CMS Extends Eligible Professional Attestation Deadline for 2014 Medicare EHR Incentive Program

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the deadline for eligible professionals to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014 reporting year. The new deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET on March 20, 2015. Despite the extension, CMS urges eligible professionals to begin attesting for 2014 as soon as they can, and suggests that starting early and attesting during non-peak hours can speed up the process. Continue reading this entry

Do You Really Know Your China Telemedicine Partners? China Anti-Corruption Effort Focuses on Major Medical Institutions

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This post is the fourth in Foley’s blog series, “Realizing the Potential of Telemedicine in China,” meant to address top issues facing U.S. companies looking to enter the Chinese telemedicine market.

As U.S.-based health care providers look to China for new telemedicine opportunities, it is important to know your China partners before signing the contract. It is equally important take steps to ensure your own business development activities in China comply with both U.S. laws (such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or FCPA) and China regulations (such as the “Nine Prohibitions”).

In February, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China (NHFPC) released a “Work Plan on Inspection of Large Hospitals (2015-2017)” [大型医院巡查工作方案(2015-2017年度)]. Continue reading this entry

Roadmap to Prison: Lessons Learned from the Criminal Prosecution of Alpha Ambulance’s Leaders

CMS Releases Medicare Part B Supplier Billing and Payment Data

No one running an ambulance company ever planned to go to prison for doing his or her job. But that is a real possibility if the government knocks on the door, and the owner or manager is dishonest in his or her response to the inquiry. CMS contractors are increasing the number of audits they are performing of ambulance companies. Similarly, HHS-OIG and the Department of Justice are increasing the number of ambulance companies that they are investigating. How the owners and managers of ambulance companies react to these inquiries can have far-ranging consequences for those individuals and their companies. Take for instance the owners and managers of now defunct Alpha Ambulance (“Alpha”) from Los Angeles County. Faced with a CMS contractor audit and a lack of strong documentation for prior submissions, company personnel admitted in their plea agreements that they altered records and patient files in response to an audit, and at least one person provided materially false statements to federal agents during an interview. The result: convictions and lengthy prison sentences after being indicted for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, as well as conspiracy to obstruct an audit and making a materially false statement to a federal agent. There are proper, legitimate ways to address documentation problems when being audited. These defendants failed to understand the importance of being both honest and transparent with the CMS contractor auditors. They are personally paying the price for their errors with the pain and shame of having to spend years in federal prison. Continue reading this entry

China Unveils Plans for National Telemedicine Network

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This post is the third in Foley’s blog series, “Realizing the Potential of Telemedicine in China,” meant to address top issues facing U.S. companies looking to enter the Chinese telemedicine market.

We continue to work with more and more U.S.-based providers to create international telemedicine programs, and without question China remains the region of hottest interest. Hospitals and health systems, academic medical centers, physician enterprises and innovative entrepreneurs continue to look to China for new opportunities to expand their geographic footprint and offer expertise and meaningful integration into that market. Continue reading this entry

What Does President Obama's $215 Million "Precision Medicine Initiative" Mean for Genetic Privacy?

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We have all heard about the burgeoning opportunities tied to the development of precision medicine (also called “personalized medicine”), which includes the use of an individual’s genetic information to design targeted treatments. In fact, these opportunities are now receiving increased visibility due to President Obama’s recent push for a “Precision Medicine Initiative.” Privacy issues are of critical importance with respect to his administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative, as President Obama emphasized in his public remarks on January 30, 2015:  “we’re going to make sure that protecting patient privacy is built into our efforts from day one.” Continue reading this entry