On January 13, 2022, the United State Supreme Court upheld the Department of Health and Humans Services (“HHS”) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff working at Medicare-participating health care facilities. HHS/CMS had issued an interim final rule on November 5, 2021, that incorporated a vaccine mandate into the health and safety regulations (e.g., conditions and requirements of participation) that apply to 15 types of facilities and agencies that participate in Medicare. The interim rule required these facilities and agencies to adopt policies and procedures mandating COVID-19 vaccination for all staff, except in cases of religious or medical exemption or delay, by stated deadlines.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Upholds the CMS COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published an interim final rule with comment period addressing COVID vaccine education, administration, and reporting requirements for nursing homes. Designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the rule updates the existing infection control requirements that nursing homes must meet to participate in the Medicare program, found at 42 C.F.R § 483.80. The effective date for the new rule is May 21, 2021, and Michigan’s state survey and certification staff have advised that they will begin enforcement of the new rule on June 14, 2021.

Continue Reading New COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Nursing Homes

In support of Lucido’s investigation, Republicans in both houses of Michigan’s legislature have introduced bills to provide funds for county prosecutors for further investigation. Specifically,  Senate Bill 27, which the Senate already passed on a party line vote, appropriates $1.25 million for grants of up to $250,000 to prosecutors.  House Bill 4589, which was introduced on March 25, 2021, appropriates $5 million to the “Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council” for similar purposes. While it is unlikely either bill will become law, as they would require Governor Whitmer’s approval, Lucido’s efforts could have significant ramifications for the industry and, given the current political environment, are likely to spur “copy-cat” initiatives by prosecutors around the state and perhaps the nation.

Continue Reading Long Term Care Facilities Should Prepare for County Investigations Into COVID Deaths

On July 13, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-150 to rescind a previous order (Executive Order 2020-61) that had permitted certain health care professionals to temporarily practice beyond the scope of their license. Governor Whitmer cited Michigan’s progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and the reduced pressure on hospitals as reasons for rescinding the prior expansion of scope.
Continue Reading Michigan Reinstitutes Pre-COVID Scope of Practice, Licensure, and Liability Standards

Nursing homes have been on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as they care for the persons most at risk. In an effort to improve safety and curb the spread of COVID-19, federal and state authorities are relaxing certain compliance obligations. Despite this regulatory latitude, nursing facilities should remain aware that federal and state agencies continue to closely monitor nursing home compliance.
Continue Reading Nursing Home Compliance Under the COVID-19 Microscope

On March 29, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-30  (“E.O. 2020-30”) temporarily lifting certain licensure and scope of practice restrictions for health care professionals practicing at health care facilities in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  E.O. 2020-30 contains the following provisions, which are effective immediately through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Continue Reading Michigan Governor’s Executive Order 2020-30 Expands Health Care Professionals’ Scope of Practice and Lifts Certain Licensure Restrictions

The federal government continues to develop responses to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and now turns toward combatting COVID-19 related fraud. Attorney General Barr issued a memo on March 16, 2020 calling on all U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) attorneys to prioritize the detection, investigation, and prosecution of wrongdoing related to COVID-19. Following Attorney General Barr’s instruction, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois appointed a federal prosecutor to lead the district’s crackdown of scammers attempting to leverage the pandemic for fraudulent purposes. U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country are expected to follow this path to coordinate with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to lead fraud investigations and enforcement.
Continue Reading Fighting Fraud in the Wake of COVID-19

Since March 10, 2020, when the first two positive cases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) were confirmed in Michigan and Governor Whitmer declared a State of Emergency, the Governor has issued 15 executive orders in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. Governor Whitmer has now issued Executive Order No. 2020-17, placing a temporary restriction on certain medical and dental procedures throughout Michigan.
Continue Reading Michigan Executive Order Restricts Non-Essential Medical and Dental Procedures to Combat COVID-19

Administrative and clinical staff in nursing facilities around the country are under tremendous stress trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilities are getting barraged from all sides with information from experts and questions from residents and their families. In this period of uncertainty, do not overlook an important ally and resource right in your backyard—your local health department. The medical director at your health department is the epidemiology expert in your community, and is an invaluable resource for how pubic health issues are best addressed in your specific community, with your specific population.
Continue Reading A Critical Resource: Get to Know Your Local Health Department