Pullman & Comley’s Health Care practice has counseled clients in nearly every major sector of the health care industry on regulatory, transactional and business matters. Our experienced and innovative attorneys help navigate the complex maze of health care law for a broad range of health care providers and businesses in related fields. Our commitment to the highest quality legal service is grounded in our ethic of practical, responsive advice that helps our clients achieve their clinical and business goals.
The Health Care practice stays abreast of current legal issues in the health care field, such as state and federal efforts on health care reform and developments affecting physician self-referral (known as “Stark”), HIPAA, fraud and abuse and other health care regulations. Our attorneys have served in leadership positions in state and national health law organizations, and frequently lecture and write on cutting-edge topics. This experience gives us a sophisticated understanding of the business realities our clients face and an ability to craft creative solutions to meet the changing demands of the dynamic health care sector.
Our core group of health care attorneys is supported by attorneys from our Business Organizations and Finance, Real Estate, Labor and Employment, Employee Benefits, Government Finance and Privacy and Data Security groups. We serve as general counsel to institutional providers and group practices and advise in most areas, including:
- Mergers, acquisitions, affiliations, and development of integrated delivery systems
- Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement/fraud and abuse
- Internal and government investigations
- Compliance and risk management
- Strategic partnerships and joint ventures
- Certificate of Need (“CON”) proceedings and advice
- Patient care/licensure
- Professional discipline and credentialing proceedings
- HIPAA/HITECH Act
- Corporate structure, governance and compliance
- Health information technology (HIT) and technology licensing
- Managed care contracting
- Tax-exempt bond financing
- Litigation and administrative proceedings
- Licensure and Medicare certification surveys and complaint investigations
- Reimbursement audits and medical record reviews
- Joint Commission accreditation and sentinel event reporting
- Disclosures under OIG and CMS voluntary disclosure protocols
- Electronic Medical Record contracting and meaningful use requirements
- Proceedings before medical examining and nursing boards
- Advice to Institutional Review Boards and FDA compliance
In addition to the above services, our lawyers assist clients on a day-to-day basis with various operational issues in health care. These services include:
- Advising board members and management on governance matters
- Patient rights and adverse event reporting
- Medical staff credentialing and corrective actions
- Drafting and amending bylaws
- Structuring compliance programs and policies
- Advice regarding tax-exempt organization issues
- Peer review and impaired physician issues
- Advice regarding charitable donations
- Executive employment and severance agreements
- Exclusive provider agreements (e.g., radiology, pathology)
- Assisted hospitals in completing "Stark audits" to inventory all financial relationships with physicians, and developed policies and procedures governing such relationships
- Represented health center in negotiations with a vendor for acquisition and implementation of a new electronic health record and practice management system
- Represented home health agency in the acquisition of another agency and its corporate restructuring
- Represented hospitals and specialty practice groups in negotiating exclusive service agreements in fields such as radiology, anesthesiology and pathology to meet business and compliance objectives
- Assisted in the development and provided ongoing representation of hospital-affiliated physician practices
- Served as general counsel to a teaching hospital and advised on all aspects of hospital operations, governance and compliance, including sitting on the hospital's Institutional Review Board (IRB), Compliance Committee and Ethics Committee
- Represented physicians before the Medical Examining Board, including high-profile cases involving the use of controversial treatment modalities
- Serves as general counsel to one of the largest community health centers in the state, assisting in regulatory compliance, corporate governance and transactions, contracts, policy development, and day to day operational and risk management issues
- Advise clients on Certificate of Need (CON) matters and representation of clients in regulatory proceedings before the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA)Represent both hospitals and physicians in development of joint ventures for diagnostic and therapeutic services, including imaging, lithotripsy and cardiac treatment
- Represent providers in contract negotiations, including managed care contracting, commercial leases, services agreements, and clinical research agreements
- Assisted a hospital to establish a multi-faceted collaborative relationship with a larger Connecticut-based health system, including the establishment of an in-house rehabilitation center
- Defended a specialty provider in a Medicaid audit for alleged improper use of evaluation and management and therapy codes for rehabilitation patients referred to its facilities
- Represented an ambulatory surgery center in the sale of a majority interest to a national operator of surgery centers
News & Insights
- Feedspot, 08.27.2021
- Greenwich, New Canaan/Darien + Rowayton, Stamford, Westport and At Home Magazines, 03.2021
- Westport News, 03.17.2020
- Information Blocking FAQs – The April 5th Implementation Deadline Has Passed; What Providers Need to Know04.08.2021
- Question to Ask for Next Coronavirus Surge: Are Your Triage Protocols in Compliance with OCR Guidance?09.08.2020
- Governor Lamont Declares Continuing State of Emergency, Extends Executive Emergency Powers Through February 9, 202109.04.2020
- Southern District of New York’s Decision to Invalidate Health Care Provider Exclusion and Work Availability Requirement of FFCRA May Have Implications for Connecticut08.07.2020
- Governor Lamont Orders Mandatory COVID-19 Testing of All Nursing Home and Assisted Living Agency Employees06.03.2020
- More Money for Hospitals and Other COVID-19 Caregivers: Federal Provider Relief Fund Replenished and Disbursement Begins04.24.2020
- Connecticut Allows New Telehealth Capabilities and Further Expands Clinical Workforce in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic04.24.2020
- Executive Order Limiting Liability for Connecticut Providers Responding to COVID-19 Grants Protections for Health Care Professionals and Hospitals Grappling With Pandemic04.05.2020
- Connecticut Further Expands Coverage of Telehealth Services During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency03.20.2020
- Connecticut Governor Issues Executive Orders to Establish Statewide Healthcare Cost Growth and Quality Benchmarks01.23.2020
Pullman & Comley began representing Bridgeport Hospital 50 years ago, and when Bridgeport Hospital became the first community hospital to join Yale New Haven Health in 1996, it was natural for that relationship to continue
Members of Pullman & Comley's Health Care team worked with clients transitioning to the growing practice of "concierge," "boutique" or "retainer" methods of practice.
