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EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE: Employment Issues on the Horizon
 

LEGAL BRIEFINGS ARCHIVE

PPA and Construction Contracts

August 31st, 2017- It is all too common for construction projects to be plagued by payment disputes - which can lead to costly litigation. The Prompt Payment Act, passed by New York State in 2003, is meant to expedite payment for construction services. However, one aspect of the law deems certain provisions​ in construction contracts unenforceable.

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Sexual Orientation Discrimination

August 3rd, 2017- A potential landmark case (Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc.) is currently pending
before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiff is arguing that sexual orientation is
a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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Paid Family Leave Final Regulations

July 24, 2017- On July 19th, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board adopted Final Regulations for implementing the New York Paid Family Leave Act (PFL). For more information on what employees will be eligible for PFL and in what situations the Act applies, read our full Legal Briefing.

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New I-9 Forms 7-17-2017

July 17, 2017- On July 17, 2017, the United States Citizens and Immigration Services issued a revised Form I-9. Employers may continue to use the previous version (with revision date 11/14/16) through September 17, 2017. However, as of September 18, 2017, all employers must use the revised form (with revision date 07/17/17). For more information, read our full Legal Briefing. 

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2010 - present

Statute of Limitations for Medical, Dental, and Podiatric Malpractice

July 14, 2017- Two identical bills that would extend the statute of limitations applicable to medical malpractice claims have passed the New York State Senate and Assembly and will shortly be sent to Governor Cuomo to be signed into law, or vetoed. For more information on how the bills would affect statutes of limitations, read our full Legal Briefing. 

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2010 - present

Medical Device Reporting Requirements for Device User Facilities

June 19, 2017- Some facilities that operate medical devices have a duty to report serious injuries, illness, or deaths related to those devices. Facilities also must submit annual summaries of any such reports to the Food & Drug Administration. Therefore, it is important to have written medical device reporting procedures, as well as to create and maintain documentation relating to any such events. For a more in-depth review of reporting requirements, read our full Legal Briefing.

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Biennial Statements

June 9, 2017- Now that Tax Day is long passed, it is important to remind managers, members, officers and directors of Limited Liability Companies (“LLCs”) and corporations to file your biennial statements, if you have not already done so. While the filing of a biennial statement may seem inconsequential to some, the failure to abide by New York State’s rules and regulations could cause a number of issues for your business.

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New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law Amendments

May 17, 2017- The latest series of amendments to the New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law will become effective on May 27, 2017.

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Federally Qualified Health Center Penalized for HIPAA Violation

May 4, 2017- In a report issued by the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) on April 12, 2017, OCR made public its continuing intention to enforce the provisions of HIPAA, even against a Federally Qualified Health Center.

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Federal Court Expands Title VII Protections

April 7, 2017- On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled definitively for the first time that that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - setting the stage for a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017

April 6, 2017- In addition to holding confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary is also reviewing a bill that would make penalties for frivolous lawsuits mandatory.

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March Madness and Your Liquor License

March 24, 2017-  March Madness is upon us - but what effect do bracket contests have on a business's liquor license?

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Gambling and New York Law - Skill v Chance

March 17, 2017-  New York State has had a ban on gambling in some form since 1821. However, the line that divides games of chance and games of skill - a key factor in the definition of gambling - has been a point of contention. 

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HHS Discrimination Rule Blocked by Court

February 14, 2017-  On December 31, 2016, a U.S. District Court in Texas entered a preliminary injunction in the case of Franciscan Alliance Inc., et al. v. Burwell, et al., which was brought against the Federal government by three health care providers and eight states challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) final Rule implementing the antidiscrimination provisions in Section 1557 of the ACA.

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Charitable Remainder Trusts

February 9, 2017-  A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is a method of making a charitable donation referred to as a split-interest gift. Once set up, a CRT pays out to a beneficiary or beneficiaries, such as a spouse, child, etc., for a set term of years or for their lifetime. The remainder of the trust is then donated to the charity upon the trust’s termination.

