How North Carolina Law Is Changing for Behavioral Health Providers

Hospitals and other behavioral health services providers in North Carolina will face new regulations next year concerning the involuntary commitment and voluntary admission of patients undergoing mental health crises. In fact, the regulations affect not only providers but also impact law enforcement agencies and local governments that transport patients in crisis. Read More

What Home Health Agencies Need to Know as Federal Government Restarts Burdensome Pre-Claim Review, Offering ‘Choice’ of Punishment

Shortly after Memorial Day 2018, the federal government announced its plan to bring back a payment review project that puts significant administrative burdens on home health agencies. Originally called the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration for Home Health Services, the project has been rebranded as the Review Choice Demonstration for Home Health Services. The original project’s rollout in Illinois resulted in extensive issues, reported delays in access to care, and even some home health agencies going out of business.Read More

Appeals Court Win Gives Providers Another Way to Challenge Medicare Appeals Backlog

A federal appeals court issued a significant ruling last week in relation to the ongoing backlog of Medicare claims appeals. It potentially gives providers a new way to seek relief when Medicare comes to collect money that an administrative law judge has yet to rule is actually owed.

This is not a theoretical concern: Many providers have gone out of business because they could not afford to pay the government or have their money suspended while their appeal was tied up in the backlog. The backlog has become a critical issue for hospitals, physician practices, home health agencies, hospices, nursing homes, and other providers all across the country.Read More

North Carolina’s New Plan for Mental Health

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recently laid out a road map for improving behavioral health services in the state. The report to the state legislature was the result of numerous stakeholder meetings and six listening sessions across North Carolina. In fact, it goes beyond mental health: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) stresses the importance of breaking down silos to deliver “whole-person care.”Read More

Workplace Fatalities Decrease for Health Care Practitioners

Health care was among the occupations that saw the largest declines in fatal work injuries in the most recent year federal data is available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It recently released statistics on workplace fatalities in the U.S. for fiscal year 2016. They show that “health care practitioners and technical occupations” experienced the biggest decline: 19 percent. Read More

FMLA Requires Written Agreement With Exempt Employees for Intermittent Leave Calculation

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees are entitled to take intermittent leave to deal with a serious health condition. The intermittent leave can be in increments as small as one hour. The employer must maintain records as to the amount of intermittent leave taken and whether the employee has reached the 12-week FMLA entitlement. What happens, however, when the employer does not keep records of time worked by the employee? How many hours constitute an FMLA workweek for employees exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and timekeeping requirements?Read More

Oct. 3 Webinar on Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent: A Noncompete Law Update

With low unemployment rates in the Carolinas, many companies – including health care providers – are looking to their competitors to find qualified employees. This hiring strategy has led to a surge in litigation over employee noncompetition and related restrictive covenants. Over the past decade, North Carolina and South Carolina courts have dramatically changed their views on enforceable employment restrictions, meaning that many older agreements may no longer be enforceable.Read More

Employers Struggle With Overtime Classification of Skilled Service Technicians

Over the past several years, we have received multiple inquiries from employers confronted with claims that they have misclassified service technicians as exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including from health care organizations. In a typical situation, the technicians in question are highly skilled and experienced workers who travel to customer locations for purposes of installing and servicing sophisticated machinery and equipment. The service technicians may be paid salaries close to six figures, and the equivalent time and one-half hourly overtime rate would be extremely high, especially given the amount of working time spent traveling.Read More