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COVID-19 Viewpoints

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As we previously reported, President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion dollar stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This historic legislative package provides much needed relief to millions of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and essential resources to address the ongoing public health emergency. Among other things, the ARPA allocates funds to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for COVID-19 testing, contract tracing, vaccines, supplies, and other related treatment. To alleviate the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on America’s public health care system, it includes funding for rural health providers, community health centers, and skilled nursing facilities, and makes important modifications to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This post summarizes the Medicaid provisions contained in the ARPA and their proposed changes to the Medicaid program.
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FCC to Award Additional $249+ Million in Funding for COVID-19 Telehealth Program

April 6, 2021 | Blog | By Angela Kung, Rachel Irving Pitts

On March 29, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted an Order establishing rules and procedures for Round 2 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program (the “Program”) to continue supporting telehealth services, which have proved to be so vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a News Release accompanying the Order, FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel highlighted that “[t]his past year has proven, without a doubt, that telehealth technology is critical to helping address inequities in access to health care services” and that Round 2 of this program will help address these challenges “head on.”
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Travel Alert – Update on U.S. Travel Bans

April 1, 2021 | Alert | By Maryanne Kline, Danielle Porter

This alert advises caution regarding international travel and covers the CDC’s January 26, 2021 order on COVID-19 testing, current travel bans and their exemptions and waivers, visa processing, and additional notes on entry into the US.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail

ALERT: New COVID-19 Vaccine Paid Leave for New York Employees

March 16, 2021 | Blog | By Corbin Carter, Brie Kluytenaar

As we enter the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York employers must now grapple with another new paid leave requirement from New York State.  A new law signed by Governor Cuomo on March 12, 2021 amends New York’s Labor Law and entitles employees up to four hours of paid leave per COVID-19 vaccine injection.  The law is effective immediately, and the law’s leave entitlement is set to expire on December 31, 2022. We note key provisions of the new law below.
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Conference Recordings: Mintz's Annual Employment Law Summit

March 12, 2021 | Webinar | By Michael Arnold, David Barmak, Jessica Catlow, Micha Mitch Danzig, Geri Haight, Andrew Matzkin, David Lagasse, O'Kelly E. McWilliams, III, Jennifer Rubin, Tyrone Thomas, Alexander Hecht, Danielle Bereznay, Jennifer Budoff, Delaney Busch, Corbin Carter, Emma Follansbee, Natalie C. Groot, Paul Huston, Brie Kluytenaar, Brendan Lowd, Audrey Nguyen, Nicole Rivers, Richard Block

Mintz’s Annual Employment Law Summit brought together thought leaders to discuss the most pressing issues employers are facing in today’s unprecedented work environment. Attendees heard presentations on the continued impact of COVID-19; social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; recent and anticipated changes to employment laws; and best practices for managing sensitive employee situations.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
On February 26, 2021, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued Notice 2021-01 (the “Notice”). The Notice was issued jointly with the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services (the “Departments”). Entitled “Guidance on Continuation of Relief for Employee Benefit Plans and Plan Participants and Beneficiaries Due to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Outbreak,” the Notice provides much needed guidance to group health plan sponsors on (among other things) when COBRA notice and election periods, which had been previously extended [in May 2020], will come to an end. This guidance was necessary because earlier regulatory relief extending COBRA notice and election periods was about to expire as a result of a statutory deadline. This post explains the impact of the Notice on sponsors of group health plans.
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Navigating Voluntary COVID-19 Vaccination Programs & Incentives

February 19, 2021 | Blog | By Corbin Carter, Alden Bianchi

As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, employment-based programs requiring or incentivizing employee vaccination will become more commonplace. In a previous post, we covered recent employer guidance from the CDC, with a particular focus on mandatory workplace testing programs. This post examines how an employer might design a voluntary workplace vaccination program using incentives to encourage participation, and how to avoid potential pitfalls in doing so.
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Health Care Enforcement Year in Review & 2021 Outlook

February 18, 2021 | | By Eoin Beirne, Brian Dunphy, Karen Lovitch, Kevin McGinty, Samantha Kingsbury, Keshav Ahuja, Grady Campion, Jane Haviland, Caitie Hill, Rebecca Zeidel

Despite the threat of COVID-19 paralyzing much of the country in 2020, government health care fraud enforcement continued even though the Department of Justice (DOJ) had the added burden of pursuing COVID-19 related fraud. Mintz’s Health Care Enforcement Defense team has reviewed the key policy issues, statistics, settlements, and court decisions from 2020, and in this report we reflect on those developments and also predict the trends in health care enforcement in 2021 and beyond.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail

