mintz.
Subscribe Now

Explore Other Viewpoints: