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Congress Votes to Legalize Low-THC Cannabis (Hemp)

Congress Votes to Legalize Low-THC Cannabis (Hemp)

On December 12, 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill (The “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018” or the “Bill”), which includes provisions that exempt Cannabis plants with lower than 0.3% THC content (also called “Hemp”) from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Once signed into law, the Farm Bill effectively legalizes the production, commercialization, and interstate shipment and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products like cannabidiol or “CBD”. Each state (including Indian Tribes and U.S. Territories) will eventually be able to regulate hemp production like any other agricultural commodity, as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves its plan to monitor and regulate the plant’s production.

MSSP Proposed Rule may mean major changes for Medicare ACOs

MSSP Proposed Rule may mean major changes for Medicare ACOs

CMS recently released a Proposed Rule suggesting significant changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program, aimed at accelerating the path for providers participating in a Medicare ACO to take on risk for the cost and care of their patient populations. The following is a summary of key changes proposed to the MSSP.

Can Nurse Practitioners Run Their Own Practices in Virginia?

Can Nurse Practitioners Run Their Own Practices in Virginia?

In April 2018, Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 793, which will allow Virginia nurse practitioners (NPs) with the equivalent of five years of full-time practice with a collaborating physician to be certified to practice independently.  What does this mean for NPs in Virginia? Practically speaking, if a nurse practitioner meets the qualifications and makes the appropriate filings with the Board of Nursing, he or she can open up an independent practice to provide care in their community. This change aligns Virginia law with more than twenty other states across the country in adopting full practice authority and is expected to expand access to affordable primary care to thousands of Virginians. 

What do I need to know about GDPR?

What do I need to know about GDPR?

Beginning on May 25, 2018, HIPAA won’t be the only healthcare data security standard with which U.S. companies have to comply. Medical practices, digital healthcare companies, and vendors (e.g., electronic health records companies, medical billing companies, and cloud services companies) that do business in the healthcare sector and collect data from European citizens will be required to comply with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”). A recent Reuters article called the implementation of these regulations “the biggest overhaul of online privacy since the birth of the internet.”

The 21st Century Cures Act and the Future of Healthcare

The 21st Century Cures Act and the Future of Healthcare

The Cures Act is aimed at modernizing and personalizing healthcare by encouraging innovation and streamlining the process for discovery, development, and delivery of new treatments and technologies to those suffering from illness. Importantly, the legislation provides for significant funding to advance these goals, to the tune of $4.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health ("NIH"), $500 million to the Food & Drug Administration ("FDA"), and $1 billion in grants to states for opioid abuse prevention and treatment. This article will provide an overview of key components of the Cures Act and highlight implications for the future of healthcare.

New Rule for Substance Abuse Records: Confidentiality and Disclosures

New Rule for Substance Abuse Records: Confidentiality and Disclosures

On January 2, 2018, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) issued a Final Rule, amending 42 C.F.R Part 2 (“Part 2”), creating new changes to the federal rules governing confidentiality and disclosures of patient substance use disorder (“SUD”) records for the first time since 1987. Part 2 protects the confidentiality of SUD records, which are subset of protected health information (PHI). This means that these records are subject to HIPAA, but are also protected by Part 2, which contains additional (and more stringent) federal protections. These overlapping standards can make the storage and disclosure of patient records administratively burdensome for healthcare providers, patients and their families. It is also a challenge for technology companies that store, analyze, and transmit patient records on behalf of providers and patients.