As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare fraud enforcement remains a top priority for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and other government agencies with enforcement authority. In this Westlaw Today article, McDermott Partners Laura McLane, Tony Maida and Dana M. McSherry describe some of the areas that have assumed particularly high enforcement priority, including private equity, telehealth and pandemic relief funds.
According to this Politico article, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has had difficulty enforcing its own COVID-19-related hospital rules. The agency often lacks the necessary resources to make sure its regulations are followed. McDermott Partner Sandra M. DiVarco said small changes—like allowing patients to wear highly protective N95 face masks—that CMS publicizes are “not always very coordinated.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working became a necessity. Despite the easing lockdowns, the trend is likely to stay, particularly with “workstations” being actively promoted by the travel industry; however, there are considerable tax consequences for international employers. In this International News article, McDermott’s Gero Burwitz and Isabella Denninger discuss the complexity of this new working order and how international businesses can navigate it.
OSHA Announces Plan to ‘Expand Its Presence’ in Certain Healthcare Facilities Treating COVID-19 Patients
Between March 9, 2022, and June 9, 2022, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will “expand its presence” in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that treat COVID-19 patients and that were previously cited or issued Hazard Alert Letters for alleged COVID-19 violations. OSHA’s stated purpose is to “target high-hazard healthcare facilities” to “verify and assess . . . compliance actions taken” by employers to rectify prior allegations related to COVID-19 safety violations. The initiative is focusing on employers’ “readiness to address any ongoing or future COVID-19 surges.”
On April 21, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board approved the Third Readoption of the state’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Per Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-23-21, the Third Readoption will remain in effect for no longer than December 31, 2022. The Third Readoption makes some additional material changes and clarifications, including acceptable return-to-work criteria, elimination of certain cleaning and social distancing requirements, and creation of a “returned case” category of workers recovered from COVID-19. Employers in California should update their COVID-19 ETS policies to ensure continued compliance with Cal/OSHA’s changes in the Third Readoption.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities of hybrid work arrangements? In this Lexology GTDT Market Intelligence article, McDermott Partner Carole Spink offers insight about tracking remote work, navigating local rules, and protecting confidential and propriety information.
Law firms and other members of the corporate world are seeking to find the right balance between in-person and remote work. According to this American Lawyer article, McDermott Chairman Ira Coleman noted the “cultural expectation” of in-person work at his firm.
“One of the big challenges for us is trying to navigate how we think about mentorship and apprenticeship when so much of the work we’re doing now is actually being done virtually,” Coleman said.
On February 28, 2022, the White House issued a fact sheet outlining several efforts aimed to increase safety, accountability, oversight and transparency in the senior services industry (Fact Sheet). Although the Fact Sheet’s initiatives have not yet been implemented, President Biden reiterated his administration’s focus on nursing home reform during his March 1, 2022, State of the Union address. Accordingly, the efforts described in the Fact Sheet provide stakeholders with a peek into the regulatory crystal ball of the governmental efforts that may be forthcoming, either through new laws, regulatory action, policy changes, enforcement activities or subregulatory guidance.
On March 22, 2022, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a limited reopening of the rulemaking record for the COVID-19 emergency temporary standard for the healthcare industry, originally published on June 21, 2021 (the Healthcare ETS). OSHA will hold an informal public hearing to gather additional information from healthcare industry stakeholders. With the announcement, OSHA reaffirmed its plans to publish a permanent COVID-19 safety standard (i.e., regulation) for the healthcare industry later this year.