Posted by J. Nicole Martin
on March 21, 2018
Bergen County Superior Court Judge Robert Contillo issued a recent decision deemed favorable by Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. (“Horizon”) in a case involving three healthcare providers (“Providers”) that challenged Horizon’s newer tiered health coverage plan for hospitals: OMNIA. The Providers alleged that Horizon unfairly designated them as Tier 2 Providers, a tier in which OMNIA Members access providers while incurring higher out-of-pocket costs than they would when accessing those providers in Tier 1. Although certain other claims may proceed, Judge Contillo dismissed the breach of contract claim because he determined that Horizon did not breach the network hospital agreements by “failing to include [the Providers] in Tier 1” because “[t]he plain and unambiguous language [under the agreement] does not guarantee that [the Providers] be included in Horizon’s new products, networks or subnetworks.”
This decision illustrates that tiered designation disputes between hospitals and payors may hinge on the language of the applicable network hospital agreements. Hospitals and other providers are encouraged to review their existing contracts and address this issue in future contracts to determine the level of discretion payors may have in including them in tiered and limited network products. As insurers continue to develop new products designed to lower costs, this will continue to be an important consideration for most providers.
Posted by Rene Quashie
on March 20, 2018
Each year, REACH Health publishes an industry benchmark survey that provides great insight into what telemedicine industry leaders are thinking. Its most recently published survey is no different. The 2018 survey was conducted among healthcare executives, physicians, and other professionals during December 2017 and January 2018. Survey participants spanned the industry with almost half representing health systems and hospitals. Here are some takeaways from the survey:
- 70 percent of respondents view telemedicine as a top or high priority.
- About half are taking an enterprise approach to telemedicine, a significant increase from last year’s survey.
- A majority of organizations plan to increase or maintain investments in telemedicine.
- Improving patient outcomes and providing access to rural patients were the two top objectives for telemedicine programs cited by respondents.
- 60 percent view the designation of a full-time dedicated program manager as a key to success of a telemedicine program.
- Improved patient satisfaction was the most cited contributor to ROI, consistent with the past few surveys.
- Facility settings that require more specialized treatment tended to have more mature telemedicine programs. Related to that, certain specialties such as stroke, behavioral health, radiology, and neurology, have more mature telemedicine programs.
- Integrated audio/video for live engagement was the technology feature considered the most valuable to an organization with over 90 percent of respondents agreeing.
Posted by J. Nicole Martin
on March 16, 2018
PA Medical Marijuana Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) published the much anticipated final version of the temporary regulations under the Medical Marijuana Act applicable to Clinical Registrants and Academic Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) in Pennsylvania (“Temporary Regulations”). The Clinical Registrant/ACRC relationship was first developed in Pennsylvania with a specific focus on research. A Clinical Registrant is a unique category of Medical Marijuana Organization under Pennsylvania law that is granted a permit to act as both a grower/processor and dispensary. An ACRC is “an accredited medical school” in Pennsylvania that “operates or partners with an acute care hospital licensed and operating” in Pennsylvania. The Temporary Regulations require Clinical Registrants and ACRCs to enter into Research Contracts together and provide some broad guidance about the content of those written agreements. Additionally, the Temporary Regulations address certification of ACRCs, capital requirements, approvals for clinical registrants, and the process for Clinical Registrant applicants who wish to convert their already issued grower/processor or dispensary permits to Clinical Registrant permits.
For more information about the Temporary Regulations or the Medical Marijuana Act, contact Chris Raphaely, J. Nicole Martin or another member of Cozen O’Connor’s Cannabis Industry Team.