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U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Broaden the Definition of “Whistleblower”

Posted on February 27, 2018, Employment Law

On February 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion unanimously holding that an employee did not qualify as a whistleblower under federal rules because he did not report any violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prior to the termination of his employment. The plaintiff in the case, Paul […]

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Physician-Owned Hospital Agrees to Pay $7.5 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Posted on February 26, 2018, Health Care

A physician-owned hospital in Dallas, Texas recently reached an agreement with the federal government to pay $7.5 million to settle allegations that it paid kickbacks to physicians in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and False Claims Act (FCA). The government’s allegations centered on claims that Pine Creek Medical Center provided free marketing services […]

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Spending Bill Increases Penalties for Healthcare Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Posted on February 26, 2018, Health Care

On February 9, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. While this law received a lot of attention for avoiding a lengthy government shutdown and extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the law also affects healthcare providers by drastically increasing potential penalties for acts of fraud, waste, and abuse […]

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DOL Adopts New Test For Unpaid Internships

Posted on January 29, 2018, Employment Law

On January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it was adopting a new test for determining whether an intern qualified as an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Such a determination affects how employers may offer and utilize unpaid internships, and the DOL’s policy change loosens the rigid requirements […]

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Summary of OCR’s 2017 HIPAA Enforcement Activities

Posted on January 29, 2018, Health Care

In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) continued its HIPAA enforcement efforts, resulting in over $19,393,000 in settlements and civil monetary penalties. OCR investigations focused on various issues, including impermissible disclosures, data breaches, inadequate protection of protected health information (“PHI”) on electronic devices such as laptops and tablets, […]

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HHS-OIG Issues Favorable Advisory Opinion on Nursing Home Discounts for Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries Who Have Private Insurance

Posted on December 27, 2017, Medicare and Medicaid

On December 8, 2017, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) issued Advisory Opinion 17-08, in which it concluded that certain arrangements for nursing home discounts do not violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) or Civil Monetary Penalties Law (“CMPL”). The advisory opinion analyzed a proposed arrangement […]

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Federal Court Denies Plaintiff’s Attempt to Name CEO as Defendant In FCA Retaliation Suit

Posted on December 27, 2017, False Claims Act

On December 6, 2017, U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. (Southern District of New York) held that a False Claims Act (FCA) whistleblower could not name his boss as an individual defendant in a suit alleging unlawful retaliation. The plaintiff, Gerard Diffley, was the chief operating and compliance officer at Bostwick Laboratories. He obtained […]

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Government Agencies Allege That the 60-Day Rule Applies to All Federal Healthcare Programs

Posted on November 28, 2017, Health Care

On October 13, 2017, W. Stephen Muldrow, the Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced that First Coast Cardiovascular Institute (FCCI) agreed to pay $448,821.58 to settle allegations that it knowingly delayed repayment of over $175,000 in alleged overpayments owed to federal healthcare programs in violation of the 60-Day Rule and […]

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Federal Court Assesses Damages Against Pennsylvania Health Clinic for Committing Sexual Orientation-Based Discrimination

Posted on November 28, 2017, Employment Law

On November 16, 2017, U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon, of the Western District of Pennsylvania, issued an order finding that a Pennsylvania Health Clinic is liable for $55,000 in back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages to a former employee who alleged that the clinic discriminated against him on the basis of his sexual orientation. […]

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Eleventh Circuit Holds That Medical Practice Did Not Discriminate Against Former Employee Because of Her Pregnancy

Posted on October 26, 2017, Employment Law

On October 18, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion upholding a lower court’s grant of summary judgment to a medical practice in Florida that had been sued by a former employee who claimed she was discriminated against based on her pregnancy. In July 2014, plaintiff Kirby Mohammed, a licensed practical nurse, […]

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