Anti-Kickback, False Claims, & Stark
Federal and state agencies continue to scrutinize health care providers, particularly with respect to certain referral, compensation, and ownership arrangements and other relationship issues. Additionally, government agencies have sustained an unprecedented level of enforcement directed at the submission of false claims and other fraudulent conduct related to every aspect of the health care delivery system.
Stites & Harbison health care lawyers advise clients on federal and state fraud and abuse, anti-kickback, anti-referral, Stark, and related requirements. Our extensive focus and experience in this area allows our attorneys to effectively monitor ongoing changes in this very fluid situation. It also helps us develop creative approaches to achieve our clients’ goals while maintaining compliance with these complex laws.
Health care is an industry in which antitrust continues to have significant influence. Our lawyers have dealt with health care antitrust issues relating to exclusive contracts with physicians, professional associations and other providers; medical staff membership; volume purchase arrangements and Robinson-Patman Act analysis; Certificate of Need activities; joint ventures and other arrangements between hospitals and physicians; hospital mergers and affiliations, including Hart-Scott-Rodino analysis; physician mergers and affiliations; and managed care contracting arrangements.
Certificate of Need
Our health care lawyers have successfully handled the full range of legal and practical issues relating to state Certificate of Need (CON) laws for hospitals, long term care providers, ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis centers, and other providers. These issues include:
- Answering threshold questions (such as expenditure minimums, covered health services definitions and whether a proposed project is submitted by or on behalf of a health care facility covered under the law)
- Permit application and exemption request preparation and processing
- Proceedings before the applicable state planning boards
- Obtaining advisory opinions and rulings
- Cost overrun determinations
- Compliance/administrative appeals and judicial review proceedings
We also work with architects, contractors, and consultants to develop creative ways to meet our clients’ needs in the CON process.
Clinical Research & Clinical Trials
We understand the unique and complex challenges and protocols of clinical research and clinical trials. Our health care lawyers represent academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, universities and other institutions, as well as principle investigators. We counsel clients on the numerous standard agreements associated with clinical research (master service agreements, confidential disclosure agreements, material transfer agreements, federal and private contracts, grants, clinical and research service agreements, etc.), scientific integrity, scientific misconduct, privacy, human subjects protections and FDA reporting.
Our clients also include biotechnology, life sciences, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies.
Corporate Compliance Programs
Our combination of experience in health care and regulatory matters enables Stites & Harbison health lawyers to develop and review corporate compliance programs for all types and sizes of health care providers and related companies. As part of this process, we have provided clients with tailored documents, policies and procedures for their particular businesses, and appropriate training for their personnel. We also work closely with many of our clients to implement compliance programs, assisting their educational activities and investigating potential compliance program violations. In this regard, we have advised clients on a full array of compliance-related issues. Additionally, we have provided on-site counsel during government and private party investigations and audits, and assisted with the return of overpayments.
HIPAA Privacy & Security
Stites & Harbison's Health Care Service Group regularly counsels clients on federal and state laws related to patient privacy, specifically the privacy and security rules promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"). Our attorneys provide a range of HIPAA compliance policy and procedural counseling to our clients, including HIPAA privacy documents (Authorizations, Notices of Privacy Practices and Business Associate Agreements); implementation checklists and audits; and HIPAA educational seminars.
Medical Staff (Governance, Bylaws, and Peer Review)
Our firm's health care lawyers have represented hospitals and medical staffs in the preparation and/or amendment of medical staff bylaws and association policy manuals. We have substantial experience in representing hospitals and physicians in matters relating to credentialing and peer review hearings and appeals.
We have represented professional associations, hospitals, and medical staffs in all aspects of peer review. As a result, we have a comprehensive view of the legal and practical problems that can arise. We have also represented physicians and hospitals in litigation involving various challenges to the peer review process, and we educate medical staffs on peer review confidentiality and litigation avoidance issues.
Medicare/Medicaid Reimbursement & Audits
- Reimbursement : Stites & Harbison’s health care lawyers advise clients on a broad spectrum of third-party reimbursement issues, including Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, relationships with private payors, and arrangements with managed care programs. We have also represented a number of providers in connection with denials of coverage under both insured and self-insured employer-sponsored health benefit plans..
- Medicare/Medicaid Reimbursement and Appeals: We counsel health care clients on a wide range of issues related to the Medicare and Medicaid payment programs. This counsel includes extensive work on ways to lawfully maximize reimbursement in various situations (such as joint ventures and corporate restructuring) and administrative reviews of judicial appeals. Stites & Harbison health lawyers have dealt with certification, conditions of participation, coverage, reassignment, and other government reimbursement issues for all types of government certified providers. Additionally, we have provided on-site counsel during government and private party investigations and audits, and assisted with the return of overpayments.
Policy and Procedure Development
Institutional health providers rely on their policies and procedures in caring for patients and operating their facilities. Our Health Care Service Group lawyers are experienced in counseling on a wide variety of policy and procedural matters including state licensure and accreditation compliance questions..
Provider Licensure & Accreditation
Our Health Care Service Group attorneys have represented numerous health care providers in handling various regulatory compliance matters including facility licensure and accreditation.
Medicare and Medicaid billing mistakes can result in fraud investigations with serious, long-lasting consequences. Providers may be required to pay back up to three times the amount they were paid for improperly billed services. In addition, if the government finds that the improper billing was intentional, providers can face criminal charges, the loss of professional licenses, and exclusion from participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently begun to send warning letters to hospitals that are not in compliance with the recently effective price transparency rule. This warning comes on the heels of CMS’s audits of a sample of hospitals in January.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The American Bar Association (ABA) Health Law Section has ranked Stites & Harbison, PLLC in 6th place in its Eighth Annual Regional Law Firm Recognition List for the South region for 2020.