Author: Alissa Smith

Alissa Smith

Alissa represents health systems, hospitals, pharmacies, long-term care providers, home health agencies and medical practices, as well as nonprofit and municipal organizations. Alissa’s transactional practice includes contracts, leases, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Alissa’s regulatory practice includes the interpretation and application of state and federal fraud and abuse laws, Medicare and Medicaid rules, tax-exemption laws, HIPAA and privacy laws, EMTALA laws, licensing matters, employment laws, governmental audits and open records and open meetings matters. She also assists with corporate and health system governance issues, including the revision and negotiation of medical staff bylaws.

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OIG Seeks Public Input on Anti-Kickback Statute and Beneficiary Inducements CMP as part of the “Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care”

Alissa Smith

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has identified the anti-kickback statute (AKS) and beneficiary inducements civil monetary penalty (CMP) as potential barriers to arrangements that could promote better patient care coordination and value-based arrangements.  On August 27, 2018, the OIG published a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input...

President Trump Gives Speech on Prescription Drug Prices and Releases Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs

Alissa Smith

On May 11, 2018, President Trump gave his long-awaited speech on his administration’s plan to lower prescription drug prices. In addition, the administration published its Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket costs. The blueprint can be found here.  The blueprint focuses on four areas for reform including strategies to: (1) improve competition; (2)...

Iowa Legislature Sends Bill Imposing Additional Requirements for Prescription Monitoring Program Reporting to Governor for Signature

Alissa Smith

  Last week, with bipartisan support, both the Iowa House and Senate passed, unanimously, HF 2377   (“An Act Relating to the Regulation of Certain Substances, Including the Regulation of the Practice of Pharmacy, Providing Penalties, and Including Effective Date Provisions”). The bill is expected to be signed into law by the Governor in the coming days....

FDA Chief and HHS Secretary Cite Prescription Drug Prices as Top Priorities for Agencies; President Trump Scheduled to Speak on Issue on May 11, 2018.

Alissa Smith

All eyes are on the federal government as top officials have recently signaled upcoming actions which could impact the prices of prescription drugs. In the past two weeks, leaders from both the FDA and HHS have made statements signaling that the agencies are focused on reducing prescription drug prices. In remarks at the Food and...

How HHS’s New Division in the Office for Civil Rights Will Enforce Rights of Conscience and Religious Freedom

Alissa Smith

    When the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”), it framed a problem and a solution. The press release stated that “fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom” are not being fully enforced on...

Applying Escobar’s Materiality Standard, Florida Federal Court Reverses $350 Million False Claims Act Verdict against a Nursing Home Operator

Alissa Smith

If the government does not take action and continues to pay for Medicare/Medicaid claims after it learns of non-compliance related to the claims, is the non-compliance material to the government’s decision to pay? This is a question being answered in the negative by courts across the country, who have concluded that the government (or a...

CMS To Expand Use of TPE Audits Nationwide by End of 2017

Alissa Smith

Perhaps lost amid the healthcare news coverage of competing proposals regarding “Medicare for All” and the repeal of Obamacare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) last month announced the expansion of its Targeted Probe and Educate (“TPE”) claims review program to the entire country by the end of the year. CMS’s announcement can...

OIG issues Advisory Opinion on a Retail Pharmacy’s Paid Membership Program Which Includes Federal Health Care Program Beneficiaries

Alissa Smith

On September 7, 2017, the OIG posted an advisory opinion regarding a retail pharmacy chain’s proposal to extend to federal health care program beneficiaries the option to participate in a paid membership program that includes discounts on certain prescriptions and clinical services offered by the retail chains’ pharmacies and in-store clinics.  Presently, the pharmacy chain’s...

Opioid Epidemic Declared a National Emergency; Proposed Law Calls for Mandatory E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances to Curb Drug Abuse

Alissa Smith

  Today, in a move that is widely supported by those in both political parties and across the country, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency.  Doing so will allow for additional resources to be used toward fighting the opioid crisis, which could include expanding treatment facilities and supplying first responders with the...

CMS’s 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule Would Slash Non-Excepted Provider-Based Department Payments

Alissa Smith

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule on July 13, 2017. The proposed rule, among other things, proposes to cut Medicare payments for services provided at non-excepted, off-campus provider-based departments from 50% to 25% of the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rate for the 2018...