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Chair's Column By J.A. (Tony) Patterson, Jr., Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P., Dallas, TX
Like many, if not all, of you, I have been deeply affected and troubled by the national furor over the Terri Schiavo situation. I have had very mixed emotions as the various constituencies have come forward to weigh in on the tragedy. Religious, moral, ethical and legal/constitutional forces converge in a frightening array. This could be called the “perfect storm” of the right to die—or live—dilemma.
SEC`S "Titan Report" Raises The Stakes For Disclosure Of Government Investigations by William W. Horton, Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, LLC, Birmingham, AL
The healthcare industry is, and likely will continue to be, characterized by the pervasive presence of government investigations. Many of these investigations are commenced, and continue for months and even years, under the seal of the False Claims Act, so that the specifics of the alleged objectionable conduct may remain somewhat murky even to the organization being investigated. This in turn leads to legal conundrums for publicly traded healthcare companies seeking to fulfill their duties of disclosure under the federal securities laws. A recent pronouncement by the SEC has introduced a new wrinkle into the already complex disclosure analysis that arises for issuers under government investigation.
Purchaser Or Provider? A Review Of A Current Compliance Issue For Physicians by Jennifer A. McDaniel, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
Healthcare suppliers and their attorneys must have at least a general understanding of the legal restrictions governing physician self-referrals and billing rules. Armed with this knowledge, physician clients and other healthcare suppliers don't often propose business structures that conflict with the federal restriction on physician self-referrals, i.e., the Stark Law, and similar state restrictions. Physicians continue, however, to look for alternative business structures that provide an opportunity to increase revenue. For example, an increasingly common strategy is to seek to capture reimbursement for the technical component of diagnostic tests. Private healthcare services companies and equipment leasing companies interested in securing expanded revenue streams are actively exploring opportunities to partner with physicians and other healthcare suppliers by creating arrangements that are intended to allow physicians to capture a portion of this technical service revenue. In our experience, physicians have been increasingly approached to “lease scans,” or enter into “time-share” arrangements with diagnostic facilities as a way to boost their revenue.
Overview of Charity Care Requirements Imposed Upon Nonprofit Hospitals by David M. Flynn, Duane Morris L.L.P., Philadelphia, PA
Nonprofit, tax-exempt hospitals have been faced for many years with questions regarding to need to provide appropriate levels of “charity care” to the communities they serve. The requirements derive from several sources, and the parameters establishing legal minimums are neither clearly-defined nor uniform. The financial accounting rules for classification of services to be treated as “charity care” may be somewhat easier to articulate (if not to apply), but they may not accurately mirror the various legal requirements.
The Transactional & Business Healthcare Interest Group focuses on the law and its application to the broad scope of transactions and business operations of those involved in the healthcare industry. The Interest Group provides opportunities for its members to participate in educational activities, review and comment on legislative and regulatory developments and network with each other. Particular areas of focus of the Interest Group include mergers, acquisitions and affiliations, integrated health systems, technology (electronic and bio-medical), contractual and joint venture business relationships and federal and state regulatory compliance. The Interest Group and its interest area specific sub-groups coordinate their activities with other Section Interest Groups to follow the interrelationship of developments affecting healthcare transactions and businesses in areas such as securities law, antitrust law, tax law, intellectual property law and accounting.
The Transactional and Business Healthcare Interest Group of the Health Law Section has created a new Physician Issues Subinterest Group . This Subinterest Group will focus on issues relating to joint ventures, Stark Law and fraud and abuse, practice management arrangements, medical staff issues, medical malpractice insurance issues, credentialing issues, HIPAA, and other issues relevant to attorneys who represent physicians. All Health Law Section members are invited to participate.
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The opinions expressed are those of the authors and shall not be construed to represent the policies or positions of the ABA or the ABA Health Law Section.