Recently, in United States ex rel. Hart v. McKesson Corp., the Second Circuit clarified the standard for acting “willfully” under the federal anti-kickback statute (AKS).

False Claims Act relator Adam Hart alleged that the defendant violated the AKS by providing business management tools to its customers, without charge, to induce those customers to purchase drugs from them.  The tools helped providers to maximize profits and mitigate the risk that reimbursement rates would fall below the cost of the drugs to them.  One tool, the Margin Analyzer, compared profit margins for drugs considered to be interchangeable, and the second, the Regimen Profiler, provided margin information for an entire course of treatment as opposed to specific drugs.  The unlawful kickback, according to relator, was that the defendant did not offer these tools on a stand-alone basis, but only offered them to providers who agreed to use the defendant as their primary wholesaler of branded and generic drugs.  The defendant allegedly provided the tools as a kickback to induce drug sales. 

The Second Circuit first addressed the proper understanding of “willfulness” under the AKS.  The Court held that, in order to violate the federal AKS, a defendant must act knowing that the conduct is in some way unlawful but does not have to know specifically that the conduct violates the AKS.  The Court stated that this interpretation accords with the general goal of criminal law to punish only those who act with a “vicious will.”  Notably, in 2010, Congress amended the AKS to provide that a violation does not require actual knowledge of the AKS or a specific intent to violate the AKS.  Also, particularly with respect to the analysis of applications of AKS safe harbors to conduct, this interpretation also avoids unfairly sweeping innocent conduct under the reach of the criminal statute.Continue Reading Second Circuit Defines “Willfulness” Standard Under Anti-Kickback Statute

The Supreme Court will hear argument next week in two consolidated cases that will decide what standard applies when a doctor asserts a good faith defense to a criminal prosecution for unlawful drug distribution.  The argument on Tuesday, March 1, will address the convictions of two doctors accused of running “pill mills” and seeking to profit in the midst of

Continue Reading Supreme Court To Hear Argument Addressing Doctors’ Good Faith Defense To Pill Mill Prosecutions

SDNY Judge Jed Rakoff rejected Northwell Health’s bid for insurance coverage for its increased costs and business losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic in a recent decision.  As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, Northwell was inundated with new patients, had increased cleaning costs, and stopped offering outpatient care services and elective procedures.  In the ruling, Judge Rakoff held that Northwell
Continue Reading Northwell Loses Bid For COVID-19 Insurance Coverage

Last week, in Washington v. Barr, the Second Circuit addressed a case seeking to strike down the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The Court held that plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies before the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Rather than dismissing the case, however, the Court
Continue Reading Second Circuit Holds Case Challenging Marijuana Classification As Schedule I Drug In Abeyance Pending Agency Exhaustion

Home health care aides working twenty-four hour shifts can be paid for as little as thirteen hours under certain conditions, according to a March ruling from the New York Court of Appeals in Andryeyeva v. New York Health Care, Inc. The Court of Appeals remanded, however, for lower courts to consider whether employers were adhering to the sleep and
Continue Reading Home Health Care Aides Working Twenty-Four Hour Shifts Can Be Paid For Thirteen Hours If Employer Meets Sleep and Meal Time Requirements

EDNY Judge Nina Gershon analyzed several False Claims Act issues in United States ex rel. Omni Healthcare Inc. v. McKesson Corp., ruling on first-to-file, Rule 9(b), and statute of limitations issues.

Relator Omni Healthcare alleged that defendants improperly used “overfill” in vials of injectable drugs. “Overfill” is the amount of a drug in excess of the amount indicated on
Continue Reading EDNY False Claims Act Overfill Decision Highlights Importance of Timely Naming All Defendants

In federal criminal investigations, corporate health care providers have faced a Department of Justice increasingly focused on individuals, one that has limited or foreclosed cooperation credit for corporations not providing complete information on all individual involvement. At a conference in late November, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein outlined a modification of these stringent guidelines, to some extent for criminal prosecutions
Continue Reading Need For Discretion In Civil DOJ Cases Drives Rosenstein To Modify Yates Memorandum Individual Accountability Policy

As recounted in our recent analysis of the 2018-19 New York State Budget (“Enacted Budget”), the Enacted Budget included new restrictions on fiscal intermediaries participating in the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (“CDPAP”) designed to prevent the dissemination of “false or misleading” advertisements.  Effective April 1, 2018, the newly enacted § 365-f(4-c) of the New York Social Services Law
Continue Reading Newly Enacted Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program Advertisement Regulation Challenged in Federal Court

Last week, in LeadingAge New York, Inc. v. Shah, the New York Court of Appeals addressed Department of Health regulations limiting executive compensation and administrative expenditures by healthcare providers receiving state funds. The Court upheld limits related to state funding, but struck down a limit that applied regardless of the source of funding.

In 2012, Governor Cuomo directed agencies
Continue Reading NY Court of Appeals Strikes Down DOH Limits On Use Of Private Funds For Executive Compensation And Upholds Limits On Use Of Public Funds

            New York State does not require hospitals to insure medical malpractice claims, either through the purchase of commercial medical malpractice insurance or the establishment of an adequately funded self-insurance program.  New York has never required such insurance.  There are many hospitals which did not insure medical malpractice claims in the past, and a number that currently do not.

            Historically

Continue Reading Should New York State Require Hospitals To Insure Medical Malpractice Claims?