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Smart Technology & Privacy

February 7, 2017-  As convenient as Amazon Echo and Google Home can be, the rising prevalence of these technologies opens up some interesting legal questions. After all, the reason these devices can hear you is that they are listening - always. What privacy implications could this have?

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Employment Law Reminder - New I-9 Forms

February 2, 2017-  Last November, the United States Citizens and Immigration Services issued a revised Form I-9. As of January 22, all employers must use the new, revised form for all new and reverified employees. Those who fail to do so could face civil penalties.

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Live Updates from the 2017 NYSBA Annual Meeting - Health Law Section 

January 25, 2017-  Members of Pullano & Farrow's Health Care team are currently in New York City for the 2017 New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting. Throughout the day, we will be posting their latest updates on important issues in Health Law.

1. Health Information Exchange

2. Concierge Medicine v. Direct Primary Care

3. DSRIP

Beer Delivery

January 23, 2017-  A Rochester pizza shop made headlines recently for announcing that it would start to deliver beer. However, anyone who is considering adding a similar service to their own business should make sure their business qualifies under New York State law, as there are specific requirements for beer delivery.

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Employee Bonus Compensation Programs

January 17, 2017-  A press release issued by the New York State Office of the State Comptroller may help clarify standards that employee incentive bonus programs require.

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NY Raises Minimum Salary Levels

December 30, 2016-  On December 28, 2016, the New York Department of Labor finalized new wage orders increasing the minimum weekly salary thresholds for exempt employees categorized as executive or administrative.

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Election Responsibilities for Employers

November 2, 2016-  With Election Day right around the corner, it is important for both employers and employees to be cognizant of their rights and responsibilities under the New York State Election Law.

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Independent Contractor Case Law Update

October 28, 2016-  On October 25, 2016, in a four-to-two decision, the New York State Court of Appeals determined that a yoga instructor was an independent contractor because the yoga studio did not exercise sufficient control over the instructors; this decision reverses the Appellate Division’s and the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board’s determination that the yoga instructors were employees.

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HIPAA Update Summer 2016

June 18, 2016-  The Federal Office for Civil Rights, the regulatory organization responsible for enforcing the HIPAA rules, has issued several new updates regarding HIPAA in July, 2016. Each of these updates are discussed briefly.

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Medical Record Fees Under HIPAA

May 27, 2016-  In February, 2016, the federal Office for Civil Rights (the regulatory organization responsible for enforcing the HIPAA rules) issued new and extensive clarifying guidance on an individual’s right to access and obtain copies of his or her protected health information (“PHI”).

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Tax Law Update - Small Brewery & Winery Filings Exclusion

January 18, 2016-  Earlier this week, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued Technical Memorandum TSB-M-16(1)S, which discussed a new amendment to the Tax Law excluding smaller wineries and breweries from the requirement of filing the annual sales tax information return.                   

 

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December Employment Legislation Update

December 18, 2015-  Status on new DOL Overtime Rules, Minimum Wage for New York government employees, & Women's Equality Act

                                                                                                        

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Albany County Supreme Court Strikes Down DOH Executive Comp. Regulations

December 16, 2015-  A recent decision before the Albany County Supreme Court continues to add uncertainty to the inerpretation of Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 38 and the Department of Health's related regulations about executive compensation.

                                                                                                        

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Wage and Hour Issues: The 4 Biggest Issues Employers Face

September 29, 2015-  Who qualifies as an independent contractor? Are unpaid internships legal? These types of issues give employers headaches. Also in this legal briefing: overtime eligibility and voluntary work on personal electronic devices.

                                                                                                        

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Department of Labor: DOL WINS HOME HEALTH CARE WAGE BATTLE

August 21, 2015- In September 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") amended the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") to require third party employers of home health care workers to pay minimum wage and overtime to home health care workers.

