Health care providers in Pennsylvania may soon provide patients and their families with apologies and explanations for injuries and unexpected outcomes occurring during medical treatment, without fear that this information may be used against them in a subsequent lawsuit. This may make health care providers more comfortable when having frank discussions with patients and their families, but the effect of this change is uncertain.
I’m pleased to be presenting at a seminar on Medical Records law together with my colleague, Phil Miles, on January 31, 2013 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The law and regulations governing use, disclosure, storage, and security of medical records has significantly evolved over the past two years. I will be presenting updates regarding the HIPAA and HITECH Acts. Phil will be addressing Employers, Employees, and Medical Record Requests.
The complete agenda and registration are available here. We hope you can join us.
On July 5, 2012 the Governor approved amendments to Pennsylvania’s Occupational Therapy Practice Act (“Act”). Notable changes to the Act include required professional liability insurance for occupational therapists, the ability of certified registered nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to refer patients for occupational therapy, and creation of an impaired professional program.
Spotted again in the wild is my recent article in the American Bar Association’s Litigation News. The article addresses flat fee arrangements. What at first blush may seem to be a simple alternative fee arrangement is actually more complicated and may vary from state-to-state and whether it is applied to a civil or criminal case.
In civil cases, flat or minimum fees paid in advance may be acceptable if the fee is in exchange for something done or to be done by the attorney. “A careful attorney would, in the engagement agreement, point out that all or a portion of a nonrefundable fee is deemed earned at the outset by virtue of the lawyer no longer being able to represent competitors of the client on other similar matters” says Hanthorn. He cautions, however, that states have differing views on minimum fee arrangements. “In some states, such as Texas, for a fee to be earned at the outset the full amount of that portion of the fee has to be attributable to representing one client and foregoing others.”
The United States Supreme Court, on June 28, 2012, issued its ruling on the pair of cases challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius will undoubtedly have historical implications on the federal government’s use of power under the Commerce and Taxing and Spending Clauses of the United States Constitution.
With regard to the ACA, the Court held the individual mandate a permissible use of the federal government’s taxing authority. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion, however, was found to exceed the federal government’s constitutional spending authority because it was unduly coercive on the states. Here we offer our breakdown and analysis of the Court’s opinion.
Think having to report settlements with Medicare beneficiaries was bad? Just wait for Rules coming that require consideration of Medicare’s interest in reimbursement of future medical expenses. CMS has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting comments on seven methods of ensuring protection of Medicare’s interest for current and prospective Medicare beneficiaries.
Without further adieu — and just in time for the Supreme Court to rule on its constitutionality — we have published our Affordable Care Act (ACA) Timeline. Many available timelines regarding key provisions of the ACA are either hard to understand, lack important implementation dates, or lack references to source materials.
These shortcomings led to the development of our own ACA Timeline, which is an evolving piece of work. We are continuing to update it with additional key provisions and citations.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has amended the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure to specifically provide for the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI). The Rule amendments are effective August 1, 2012.
With its amendments to the Pennsylvania Rules, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected the significantly more stringent standards developed in federal court. Although Pennsylvania will now specifically permit the discovery of ESI, the Rules Committee in its Explanatory Comment stated that this discovery — like all state court discovery — is subject to a proportionality standard.
Carolyn Moser of McQuaide Blasko’s Hershey office recently took part in the Tour de Chocolate Town bicycle event. Not only did the proceeds from the event benefit the Children’s Miracle Network at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, it also provided Ms. Moser the opportunity to mock her more sedentary colleagues’ lifestyles. Carolyn rode the 17.5 mile tour and vowed to tackle the 35 miler next year during the annual event.
Notwithstanding our feelings of physical inferiority, we are very proud of Carolyn and her support of the Children’s Miracle Network, which purchases state-of-art equipment and funds vital programs at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.
The past two years have seen important changes in expert discovery in Pennsylvania state and federal courts. Two notable developments are the 2011 Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital and the amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 that were effective on December 1, 2010. Read more