CDC Issues Expanded Guidance for Workplace COVID-19 Testing Programs

February 5, 2021 | Blog | By Danielle Bereznay, Michael Arnold

The CDC has issued new guidance focused on ensuring employees’ informed consent for COVID-19 testing in the workplace. This builds on earlier guidance the CDC issued regarding workplace testing programs last fall. Because the CDC notes that employers should not conduct testing without an employee’s informed consent, employers should be prepared to answer employee questions and concerns by utilizing the recommend framework discussed below.
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Bankruptcy & Restructuring Viewpoints Thumbnail
For bankruptcy litigators – or any business which has been frustrated to receive a demand letter after one of its customers filed bankruptcy – one particular amendment stands out in the CARES ACT bill. The Act amended Section 547 of the Bankruptcy Code to provide suppliers and landlords with an additional potential challenge to actions brought to “claw back” payments made by a debtor in the 90 days preceding bankruptcy.
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Recent Amendments to the FDA Laws Attempt to Clarify and Improve Existing Systems

January 28, 2021 | Blog | By Joanne Hawana, Elizabeth Conti

Although the Biden-Harris Administration that assumed control of the Executive Branch on January 20, 2021 immediately ordered a regulatory freeze of new or pending rules while the new administration gets its bearings (as reported by our colleagues in this post), several important changes to the laws enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were recently enacted by Congress. As legislative actions, those changes are of course unaffected by President Biden’s regulatory freeze and so we thought worth a summary to ensure our readers are up to speed on the large amount of activity that occurred in the final weeks of the 116th Congress and the Trump Administration.
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Bankruptcy & Restructuring Viewpoints Thumbnail
The CARES Act benefits both debtors and creditors by temporarily modifying several sections of the Bankruptcy Code, which may be of particular interest to creditors.
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Webinar Recording: Mandatory or Voluntary Workplace Vaccination – Guidance for Employers

January 15, 2021 | Webinar | By Geri Haight, Joanne Hawana, Jennifer Rubin

Watch this webinar in which Mintz’s Employment, Labor & Benefits and Health Law attorneys and noted immunologist Dr. Darryl Carter discussed key takeaways from the EEOC’s recently updated vaccination guidance and other COVID-19–related workplace questions.
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Year in Review: The Most Popular IP Posts of 2020

January 14, 2021 | Blog | By Christina Sperry

As 2021 begins and intellectual property (IP) strategies are being developed for the new year, it is a good time to reflect on what IP issues were prominent in 2020.  According to many readers, hot topics included Chinese foreign filing licenses, patenting involving either artificial intelligence (AI) or COVID-19, inter partes review, and attorney fee awards.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail
Recently enacted H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“the Act”), is a massive, 5,593-page piece of legislation that includes appropriations for the U.S. government for the upcoming fiscal year and funding for coronavirus emergency response and relief, among many other things.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail

WEBINAR REMINDER: Mandatory or Voluntary Workplace Vaccination — Guidance for Employers

January 13, 2021 | Blog | By Geri Haight, Jennifer Rubin, Joanne Hawana

Please join Mintz’s Employment, Labor & Benefits and Health Law attorneys and noted immunologist Dr. Darryl Carter for a webinar to discuss key takeaways from the EEOC’s recently updated vaccination guidance and other COVID-19–related workplace question.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law – January 2021 Update for Employers

January 8, 2021 | Blog | By Natalie C. Groot, Patricia Moran, Emma Follansbee

Happy New Year! While many of us are thrilled to see 2020 in the rear view, 2021 ushers in a huge challenge for Massachusetts employers – the beginning of benefits and Job protections under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave law (MAPFML).
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Looking Ahead: FDA in 2021

January 8, 2021 | Blog

Politics will have an effect on FDA policies in 2021, including with respect to the ongoing COVID-19 response, manufacturing, compliance, digital health, laboratories, user fees, device servicing, and more.
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Health Law Diagnosed — Bioethical Considerations in a Pandemic

January 7, 2021 | Podcast | By Nili Yolin, Bridgette Keller

Mounting anxiety over how to control the spread of infectious disease outbreaks encourages public and political discourse of bioethics.
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HIPAA 2021 – What Can We Expect?

December 28, 2020 | Blog | By Dianne Bourque, Ellen Janos

As we’re all painfully aware, public health issues dominated 2020 and with the country’s attention focused on COVID-19 testing, status, transmission and care, HIPAA went mainstream. Health information became critical not only for health care providers, but for all manner of businesses, employers, property owners, and the national media. HIPAA – or more often than not “HIPPA” – was frequently touted in the news and on social media as the reason why COVID-related information could or could not be shared. As we head into 2021 with the pandemic raging on, the vaccination program underway, and a new administration taking over, here is a look at what we expect for “HIPPA” in 2021.
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