It is no secret that the healthcare system bore the brunt of the challenge, chaos and cost of the coronavirus pandemic. GCWest was proud to be called upon to interpret and assess the multitude of legal issues raised during this historic time. We supported our clients as they experienced overnight shifts in how they did business, including:
- implementing telehealth
- converting corporate offices to virtual environments
- responding to a continuous stream of new standards and regulations
- establishing COVID testing sites and vaccination protocols
- responding to increased cyberattacks triggered by the virtual environment
- managing out-of-state physician licensing
- interpreting and drafting agreements in the face of future unanticipated events
These tumultuous times highlighted the importance of our Client Service Commandments and our goal through those: To provide clarity, simplicity and certainty to our clients in our communications, work product, and processes.
Though it feels like we have weathered the worst of the storm, there doesn’t seem to be an end to the impact of the pandemic. It appears that many regulators put their quarantine to work by drafting and finalizing new laws. The following regulatory changes and proposals are on our radar:
- CMS Expansion of Non-Physician Practitioners Supervision Rule (Effective May 2020): Makes permanent, certain temporary flexibilities allowed during the pandemic.
- Value-Based Safe Harbors and Exceptions (Effective November 2020): Offers protection under new AKS safe harbors and Stark exceptions to allow for coordinated care and risk-sharing value-based arrangements.
- Interoperability Rules/Cures Act (Effective April 2021): Prohibits information blocking (any interference with sharing of electronic health information), unless an exception applies.
- HIPAA Privacy Rule Proposed Rule (Comment Period ended May 2021, pending Final Rule – issuance): Updates anticipated to reflect increased patient access to health information and removal of barriers to care coordination.
- Federal No Surprises Act (Enacted December 2020, Effective January 2022): Prohibits “balance billing” and excessive cost-sharing for health care items/ services provided by Out-of-Network providers and facilities.
As the dust settles, and we all adjust to operating in the “new normal,” GCWest remains steadfast in our commitment to provide clarity, simplicity and certainty as we continue to navigate an evolving healthcare system. We are here to help you respond to this ever-changing landscape and to plan for 2022 in a way that recognizes the path traveled and the road ahead.