On behalf of the Legislative Committee of the Health Law Section Council, we are providing the following information to alert Health Law Section members regarding several recently filed bills at the North Carolina General Assembly that may affect your clients or your practice. Find the text and status of the bills at the links provided:
- House Bill 88 and Senate Bill 73, each filed on Feb. 14, make substantial changes to the Nursing Practice Act.
- House Bill 62, filed Feb. 8 and currently in the Committee on Health, creates certain communication requirements by health care professionals to their patients during drug-induced abortions.
- House Bill 36, currently in the Committee on Health, affects the practice of optometry.
- House Bill 57, currently in the Committee on Health, affects the interstate practice of physical therapy.
- Senate Bill 42, currently in the Committee on Health Care, directs the Medical Care Commission to repeal certain hospital facility construction rules, and adopt the American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Hospital and Outpatient Facilities.
By Marcus C. Hewitt
and Natalma “Tami” McKnew
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, the healthcare industry is coping with the uncertainty of a new administration, especially in light of the President’s repeated pledges to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA” or “Obamacare”). A repeal could affect every corner of healthcare in the United States, and those implications will become clearer in the coming months. This article anticipates what form a repeal might take, and some implications for ACOs and Medicaid providers in particular.
Partial vs. Full Repeal
Regardless of campaign rhetoric, a sudden, outright repeal of PPACA is unlikely. Without a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, a full repeal bill could be blocked by filibuster.1 Moreover, simply repealing the law midway through the 2017 coverage period without a transition period or provision for a delayed effective date would create chaos and potentially strip millions of ACA plan members of coverage overnight, while reviving insurers’ ability to decline to insure those with pre-existing conditions or other risk factors. It would also potentially deny Medicaid coverage to millions in states where Medicaid was expanded since 2014. In fact, President Trump said in his first post-election interview that, while he prioritized moving quickly on Obamacare, he would consider leaving some parts of the law intact and that he liked certain provisions of the law.2
By Terri Harris, Susan Fradenburg and Katye Jobe
On October 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a final rule reforming participation requirements for Skilled Nursing Facilities (“SNFs”). The rule will be implemented in three phases. Phase 1 requirements should have been implemented by November 28, 2016, Phase 2 requirements must be implemented by November 28, 2017, and Phase 3 requirements must be implemented by November 28, 2019. The final rule marks the first comprehensive update to the requirements for SNFs in 25 years. The rule contains completely new sections in addition to amendments to existing regulations, and we have highlighted selected changes in this article.
Notably, the rule includes a new pre-dispute ban on arbitration agreements between SNFs and their residents (or their representatives). However, this ban was challenged by the American Health Care Association and others in a lawsuit filed on October 17, 2016. As a result, the section of the final rule prohibiting pre-dispute arbitration agreements was stayed and did not take effect on November 28, 2016, as originally planned. As of the date of this writing, the litigation challenging this part of the rule remains ongoing. SNFs must still respond appropriately to the numerous other significant additions and changes contained in the rule that were implemented under the Phase 1 deadline of November 28, 2016.
By Kim Licata
Happy holidays! This time of year gives us time to look back over the past months and forward to what’s ahead. With this in mind, like my counterpart at the N.C. Society of Health Care Attorneys, President Jessica Lewis, I have the unique opportunity to welcome you to the new electronic-only Prognosis format. The hard work of our Newsletter Committee and the editors from the society has led to the successful launch of our new blog format.
At last year’s annual meeting in April, the section welcomed new council members Andrew Walsh, general counsel for Partners Behavioral Health; Scott Templeton of Robinson Lawing; Sarah Crotts of Wall Babcock LLP; Ian Stauffer of Poyner Spruill, and Marc Hewitt of Smith Moore. We welcome back our council members from prior years as well. In addition to myself, our section officers are Jennifer Hutchens of Robinson Bradshaw as our vice chair, Kimberly Kirk of Moore Van Allen as our secretary, and Tina Simpson of Burgeon Legal Group as our treasurer. Our Section Council and Committee members have been active so far this year in planning and I am looking forward to seeing all the great things we can do together this term.
By Jessica M. Lewis
Happy holidays to my fellow members of the NC Society of Health Care Attorneys, and welcome to the new electronic-only Prognosis format. Congratulations to the Editors and the NCBA Health Law Section Newsletter Committee for successfully bringing the new format to fruition. It is certain to improve access to more timely content and thus continue to serve as a valued resource for many members of the Section and Society.
The Society wrapped up its 2015-16 year with an engaging Annual Meeting and CLE, full of both timely topics delivered by field experts and excellent networking opportunities afforded by the exceptional membership, sponsors, presenters, and attendees. The Society welcomed to the Board Hilary Bowman as a Director, Robb Leandro as Secretary-Treasurer, and Elizabeth Runyon as President-Elect. The Education Committee, now chaired by Elizabeth, has already begun to plan next year’s annual program, which will again be hosted at the ever popular Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill on October 6, 2017. Please mark your calendars now!