                                                                                                        

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New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section 7-8.1: Pet Trusts

April 25, 2015- Traditionally, upon a person's passing, they had limited options and methods to ensuretheir pet was cared for after the owner's death. For example, the pet owner could gift money to another person with a request that the money be used to care for the pet, however this was legally unenforceable. Or, the owner could give the pet to an animal shelter, though most pet owners do not nd such a solution satisfactory. A trust providing for the care of the pet was not an alternative at the time. Thankfully, the laws have changed and New York Estates, Powers and Trust Law Section 7-8.1 authorizes the creation of pet trusts. There are certain requirements, however.

                                                                                                        

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Department of Labor: HOME HEALTH CARE WAGE BATTLE HEATS UP

March 9, 2015- On March 2, 2015, New York State, along with Massachusetts, New Mexico and Illinois, officially entered the fray between the federal courts and U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) regarding whether the DOL exceeded its authority in extending minimum wage and overtime protections to home health care workers. In September 2013, the DOL amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require third party employers of home health care workers to pay minimum wage and overtime to this class of workers.  Home health care workers were previously excluded from these wage requirements under the FLSA’s “companionship exemption”. That amendment to the companionship exemption was set to take effect on January 1 of this year, however the DOL had agreed to delay enforcement for at least six (6) months in response to requests from industry leaders and states such as Kansas, Maryland and Pennsylvania based upon the difficulty in implementing such a rule for this unique segment of the workforce.

                                                                                                        

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Programs for Health Care Worker Loan Repayment Working in Underserved Areas

March 3, 2015- Certain parts of New York, like in many other states, are short on health care workers, and the federal and state governments are stepping in to try and do something about it by offering loan repayment, scholarships and other benefit programs.  The problem is, not too many people know about these programs, and even less know where to find them and how to apply.  ALERT: Some program application periods are currently underway and some begin in March.  In many cases they end in March as well so time is of the essence.  Read on to learn why and then call us to learn how.                                                                                                   

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E-Prescribing Part 2: When a Computer is not Available

February 27, 2015- While New York healthcare practitioners with prescribing authority are waiting to see whether the deadline for compliance with electronic prescription requirements will be March 27, 2015, March 27, 2016, or some other date, questions about the content of the requirements remain.  As described in a recent Pullano & Farrow Legal Briefing, in 2012, I-STOP was enacted.  I-STOP is a law that, in part, requires any person in New York issuing a prescription for medications to do so electronically and as set forth by regulation. One of the more frequent questions about e-prescribing concerns whether prescribing practitioners must comply with the e-prescribing requirement when they are not near a computer or where a computer is not available.  The simple answer is not always.  According to the New York State Department of Health (the “Department”), in such situations, the practitioner may use an Official New York State Prescription form as long as the circumstances meet a specific exception (the Department has assured practitioners that the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement will continue to supply the forms).  Otherwise, the prescribing practitioner must wait until he or she has access to a computer or other device with e-prescribing capability to issue the prescription. 
                                                                                     

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NYS Tax Department Staves off the NYS “WHISKEY REBELLION”

February 22, 2015- Previously Farm Winery, Farm Brewery, and Farm Distillery taxpayers were required to file their taxes monthly on Form MT-40 (Return of Tax on Wines, Liquors, Alcohol, and Distilled or Rectified Spirits).  Administratively this was cumbersome, but often the burden was worth the profits.  The burden itself was likely a relic of New York’s decades old fear of the alcohol industry that seemed to be embedded in its statutory framework until more recent times  But the results of the industry’s growth and ability to be an engine of economic change for rural and economically underdeveloped regions is causing New York to rethink this position. Now taxpayers may file annually by requesting permission from the Tax Department using Form MT-38.  Taxpayers SHOULD NOT begin filing annually though until after written approval is obtained. 

