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Health Care Enforcement Quarterly Roundup – Q1 2019

In this first installment of the Health Care Enforcement Quarterly Roundup for 2019, we continue to monitor trends we identified in 2018 and introduce new enforcement efforts that are expected to persist in the coming year. In this Roundup, we focus on increased enforcement activity against electronic health record (EHR) companies, enforcement against individuals (with an acute focus on the telemedicine industry), lower court interpretations of the landmark Escobar ruling, developments related to the Granston Memo and dismissal of False Claims Act (FCA) cases, potential changes to the FCA statute of limitations, and the current state of affairs in opioid litigations around the country. Click here to read the full issue of the Health Care Enforcement Quarterly Roundup. Click here to download a PDF of the issue.  

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Questions Remain for the EHR Industry as a Second EHR Vendor, Greenway Health, Settles False Claims Act Allegations

DOJ announced on February 6, 2019, the Settlement Agreement resolving allegations in DOJ’s Complaint that Greenway caused its customers to submit false Medicare and Medicaid claims for payments under the EHR Incentive Programs in violation of the FCA and that it paid illegal kickbacks to current customers to recommend Greenway products (that are used to generate incentive payments or avoid penalties under the EHR Incentive Programs) to new customers. Under the Settlement Agreement, Greenway agreed to pay approximately $57 million to resolve the allegations without admitting liability. Greenway also entered into a five-year CIA with strict compliance oversight, reporting obligations and costly obligations to provide the latest version of Greenway’s EHR software to each of Greenway’s current customers at no additional charge. This settlement comes nearly two years after eCW entered into a groundbreaking settlement with DOJ. At that time, we wondered whether it...

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Sixth Circuit Rejects FCA Claim Based on Health Data Breach

On March 7, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided United States ex rel. Sheldon v. Kettering Health Network, affirming a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit alleging violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) relating to an alleged data breach.  The relator alleged that violations of the HITECH Act caused the submission of false claims to the government. Under the HITECH Act of 2009, the federal government will pay health care providers money for making “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHR) technology.  Providers who receive payments under the HITECH Act must certify compliance with approximately two-dozen meaningful use objectives.  These objectives include compliance with various regulations promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which require, inter alia, including conducting security risk analyses, addressing the encryption/security of data stored in certified EHR...

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OIG Expands Audit Topics in Work Plan Update

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an update to its Work Plan on May 28 that included several new Medicare-related topics for OIG audit or inspection.  These additions expand OIG’s work in areas that OIG has previously identified as priorities, such as hospital-based services, lab testing and Part D payments.  These new topics included: Hospital outpatient intensity-modulated radiation therapy claims; Payments for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests, including the top 25 clinical diagnostic laboratory tests by Medicare expenditures in 2014. This report is required by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act; and Compliance with various aspects of the inpatient rehabilitation facility prospective payment system, including the documentation required 42 CFR § 412.622(a)(3) (4) and (5). Examining billing trends within the Part D program, especially those for opioid drugs and pharmacy billing patterns. OIG also...

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