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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Proposed Drug Rebate and PBM Service Fee Regulations Abandoned by Administration

Alissa Smith

As reported here in February, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two new significant proposed regulations that would have had a transformative effect on the drug discount and rebate arrangements that are commonplace between pharmaceutical manufacturers and Medicare Part D Plans and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (and...

The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018 (EKRA): A New Federal Kickback Law Applicable to All Payors

Alissa Smith

The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018 (EKRA) became law on October 24, 2018, and is codified at 18 U.S.C. § 220.  As part of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, EKRA was enacted in response to a concern that the federal Anti-Kickback Statute...

Court Invalidates Final Rule Requiring Advertisements to List Drug Prices Finding that CMS Exceeded Its Statutory Authority

Alissa Smith

In a much anticipated decision, a federal judge ruled this week that the Trump Administration’s rule requiring drug manufacturers to list drug prices in television advertisements exceeds the agency’s authority. Back in May 2018, the Trump administration spoke on drug pricing and published its “Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs”. One of...

At Long Last, CMS Issues Proposed Guidance on Hospital Co-Locations

Alissa Smith

For years, CMS has informally applied restrictions for hospitals which share space, equipment, staff or services in the same physical location (i.e., “co-locate”) with other hospitals or health care entities.  Although these sub-regulatory interpretations by CMS were not formal guidance, the penalties were so severe that many hospitals unwound the co-location or shared services arrangements...

CMS’s New “Primary Cares Initiative” Places Primary Care at the Center of the Shift to Value-Based Care

Alissa Smith

On April 22, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced two sweeping new payment innovation models under the Primary Cares Initiatives. The models will seek to incentivize primary care and other providers to take on greater responsibility and risk for the lives of covered beneficiaries. Both new models are scheduled to be...

Federal Government’s Charges against 60 Medical Personnel for Illegal Prescribing and Distributing of Opioids Demonstrates Continued Focus on Compliance throughout Supply-Chain

Alissa Smith

Today, the Federal Government announced enforcement actions against 60 defendants in eleven federal districts, including 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners, and seven other licensed medical professional for allegedly prescribing and distribution opioids and other dangerous narcotics and for health care fraud schemes. (DOJ Press Release, April 17, 2019). The charges involve over 350,000...

CMS “Actively Working” on Stark Law Reforms to be Issued Later this Year; “Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care” Continues

Alissa Smith

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is “actively working” on updates to regulations under the federal physician self-referral law (or “Stark Law”), according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma during a March 4, 2019 speech. Verma stated that the updated regulations will be issued later this year, and “will represent the most significant changes...

Drug Rebates Threatened Under Proposed Anti-kickback Rule

Alissa Smith

The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (“OIG”) released a proposed rule to eliminate safe harbor protection under the anti-kickback statute for drug price reductions that pharmaceutical manufacturers pay to Medicare and Medicaid plan sponsors and their pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”). The OIG proposed replacing the current safe harbor...

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)...