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Senate HELP Committee Signals Support for Permanently Expanding Telehealth Access

June 24, 2020 | Blog | By Cassandra Paolillo, Ellen Janos

Last week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (“Senate HELP”) held a hearing entitled “Telehealth: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic," during which the Committee members expressed support for permanently expanding access to telehealth services. In this blog post, we discuss the Committee's proposals and the additional steps needed to permanently expand access to telehealth.
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This alert outlines President Trump’s June 22, 2020 travel ban proclamation, which extends a temporary travel ban announced on April 22, 2020 that restricted certain individuals issued immigrant visas at U.S. consulates from entering the US.
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COVID-19 Relief Programs: Mitigating and Responding To Enforcement Risk

June 22, 2020 | Blog | By Brian Dunphy, Jane Haviland, Nicole Henry, Karen Lovitch

Since the early days of the pandemic, Mintz’s COVID-19 Compliance & Enforcement Defense Task Force has closely monitored and advised clients on the evolving COVID-19 relief programs, including those created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act provided for over $2 trillion in relief funds, which is the largest emergency assistance package in American history. The numerous CARES Act programs have continued to develop through, among other things, the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, and rapidly changing regulatory guidance and FAQs. As one example, the government recently wrestled with whether to make public the list of about 4.6 million entities that received more than $500 billion from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act. After initially refusing to disclose PPP loan recipients, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department decided to make public the names of entities that received loans larger than $150,000, as well as the dollar range of each loan.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail

Temperature Checks May Add Privacy Notice Obligations for California Businesses

June 17, 2020 | Blog | By Natalie Prescott, Jennifer Rubin, Cynthia Larose

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On Tuesday, June 16, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced they would again extend flexibility related to in-person Form I-9 compliance that was granted earlier this year, in March 2020.
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Late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance aimed at “making sure misconceptions about HIPAA do not get in the way of a promising COVID-19 response,” according to OCR Director Roger Severino. That “promising response” relates to emerging evidence that plasma from recovered patients (often referred to as “convalescent plasma”) may contain antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Those antibodies could be useful in treating individuals who are sick with COVID-19. The OCR’s guidance addresses how health care providers may contact, in a HIPAA-compliant manner, recovered COVID-19 patients to provide them with information about donating blood and plasma to potentially help other COVID-19 patients.
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On Monday, June 15, 2020, 14 Passport Agencies entered the first phase of a three-phase re-opening plan. Beginning in March, all Passport Agencies were closed to in-person appointments for urgent passport applications except in cases of documented life or death emergencies requiring international travel within 3 days.
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced its first criminal securities fraud prosecution related to COVID-19, and it involves health care fraud as well. Mark Schena, president of Arrayit Corporation, a publicly traded medical technology company, faces criminal charges in connection with false and fraudulent claims submitted for allergy and COVID-19 testing. The complaint charges Schena with one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. From 2018 to present, Arrayit, under Schena’s direction, allegedly submitted or caused the submission of over $5.9 million in Medicare claims and over $63 million in private insurance claims for allergy and COVID-19 tests that were not medically necessary, were not provided as claimed, or were tainted by the payment of kickbacks and bribes.
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In an interview yesterday, CMS administrator Seema Verma expressed support for permanently expanding access to telehealth services after the COVID-19 public health emergency resolves. Here, we explore the nature and duration of the temporary executive and regulatory orders, emergency legislation, and sub-regulatory guidance, which have resulted greater access to telehealth while leaving a fair amount of uncertainty as to what the future of telehealth looks like.
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Real Estate, Construction & Infrastructure Viewpoints Thumbnail

Phase 1 Construction Guidelines: Guidance for Real Estate Developers in New York City

June 10, 2020 | Blog | By Nadine Ebersole, Jeffrey Moerdler

On Monday New York City entered Phase 1 of re-opening. Phase 1 guidance provides specific guidelines relating to construction, manufacturing, whole trade and select retail (for curbside pickup only), agriculture, forestry and fishing. For purposes of this publication, we have focused on the State of New York’s mandatory summary guidelines for construction related activities. Many real estate developers will fall under the umbrella of “construction businesses” and we are providing an overview of the construction specific requirements established by the guidance issued by the New York State Department of Health.
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Real Estate, Construction & Infrastructure Viewpoints Thumbnail
In late May, guidance for Phase 2 of Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward re-opening plan was issued. New York City is expected to enter into Phase 1 on June 8th, and thereafter Phase 2, provided certain thresholds are satisfied.
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On May 26, 2020 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it is further extending its suspension of operations at all Trusted Traveler enrollment centers until at least July 6, 2020 to protect CBP officers and the general public from exposure to COVID-19.
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Energy & Sustainability Connections Newsletter – June 2020

June 4, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

The June issue of Energy & Sustainability Connections covers news about renewable energy development company East Light Partners, energy policy news from Washington, recent M&A activity & more.
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Immigration Viewpoint Thumbnail
On May 29, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of certain Chinese F-1 and J-1 foreign students and exchange visitors who have ties to Chinese institutions that support the People’s Republic of China military initiatives.
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FTC Comments on New Medicare Rule in Support of Expanded Telehealth Services

June 4, 2020 | Blog | By Evan Moore, Joseph Miller

On May 29th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) submitted a comment to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in support of reducing reimbursement requirements for telehealth services. CMS accepted public comments for its new Interim Final Rule published on April 6, 2020, 85 FR 19230, which changes the Medicare payment regulations to allow for more flexible Medicare service options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to supporting CMS’s new Interim Final Rule, FTC’s comment recommends permanent measures and further steps to take. The comment offers a valuable insight into the Commission’s stance on telemedicine in relation to health care competition.
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Employment, Labor, and Benefits Viewpoints Thumbnail

OSHA Updates COVID-19 Recordkeeping Guidance

June 3, 2020 | Blog | By David Barmak

On May 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") issued new interim guidance on recordkeeping for COVID-19 cases in the workplace.  Effective May 26, 2020, this guidance supersedes the April 10, 2020 guidance and supplements OSHA's March COVID-19 guidance on safeguarding the workplace against virus-related threats. We examine OSHA’s recommendations on both fronts in this post.
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Coronavirus Molecule

Executive Compensation: Moving Forward in a COVID-19 World

June 2, 2020 | Blog | By Alexander Song, Anne Bruno, Michael Arnold, Steve Gulotta, Andrew Bernstein, Alexandra Serre

Employers reacted in a variety of ways to cope with the unprecedented financial impact of COVID-19.  Employers must begin to shift their focus to whether their current executive compensation practices are designed with sufficient incentives to retain key employees and to spur recovery and sustained growth.  This post reviews the range of cost-cutting measures companies have enacted over the past few months, and provides guidance on executive compensation issues employers should consider as they move forward in a COVID-19 world.
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