Health Law

Meet the Co-chairs - TAGLAW

Burkett, Teresa Meinders
Conner & Winters, LLP

Health Law

On June 25, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis approved House Bill 843. On the surface, the legislation addresses a variety of valid healthcare concerns. However, tucked within the bill is a provision whereby the Florida Legislature amended Florida law governing restrictive covenants by invalidating certain restrictive covenants with licensed physicians. Pursuant to the legislation, an entity that employs all of the physicians who practice a certain medical specialty in one county will not be able to restrict its physicians from practicing that specialty in the same county. If the entity entered into such a restrictive covenant with its physicians, the restrictive covenant will be void and unenforceable.

Read more: Certain Physician Non-Competes Are Now Void and Unenforceable in Florida

Authors: Ryan T. Siehr, Stacy C. Gerber Ward, Madeline C. Schmid & Daniel J. Balk III

von Briesen continues to monitor the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (the "OIG") Work Plan to provide insight into emerging legal trends in health care. Health organizations are advised to use the Work Plan to identify the OIG's areas of interest and enforcement priorities, and to review and update policies and procedures accordingly.

This Legal Update summarizes some of the significant OIG Work Plan updates released for March, April and May 2019.

Read more: OIG Work Plan Monthly Updates (March-May 2019)

On May 28th, Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled 7-0, that cannabis extracts are protected under Arizona’s 2010 law legalizing medical marijuana in the state. 

The Court’s unanimous ruling came as a relief to the State’s 198,000 qualified patients and 5,600 dispensary workers.  Extracts include many of the most popular methods of administering cannabis such as vape cartridges and edibles.  These products are made from resin that is extracted from the plant. 

Even though the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) of 2010 made it clear that the law permits "the dried flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof,” some card-carrying patients were still prosecuted for having extracts.  The problem stemmed from an existing definition of hashish in Arizona’s constitution that left enough ambiguity for an aggressive prosecutor to incarcerate qualified patients.

The Court’s May 28th ruling clearly established that the voter’s intent in 2010 was to include extracts in the AMMA.

Read the entire article.

Authors: Stacy C. Gerber Ward & Aaron M. Smith

Final rules to enforce the "Conscience Laws" were published on May 21, 2019, by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS"). The so-called Conscience Laws are a series of previously enacted laws that allow health care workers to opt out of participating in certain health care activities that violate the worker's conscience or religious beliefs such as abortion, sterilization, and assisted suicide.1 The rules implement new enforcement mechanisms and provide greater specificity concerning what health care organizations need to do to ensure its workforce receives the protections afforded by the Conscience Laws.

Read more: New "Conscience" Rules for Health Care Providers

Authors: David J. Edquist, Stacy C. Gerber Ward & Daniel J. Balk III

Healthcare fraud convictions are news. When the convicted parties are physicians, investors and staff of a physician-owned surgical hospital who now face up to sixty-five years in a federal penitentiary, that is big news. And when some of those convictions were based, in part, on a relatively obscure federal law that appears to expand the reach of federal prosecutors to include commercial and private-pay business that many assumed would fall outside of federal jurisdiction, that really has the industry buzzing.

Read more: Forest Park Medical Center and the Travel Act: Different Road, Same Destination