                                                                                                

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NYS Health Law: Delay in e-Prescribing Requirements for Providers

February 16, 2015- For New York physicians, nurse practitioners, optometrists, podiatrists, physician assistants, and nurse midwives, the deadline for complying with e-prescribing requirements might change.  On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, the New York State Senate passed Senate Bill S02486, which extends the deadline for complying with the e-prescribing requirements by one year, from March 27, 2015, to March 27, 2016.  The bill is now in the Assembly and there is a general expectation that it should pass the Assembly when the Assembly reconvenes in late February.  There is a companion bill in the Assembly, but it has not progressed as quickly as the Senate version.                                                                                                        

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How to Spot and Avoid a Common Post-Closing Real-Estate SCAM

January 26, 2015- here is a real estate scam that has been around for a number of years that has recently gained new momentum in Monroe County and other nearby counties.  Immediately, upon recording of your deed in the County Clerk's Office, your transaction, including your identity as the new property owner and an address where you can be reached becomes a matter of public record.  This gives perpetrators of this scam an opportunity to put together a sham invoice, send it to your address, and hope you take the bait.                                                                                                        

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Janurary 6, 2015- The saga continues for thousands of small business owners in New York as the Workers' Compensation Board (“Board”) carries on its intense collection efforts to recover hundreds of millions of dollars to buoy underwater funds in the state's Group Self Insurance Trust (“GSIT”) Program.  In a grand rebuke of the Board's practices, Onondaga County Supreme Court Justice John C. Cherundolo, now retired, breathed life into the hopes of fed up business owners. The 2012 case, Riccelli Enterprises, Inc., et al. v. State of NY Workers' Compensation Board (“Riccelli”), was recently affirmed by the Fourth Department of the Appellate Division.
                                                                                                         

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NY Small Business Owners Fight Back Against Workers' Compensation Board
 
New York Wage Theft Prevention Act Amendment Approved

January 5, 2015- On June 19, 2014 the New York State Assembly and Senate passed a bill that makes several amendments to the Wage Theft Prevention Act.  The bill was signed by Governor Cuomo on December 29, 2014. Most notably, the bill repeals the requirement that employers provide an annual wage notice to all employees between January 1 and February 1 of each year.  While the new law typically would take effect sixty (60) days after enactment, the Governor’s office and Department of Labor have made it clear that further legislative chapter amendments will accelerate the effective date of the notification rule to remove the annual notice requirements on employers for the 2015 (and subsequent) calendar years. 
                                                                                                         

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PHI Disclosure Leads to $1.4 Million Verdict   
  

December 1, 2014- Plaintiff’s attorneys have been trying, unsuccessfully, to use HIPAA to create a private cause of action against healthcare entities for protected health information (PHI) privacy breaches for years.  Although HIPAA is still not a source of a private cause of action, on November 14, 2014, the Court of Appeals of Indiana handed plaintiffs a major victory that could make courts’ resistance to recognize a HIPAA cause of action largely irrelevant. The case decided by the Court of Appeals of Indiana, Walgreen Co. v. Hinchy, upheld a verdict against Walgreens for 80% of $1.8 million ($1.4 million) in damages allegedly sustained as a result of a disclosure of a pharmacy customer’s confidential health information.  Although the information disclosed would qualify as PHI under HIPAA, the court’s decision takes an entirely different path.  The court upheld Walgreen’s liability under the theory of respondeat superior, which is a court doctrine that holds employers liable for the torts of their employees committed in the course of employment.

                                                                                                         

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October 30, 2014- The 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (“EVD”) epidemic has been declared the largest EVD outbreak in history. The Department of Homeland Security recently designated New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport as one of six (6) airports in the nation that travelers from West African nations affected by EVD must come through in order to enter the United States.   Highlighting the reality of the situation, on October 23rd, 2014 a doctor in New York City who had served as a member of Doctor's Without Boarders tested positive for EVD.  The potential impact of EVD locally was expanded when the University of Rochester Medical Center was designated as a treatment location for EVD in upstate New York.

                                                                                                         

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EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE: Health Care Issues on the Horizon 

October 23, 2014- The recent spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (”EVD”) throughout West Africa, and more recently the United States, has led the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), and other regulatory organizations such as the New York State Department of Health to revisit infection control procedures, treatment regimens, and other policy considerations.  This article addresses some of the health care issues on the horizon that have been raised as a result of this serious health concern.
                                                                                                         

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October 10, 2014- The New York State Abandoned Property Law ("APL") requires every business in New York to surrender property, usually money, to the State when the property has remained unclaimed by its owner for specific time periods.  The surrender process is complicated and a failure to follow the strict and mechanical requirements of the law can result in steep penalties and interest.

