Oral argument scheduled in hospital-physician “unfair trade” case

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By Tara Muller

Heads up, North Carolina hospitals and doctors! On Wednesday, September 30, the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Hamlet v. Hernandez. The Court’s decision may have a significant impact on the way physicians work and negotiate with hospitals in North Carolina, and could have ripple effects extending to employment practices in other industries.

Background

A hospital system hired Dr. Pedro Hernandez as an independent contractor and gave him hospital privileges. The contract had a 36-month term and provided that Dr. Hernandez could choose to become an employee of the hospital 18 months into the contract term.

When his private practice failed, Dr. Hernandez tried to exercise his option to be hired as an employee. The hospital did not send him a new contract of employment but apparently believed that his original agreement encompassed the “employment” option. However, Dr. Hernandez began looking for work elsewhere and shut down his practice more than a year before the end of his contract period with the hospital.

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Still Time To Register: 2019 Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE

By Iain Stauffer

It is not too late to register for the Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE program, “Navigating Healthcare Challenges for 2019:  Alternative Payment Models and Behavioral Health Issues,” which will take place at the NC Bar Center in Cary on Friday, March 8.  The CLE will provide 6 total CLE credits, including 1.00 substance abuse/mental health.  If you are not able to make it to the NC Bar Center in person on Friday, you can register for the webcast.

Registration information can be accessed here. For more information about the CLE and agenda, please refer to the online brochure.

One Hour Of Substance Abuse and Mental Health CLE Credit: 2019 Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE

By Iain Stauffer

The Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE program, “Navigating Healthcare Challenges for 2019:  Alternative Payment Models and Behavioral Health Issues” takes place at the NC Bar Center in Cary pn Friday, March 8.  The first afternoon session of this CLE program will cover “Treating Behavioral Health Issues and Substance Use Disorders: The Intersection of Federal and State Laws, Law Enforcement and the Involuntary Commitment Process.”  This session will center around the current status of 45 CFR Part 2, the intersection of mental health and substance use disorders, and the challenges faced by hospital counsel related to both, including involuntary commitment.  One hour of substance abuse/mental health CLE credit is available for this session.

Registration is now open and can be accessed here. For more information about the CLE and agenda, please refer to the online brochure.

Stay tuned for information on the exciting final afternoon session.  See you there in March.

Here’s the Alternative: 2019 Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE

The Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE program, “Navigating Healthcare Challenges for 2019:  Alternative Payment Models and Behavioral Health Issues” takes place at the NC Bar Center in Cary on Friday, March 8, 2019.  The entire morning session of this CLE program will cover Alternative Payment Models.  This session will include a discussion of alternative payment models and related tax, insurance, and antitrust issues, as well as the legal issues created by, among other things, paying providers not to take care of patients.

Registration is now open and can be accessed here. For more information about the CLE and agenda, please refer to the online brochure.

Stay tuned for information on more exciting sessions.  See you there in March.

Health Law Networking Social in Raleigh with Highlights from Hamlet HMA v. Hernandez

By Iain Stauffer

The October 2018 decision in Hamlet HMA, LLC v. Hernandez by the NC Court of Appeals broke from decades of case law and held that business disputes between hospitals and physicians can be the basis for claims of unfair and deceptive acts and practices under NCGS Chapter 75. The possibility of Chapter 75 claims multiplies the financial exposure of healthcare providers (and their litigation opponents) in a wide range of commercial and business disputes.

What does this mean for healthcare entities while Hamlet HMA is under review by the NC Supreme Court? How should providers evaluate business disputes and Chapter 75 claims as a weapon in litigation?  Please join us for the highlights and discussion of the Hamlet HMA case and implications for disputes between providers, along with a chance to network and catch up with colleagues in the healthcare bar.

When and Where:  5-7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7 at Level 7 Rooftop Bar at AC Hotel, 101 Park at North Hills St., Raleigh

RSVP online by Wednesday, Feb. 6

Speakers: Troy Shelton and Marc Hewitt, Fox Rothschild, LLP

Marc Hewitt is a healthcare litigator and former healthcare practice area leader for the former Smith Moore Leatherwood firm (now Fox Rothschild). Troy Shelton is an appellate litigator in Fox Rothschild’s Raleigh office.

