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In This Issue

2013 Will Be a Slow Growth Year For Long Term Care in North Carolina – The NC State Health Coordinating Council (SHHC) recently released the draft 2013 State Medical Facilities Plan (SMFP), which identifies all health services “needed” in the state and for which providers can apply to obtain a Certificate of Need (CON), including skilled nursing facility (SNF) beds and adult care home (ACH) beds.

Fences – It’s a funny thing about fences. We build `em to keep things in and keep things out. We build them to separate us from our neighbors, to keep our kids from wandering too far and the neighbors’ kids from coming too close. We build `em to secure our manicured yards from the weeds next door or the street out front. We build them to divide.

NLRB Attacks Employment At-Will Disclaimers – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently challenged employment at-will disclaimers in employee handbooks. This is another example of the NLRB’s expansion of its enforcement efforts beyond the traditional unionized workplace setting.

Is The Deck Stacked In Nursing Facility Survey Appeals? – For several years now, you’ve heard me say how tough it is for providers to win appeals of survey deficiencies and related sanctions, such as civil money penalties. New data prepared by Healthcare Case Law, LLC, an online research database of all nursing facility survey appeals, proves the point.

Supreme Court Upholds Health Reform Coverage Mandate – In July, we all heard the big news. The 2010 health care reform law survived its encounter with the Supreme Court virtually intact. With the constitutionality of the individual coverage mandate now settled, employers should be taking a close look at what they still need to do to comply with the various health care reform requirements.

Heck No, I Won’t Go – My office phone rings and it’s one of my favorite clients. We just finished working on an appeal of a resident discharge and were expecting the Division of Medical Assistance hearing officer decision any day. I felt pretty good about it.

Increase in HIPAA Enforcement Activity Continues and Spreads – Recent activity by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) signals a significant and sustained uptick in HIPAA enforcement and associated penalties. First, the agency has pursued random audits, the results of which it intends to use to build an ongoing audit program and protocol. That protocol will support HHS’s efforts to comply with the HITECH Act, which made such audits mandatory.

Ken’s Quote of the Month
“Do not be a magician, be magic.” ~ Leonard Cohen

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