                                                                                                         

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NYS: Abandoned Property Law: Widely Applicable and Perilously Ignored     
  

August 15, 2014- Attached please find PowerPoint slides from last week’s webinar presentation by the New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General regarding provider self disclosure.  This presentation focused on Medicaid providers and the identification and repayment of Medicaid overpayments to the state Medicaid agency.  Providers and facilities should make sure their compliance plans and internal control mechanisms are updated as necessary to reflect this guidance.
                                                                                                         

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NYS: Identification and Repayment of Medicaid Overpayments    
 
NYS: Will Legalized Marijuana Compromise Your Drug Free Workplace?

July 15, 2014- On July 7, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act (“Act”) into law, making New York the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana.  The Act went into effect immediately, but has an 18-month implementation period.
                                                                                                                      

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New York State Non-Profit Revitalization Act of 2013: Additional Compliance by July

June 24, 2014- This is the second Legal Briefing on the changes to the New York Non-Profit Corporation Law through the Non-Profit Revitalization Act of 2013.  The first Legal Briefing in this series, New York State Non-Prot Revitalization Act of 2013: Are you Prepared?, focused on changes to the limitations of Boards, the conflict of interest policy and the whistle blower policy.  This second Legal Briefing will discuss changes to the audit process, electronic communications, corporate finances, entity identification, and consent requirements for New York not-for-profits.

                                                                                                                        

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Protecting Your Nursing Home Facility From Personal Injury Suits under Public Health Law 2801-d

May 13, 2014- If you are a New York nursing home facility, you now have a new concern you should be aware of – New York State Public Health Law Section 2801-d.  Although this law has been on the books since the mid 1970’s, its traditional use and application in courts served to punish nursing homes and medical facilities for relatively minor violations of a resident’s rights where the injuries suffered were usually de minimis.  That is no longer the case.  In recent decisions, Courts have increasingly ruled that whenever an injury to a resident occurs, the standard of care provided to the resident and whether that resident has been deprived of any of the rights guaranteed to them, whether by contract, industry regulation or statute, must be addressed.                                                                                                                      

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New York State Non-Profit Revitalization Act of 2013: Are you Prepared?

March 25, 2014- Non-Profit Organizations should be aware of significant changes the New York State Legislature adopted regarding the New York Non-Profit Corporation Law (through the Non-Profit Revitalization Act of 2013, the “Act”). While there is still time to comply as the Act does not require compliance until July 1, 2014, you should be working diligently towards compliance as there are numerous issues to address prior to the compliance deadline. Due to the extensive nature of the revisions, the Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow PLLC will issue a series of Legal Briefings on the relevant topics addressed by the Legislature for its Not-for-Profit clients and related associates to review.                                                                                                                       

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New York State Clarifies the Fair Play Act for Drivers Hired By Businesses

March 24, 2014- Shortly after the New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act (“Fair Play Act”) was signed into law on January 10, 2014, the Legislature set to work on another bill to change certain parts of the Act and to clarify who was subject to it. We issued a Legal Briefing on the Fair Play Act when it was first passed in January. If you already read that Legal Briefing and are comfortable with your understanding, then skip to “The New Version” below. We previously referred to the drivers affected by the Act as “truck drivers” because that is how the Legislature referred to them in the legislative memo. We now refer to them as just “drivers” because the Act now clearly applies to drivers that are not colloquially considered truck drivers.

                                                                                                                        

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Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Two-Midnight Rule

March 17, 2014- In 2013, the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") adopted a new standard policy called the "Two-Midnight Rule" for determining whether a patient is formally admitted to a hospital as an inpatient or just there for observation. The enforcement of the Two-Midnight Rule will not begin until October, 2014. The new ruling provides that inpatient admissions spanning at least two midnights qualify for Medicare Part A payments, a status with the highest reimbursement rates. A hospital stay lasting fewer than two midnights must be treated and billed as outpatient services or the patients are considered "under observation." There are exceptions under the rule but they are limited. For example, patients can spend more than two midnights and still be considered to be in observational status while patients can be considered inpatient even though they spend less than two midnights in the hospital.