Food and Drink: Appetizers, beer and wine provided by the Health Law Section

2019 Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE

By Iain Stauffer

The Health Law Section Annual Meeting and CLE returns to the NC Bar Center in Cary (and via webcast) on Friday, March 8, 2019.  It is never too early to think about CLE credits for 2019, and March is only one month away so please plan to join the Health Law Section for its CLE program – Navigating Healthcare Challenges for 2019:  Alternative Payment Models and Behavioral Health Issues.  The CLE will provide 6.00 total CLE credits, including 1.00 substance abuse/mental health.  More exciting information to follow regarding the topics, presentations, and speakers.

Save the Date For Our Annual Meeting: March 8, 2019

The NCBA Health Law Section’s Annual Meeting and CLE Program has a new date and time for 2019. Please plan to join us at the Bar Center in Cary on March 8, 2019.  We received great feedback about the extra networking opportunities at our 2018 program, so we are adding a networking breakfast to the 2019 program to give us all more time to catch up with our colleagues from across the state. If you have suggestions for program topics or speakers (or want to volunteer as a speaker), please contact Sarah Crotts at scrotts@wallbabcock.com.

White House ‘Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices’: Large Aspirations, Little Detail

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By Stephanie Trunk and Erin Atkins

This article first appeared on the Arent Fox LLP Health Care Counsel blog. 

Following delays and much build up, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released their plan to address rising pharmaceutical prices and out-of-pocket costs directly impacting patients.  The plan is known as the “American Patients First” program, as outlined in “The Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs” (the Blueprint).   As part of this, HHS has published a formal request for information (RFI) seeking public comment on the questions and issues raised in Section V of the Blueprint (summarized below).  Comments are due to HHS on or before July 16, 2018.  We encourage all interested stakeholders to utilize this opportunity to submit feedback to the agency.

One initial impression of the Blueprint is that many of the proposed solutions are not defined in great detail and will take time and agency (and in some cases Congressional) action in order to implement.  In addition, many of the solutions were previously articulated in President Trump’s 2019 budget, and do not reflect novel policy.  Additionally, many of the issues raised in the Blueprint are familiar to those actively engaged in or following the drug industry, but will require active engagement between HHS and the industry to refine and address.

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Overtime, Non-Competes & Employee Medical Records: Three Topics for Employers in the Healthcare Field

By  L. Diane Tindall, Daniel Palmieri and Jenna Borders

PAY AND OVERTIME ISSUES FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that mandates the payment of a federal minimum wage and overtime pay to workers who do not fall within a specific FLSA exemption.  The most common of these exemptions under the FLSA are the so-called “white collar” exemptions for employees whose pay and duties reflect their exercise of real managerial or executive authority in the workplace and their ability to better influence their compensation.  In general, in order to be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions under the white collar exemptions of the FLSA, an employee: (1) must be paid at least $455 per week (or $24,300 per year); must be paid on a “salary basis” (with some exceptions); and (3) must perform duties that are consistent with an executive, administrative or professional position (the “duties test”).  To be paid on a salary basis, an employee must receive the same pay each work week in which he or she performs any work (with a very few limited exceptions) without any deduction for the quantity or quality of work performed.

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2018 Health Law Section Annual Meeting and Joint CLE with the Litigation Section

Have you kept up with the General Assembly and proposed legislation that affects the health care industry? If not, no need to worry, we’ve done it for you!

Please join us this Friday, April 27, 2018, to hear Cody Hand provide his annual legislative update at the Health Law and Litigation Sections’ joint CLE program at the Greensboro Marriott Downtown, with presentations by N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, Attorney General Josh Stein and many other great speakers!

You’ll receive 6 total CLE credits, including 1.0 hour ethics/professional responsibility, and 1.0 hour substance abuse/mental health.  Click here to learn more and to register.