Department of Consumer Affairs Waives Physician Assistant Supervision Requirements to Make More Providers Available for COVID Surge

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s March 30th Executive Order authorized the Department of Consumer Affairs to issue waivers of certain laws and regulations pertaining to healthcare licensees. On April 14th, the Department of Consumer Affairs issued Waiver Order 20-04, waiving certain key restrictions on physician assistants’ (“PAs’”) supervision.

The waiver order “only applies if” a PA moves to a hospital or practice setting “to assist with the COVID-19 response”; or, if no supervising physician is available to supervise the PA pursuant to a practice ...

Attorney General’s Office Issues Opinion on the Definition of “Effective Date” as Used in Business and Professions Code Section 805

At the request of the Medical Board of California, on April 17, 2020, the Office of the Attorney General issued California Opinion of the Attorney General No. 15-301 (“Opinion”), to formally address the meaning of the term “effective date” in Business and Professions Code section 805. 805 reports are the potentially career-changing reports filed with the Medical Board when corrective action is taken by a peer review body such as a hospital’s medical staff or a medical group to restrict or terminate a physician’s clinical privileges or employment for medical ...

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

On April 21, 2020, the United States Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (the Act). The House is expected to pass the Act and send it to the President on April 23, 2020. Broadly speaking, the Act amends the CARES Act to provide additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, hospitals and providers, and includes funding for coronavirus testing.

The Act provides an additional $75 billion on top of the $100 billion appropriated in the CARES Act for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund of the Department of Health and Human ...

CMS Expands the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program in Response to COVID-19

On March 28, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced that the agency would provide relief to Medicare providers and suppliers by expanding the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  According to CMS’ guidance, to qualify for accelerated or advance payments, the provider or supplier must:

  • Have billed Medicare for claims within the prior 180 days
  • Not be in bankruptcy
  • Not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation
  • Not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare ...
Yes! Even You May Be a Health Care Service Plan….

Well, not exactly. However, in an expansion of regulatory oversight, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) finalized a new rule last year broadening the scope of “person[s]” required to obtain a license under the Knox-Keene Act. The new rule, 28 CCR Section 1300.49, is likely the most significant policy development in California managed care oversight since the enactment of laws governing risk bearing organizations in the late 1990s. Absent legislative or further regulatory action, any entity accepting any amount of global risk in exchange for a prepaid or periodic ...

Posted in COVID-19
Understanding the Department of Managed Health Care’s Response to COVID-19

On March 5th, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued its first COVID-19 related All-Plan Letter (APL 20-006) regarding screening and testing. The DMHC directed all full service commercial and Medi-Cal health care service plans to immediately reduce cost-sharing to zero for all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19. Of note, the APL directed that health plans “ensure” provider networks are adequate to handle an increase in the need for healthcare services, including offering access to out of network services as COVID-19 cases increase. The ...

Posted in COVID-19
California Hospitals May Extend Two-Year Reappointment Period

Healthcare regulatory bodies have responded to the challenges of the coronavirus by relaxing standards with which hospitals must comply. Among them, the Joint Commission (“TJC”) and DNV GL, an international accredited registrar and classification society, have issued guidance for hospitals that addresses concerns regarding the timeliness of reappointments during the declared national emergency related to COVID-19.

According to a FAQ posted under TJC’s Emergency Management Standards, TJC will permit hospitals to grant an automatic extension of the two-year ...

Considerations for Conducting Remote Peer Review Committee Meetings

Many medical staffs are wondering whether they may conduct remote peer review committee meetings in the interest of supporting social distancing efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is certainly reasonable to do so, the medical staff must ensure that they have appropriate safeguards in place prior to conducting such meetings. Below we have provided the answer to some questions that may arise when deciding whether to conduct peer review meetings remotely.

Do the governing documents already allow for meetings to be conducted by telephone or video?

Medical staffs should ...

Providers Permitted to Use Video Chat Applications During COVID-19 Pandemic

Recognizing the need to empower healthcare providers to reach those most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights recently issued a notification announcing that it will not impose penalties for noncompliance with HIPAA Rules against those healthcare entities who utilize video and voice applications to provide telehealth services.

During this national emergency, covered healthcare providers can use any non-public facing application to communicate with patients, such as Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger ...

Posted in COVID-19, Healthcare
Supporting Businesses in the Wake of the COVID-19 Outbreak

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring guidance issued by local, state and federal authorities, as well as information distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. We are dedicated to helping clients address business disruptions, anticipate potential challenges and mitigate risk associated with irregular operations. We are available to assist in a number of core areas that may impact public agencies and businesses in this rapidly changing environment. Please visit our COVID-19 Response Team page ...

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Our Health Law Ticker is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in healthcare law.  We cover recent developments in healthcare legislation, healthcare reform, Medicare/Medicaid, managed care, litigation, regulatory compliance, HIPAA, privacy, peer review, medical staffs and general business operations for healthcare companies and licensed healthcare professionals.

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