                                                                                                                        

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Accessing Patient Testing Reports Directly from A Laboratory: FEDERAL RULING

February 4, 2014- On February 3, 2014, the federal government (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office for Civil Rights) announced the issuance of a final federal rule providing patients (or a personal/legal representative acting on behalf of the patient) with the right to access completed laboratory test reports directly from laboratories which are required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and its regulations (a “HIPAA-covered laboratory”). The rule was first proposed in 2011. This new rule is significant in that it allows patients and/or their legal representative direct access to the results of laboratory diagnostic testing – access that, until now, was only allowed in a few states.

                                                                                                                        

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The New Fair Play Act Changes the Rules for Hiring Truck Drivers Legislation

February 3, 2014- On January 10, 2014, the New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act was signed into law. This Fair Play Act follows another Fair Play Act that was passed in August 2010 and applied to the construction industry. To summarize the new law in the simplest terms, it requires, absent verifiable proof to the contrary, every person or company that hires truck drivers (including owner-operators) to treat those drivers like employees regardless of whether they were previously regarded as independent contractors. Before smaller companies and individual operators tune out, know that the Fair Play Act does not just target large corporations. Truck drivers themselves are not immune from being considered employers under the Fair Play Act. If the owner-operator of a trucking company has his or her own contract truckers, he or she will also be subject to the Fair Play Act as a hiring company/contractor.

                                                                                                                        

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There is Hope for Medical Corporations with Confidentiality Breaches: NYS Ruling

January 25, 2014- Imagine the scenario where a patient of a medical corporation is being treated for a sexually transmitted disease (“STD”) and a nurse employed by the medical corporation recognizes the patient as the boyfriend of the nurse’s family member, and that same nurse then sends a text message to that family member to disclose the patient’s STD to the family member. Unfortunately, this factual scenario, and other similar factual scenarios concerning purposeful but unlawful disclosures of medical information to family members or friends, are not uncommon. The employee, in the course of his or her employment, learns of a patient’s medical condition that could negatively affect the employee’s family member or friend and is then immediately faced with the decision to either lawfully abide by the required statutory and common law duties of confidentiality or to unlawfully disclose this confidential medical information to the family member or friend.

                                                                                                                        

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Observation Status for Hospital Patients: New York State Response

November 19, 2013- Over the last few years, hospital patients have been discovering (sometimes even after discharge) that they were not in fact formally admitted to the hospital but were instead only at the hospital under “observation” status. This status may be in place even if the patient leaves the emergency department and is treated in a room on one of the main floors of the hospital. While this status change may not impact on the care and treatment that the patient is receiving, it is more than likely to have a significant financial impact on a Medicare patient as Medicare reimburses differently for hospital observation services (which are treated in this case like outpatient services) than hospital inpatient services (for patients who are formally admitted). One consequence is that as an outpatient, the Medicare coverage comes from the Medicare Part B program (covering physician and outpatient services) rather than the Medicare Part A program (covering hospital and some post-hospital skilled nursing facility services). This Medicare coverage distinction will result in some observational status/outpatient patients paying higher co-payments and out-of-pocket costs for some hospital inpatient services that would not be covered in the same fashion.

                                                                                                                        

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Hepatitis C Testing in New York State: New Legislation Effective 1/1/2014

November 18, 2013-  In July, 2013, we prepared a Legal Briefing discussing the proposed legislative bill in New York which would require certain health care providers to offer a Hepatitis C screening test to individuals born between 1945 and 1965, unless the individual is being treated for a life threatening emergency, has previously been offered or has been the subject of a Hepatitis C screening test, or the individual lacks capacity to consent to a Hepatitis C screening test. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on October 23, 2013 and becomes effective as of January 1, 2014.  As noted in the previous Legal Briefing, the new law applies to every individual who receives: (1) health services as an inpatient in a general hospital; (2) primary care services in an outpatient department of such hospital; (3) primary care services in a licensed diagnostic and treatment center; or (4) primary care services from a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.

