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Sarah Churchill Llamas is a healthcare and health information technology attorney and a nationally-recognized expert in health IT solutions, having been appointed a Health IT Fellow by the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read More

Winstead Shareholder Sarah Churchill Llamas presented a webinar for TMLT titled “New Law Impacting your Practice: Information Blocking.”  In the webinar, Sarah discusses the new Information Blocking rule that goes into effect on April 5, 2021. This rule affects patient access to data and system interoperability and it is intended to improve the electronic exchange

Winstead PC Shareholder Sarah Churchill Llamas recently spoke with Medpage today about the federal emergency orders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that currently allow physicians to prescribe opioid medications to patients via telemedicine. An excerpt is below:

“In the COVID-19 era, under relaxed federal emergency orders, licensed clinicians have been able to prescribe opioid analgesics for their patients even if they’ve only ever seen the patient via telehealth, rather than in person.

For providers like Stephen Bekanich, MD, a palliative care physician for Ascension Texas in Austin, this provision allows him to help seriously ill patients without requiring in-person visits that may be difficult for them or could expose them or their caregivers to the virus.

Continue Reading Sarah Churchill Llamas in Medpage Today: Docs Can Prescribe Opioids Via Telemedicine, for Now

Today, November 12, Shareholder Sarah Churchill Llamas moderated the panel discussion “Successful Raises and Investor Considerations” at the Texas Life Science Venture Forum, hosted by Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and BioHouston. The panel discussed advice for entrepreneurs/inventors that impacts valuation; the specific risks that erode valuation and how companies can mitigate risks at

Background

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently finalized transformative rules that will give patients unprecedented safe, secure access to their health data. The rules are issued by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement interoperability and patient access provisions of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act).  These final rules mark the most extensive healthcare data sharing policies the federal government has implemented, requiring both public and private entities to share health information between patients and other parties while keeping that information private and secure. These final rules became effective as of June 30, 2020. NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, HHS has delayed enforcement until future dates.
Continue Reading How HHS Information Blocking Regulations Apply to Healthcare Providers

On June 30, 2020, Winstead PC attorney Sarah Churchill Llamas participated in a panel discussion—How to Increase Enterprise UX?—as part of the UX & Telehealth RapidConf. Discussions centered on telehealth and its overall market-effect in the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. The panel was hosted by Fabien Beckers (Arterys), and included other panelists such as Laura Berrara (ECG Management), John Fryer (Lumeris), and Balint Bene (bene : studio). Here are a few key takeaways from the discussion:

Continue Reading UX & TeleHealth RapidConf | Key Takeaways

It is difficult to identify any aspect of everyday life that the global COVID-19 pandemic has not, in some way, impacted or altered. As the healthcare community valiantly responds and adjusts to the myriad challenges associated with the novel coronavirus, individual patients have also been forced to rearrange in the midst of the public health crisis. For healthcare providers and patients, COVID-19 has upended many aspects of life that not long ago seemed rather stable and relatively predictable, such as education, travel, employment, entertainment, shopping, finances and social gatherings. A disruption of this magnitude has spurred innovation in the delivery of medical care.  At the same time, providers should be mindful of recent studies indicating nearly half (45%) of adult Americans report having their mental health negatively impacted due to COVID-19[1], demonstrating an increase in the need for behavioral and mental health treatment and services during the public health crisis.

Continue Reading Considerations for Telehealth Providers When Developing Policies and Procedures for Treating Patients with Behavioral/ Mental Health Warning Signs

On Friday May 22, HHS announced its decision to award funding in the amount of $50,000 per skilled nursing facility (SNF) with an additional $2500 per licensed bed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus package in response to the COVID 19 crisis.  This funding is intended to address critical needs such as increased testing capacity, increased labor costs, acquisition costs related to personal protective equipment and other expenses linked directly to the COVID-19 pandemic.  SNFs have forty-five (45) days from receipt of the funding to attest to the terms and conditions on the HHS portal. Failure to timely attest is considered automatic acceptance of the terms and conditions.

Continue Reading HHS Announces COVID Funds for Skilled Nursing Facilities

UPDATE: OIG Issues COVID-19 Enforcement Policy Statement

04.08.20

As noted in our recent alert (4.7.20) (see below), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently issued “blanket waivers” concerning several Stark Law requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  CMS enacted the Stark Law Blanket Waivers to ensure the availability of healthcare services for patients during the current public health emergency and to allow healthcare providers to receive payment for certain claims that, without a blanket waiver, would violate the Stark Law.

Continue Reading CMS Issues COVID-19 Stark Law Blanket Waivers

On March 27, the CARES Act was signed into law by President Trump in an effort to stem the nationwide effects of the COVID-19 emergency crisis. Healthcare providers, in particular, are currently overwhelmed with the surge in COVID-19 cases. Consequently, the CARES Act allocates over $330 billion to the healthcare industry as a temporary economic respite and makes numerous policy changes to provide greater flexibility to healthcare providers as they continue to fight this disease from the front lines.
Continue Reading The COVID-19 Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its Effects on Healthcare Providers, Hospitals, and Other Professionals