                                                                                                                        

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Heath Insurance Exchanges: Deadline of October 1, 2013

September 30, 2013- Although a potential government shutdown is looming, President Obama has made it clear that even if the government closes Tuesday, October 1, 2013 will remain the opening day for signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) – the new ACA insurance exchanges will be up and running on October 1st. One of the requirements for employers across the country is that they must notify their employees of the availability of health coverage under the ACA insurance exchanges. All employers subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) must provide this employee notice, regardless of whether the employer currently offers employee health coverage.

                                                                                                                        

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HIPAA Compliance Deadline of September 23, 2013 Approaching

August 14, 2013- On August 14, 2013, the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced that it reached a settlement with Affinity Health Plan, Inc. (a New York not-for-profit managed care plan) for potential violations of HIPAA – amounting to $1,215,780 in fines to be paid by Affinity. This fine was prompted by Affinity's own self-disclosure and compliance with the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, which requires HIPAA covered entities (including health care providers and health plans) to notify the government and individuals when there is a breach of unsecured protected health information.                                                                                                                              

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STAR Exemption Registration Program – What You Need to Know in 2013

August 12, 2013- In order to protect the citizens of New York State from the costs of fraudulent exemptions on multiple properties, in March, 2013 a new State law was passed requiring all homeowners receiving a Basic STAR exemption to register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in order to receive their Basic STAR exemptions in 2014 and in subsequent years.                                                                                                                             

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Legal Briefing: Red Flags Rule – Identity Theft Update

August 11, 2013- The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently issued updated guidance regarding the Red Flags Rule. The guidance was published to assist businesses in determining whether they are subject to the Red Flags Rule as a “financial institution” or “creditor” that maintains “covered accounts.”

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New York State SAFE Act: Impact on Mental Health Reporting

July 22, 2013- On On January 15, 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (the “SAFE” Act).  The SAFE Act is a gun control law that was enacted in response to several episodes of gun violence including the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.  While the law is best recognized for addressing issues such as background checks on gun purchases, increased penalties for individuals using illegal guns, and the imposition of a tough assault weapons ban, it also includes a reporting provision that impacts mental health professionals across the state.                                                                                                                                         

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Legal Briefing: E-Prescribing in New York State

July 21, 2013- Effective March 27, 2015, all New York prescriptions will have to be transmitted electronically to a pharmacy, subject to some very limited exceptions.  While this e-prescribing mandate is not effective until 2015, prescribers can now begin to prescribe controlled substances electronically as long as their systems are DEA certified.  Prescribers can contact the New York Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement to verify that they have compliant software.                              

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Exclusion from Participation in Federal Health Care Programs: 2013 Update

July 11, 2013- On May 8, 2013, the United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) issued a “Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion from Participation in Federal Health Care Programs.”                                                                                                                                            

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Legal Briefing: Hepatitis C Testing in New York State

July 10, 2013- In June, 2013, the New York State Legislature became the first legislature in the country to pass a bill requiring certain health care providers to offer a Hepatitis C screening test to individuals born between 1945 and 1965, unless the individual is being treated for a life threatening emergency, has previously been offered or has been the subject of a Hepatitis C screening test, or the individual lacks capacity to consent to a Hepatitis C screening test. The bill has not yet been signed by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.                                  

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Delay of the Employer Mandate for Health Insurance Coverage

July 6, 2013- The Obama Administration announced on July 2, 2013 that it would be postponing a major portion of its health care law by delaying for one year the time frame for imposing penalties on larger employers who do not provide health insurance coverage for their employees.                                                                           

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Prescription Tracking: Be Aware of Your 2013 Compliance Obligations

July 5, 2013- In August, 2012, the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (“I-STOP”) legislation was signed into law in New York.  The new law requires the New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) to update its existing prescription tracking system, the Prescription Monitoring Program Registry, an electronic system for collecting, monitoring, and reporting information regarding the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances to patients                                                                        

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