Our bankruptcy team successfully transitioned Hebrew HealthCare’s 257 bed nursing facility in West Hartford to a new owner as part of its bankruptcy reorganization process. Hebrew HealthCare and its four affiliates filed for Chapter 11 in August and immediately sought permission from the Bankruptcy Court to sell its skilled nursing facility.
“Access Health CT” is the business name and registered trademark for the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange – the state’s health insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most consumers recognize Access Health CT by the bright yellow and orange logo used to introduce the Exchange to the public, but some individuals search for the Exchange on the Internet using terms such as: “Connecticut insurance exchange” or “CT health insurance exchange.”
Our health care attorneys were at the forefront of representing clients in mergers and acquisitions as well as in a host of regulatory matters in the ever-growing ambulatory surgery center sector.
Pullman & Comley's attorneys have represented Optimus Health Care for nearly ten years and serve as its corporate general counsel providing advice on health care issues including: regulatory matters such as fraud and abuse, Medicare and Medicaid billing, privacy and security of patient health information; corporate governance; professional service and employment agreements with physicians and other providers.
Our Health Care attorneys counsel hospitals and physicians dealing with these economic pressures and represent physician groups and hospital systems in negotiating merger and asset acquisition agreements and employment and independent contractor agreements.
Pullman & Comley’s Health Care practice provided regulatory and contracting advice
and assistance to our hospital clients involved in conducting clinical trials
of new drugs and medical devices, prior to the Federal Drug Administration’s
Pullman & Comley represented the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association in a merger transaction with Bethel Visiting Nurse Association and New Milford Visiting Nurse and Hospice, resulting in RVNAhealth, a single not-for-profit organization that delivers the highest quality health care for their patients across 35 communities in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties.
CT Health Law Blog
CT Health Law Blog
The attorneys of Pullman & Comley’s Health Care practice publish the “Connecticut Health Law Blog,” which provides alerts, commentary and insights on legal developments affecting hospitals, physician groups, pharmaceutical and medical device companies as well as other health care providers and suppliers. In August 2021, the blog was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 35 Connecticut Law Blogs on the web.
We have been closely monitoring the legal implications of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic for employers, and have been responding to a broad range of client questions. For your reference our most recent Connecticut Health Law Blog posts are highlighted below. For a complete list of all of our firm's advisories related to COVID-19, please visit our FOCUS-Responding to COVID-19 page.
New Connecticut State Laws Affecting Hospitals and Health Care Providers – September 24, 2021
The 2021 legislative session of the Connecticut General Assembly was a particularly busy one with dozens of important new statutes being enacted that will impact the health care industry. We’ve highlighted below some of the most significant legislation affecting hospitals and individual health care providers scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2021.
Vox Article on Vulnerabilities of COVID-19 Testing Registration System Serves as Reminder of the Dangers of Tracking Tech on HIPAA Covered Entity Websites – September 22, 2021
In 2018, we published an article on Walgreens’ use of session replay scripts and how such use could lead to an accidental data breach under HIPAA. Last week, an article in Vox explained how Walgreens was again apparently leaking HIPAA protected-health information on its website through its COVID-19 testing registration system. The story serves as a good reminder that covered entities that use their websites to collect or post patient information need to be especially careful about how their websites are structured and the analytics tools that are used on them.
New Executive Order Imposes Vaccine Requirements on Connecticut Long-Term Care Facilities – August 10, 2021
In an attempt to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases involving the highly contagious Delta variant, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, issued Executive Order (EO) No. 13B over this past weekend requiring the vaccinations of frontline workers at Connecticut’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and providers.
Connecticut Telehealth Version 2021 and Beyond – July 13, 2021
With the proliferation of new digital platforms and increasing consumer demand, Connecticut providers could use a crash course, at the very least, on the contours of the new telehealth law signed by Governor Ned Lamont on May 10, 2021, Public Act 21-9 (the “Act”).
New OSHA COVID-19 Rule and Agency Guidance for Both Healthcare and Non-Healthcare Employers – June 16, 2021
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finally released its much- anticipated federal COVID-19 safety regulation for employers of healthcare workers.
Health Care Providers Should Take Note of Recent Repeals and Extensions of COVID-Related Executive Orders – June 4, 2021
Governor Lamont’s recent renewal of his declaration of the public health and civil preparedness emergencies through July 20, 2021 was followed by Executive Order 12B that repeals portions of previously-issued Executive Orders and modifies and/or extends portions of others. This post provides a summary of key Executive Orders related to health care that are affected by EO 12B.
Post-Public Health Emergency – Connecticut Pharmacy Limitation Changes – April 29, 2021
Connecticut has recently notified pharmacies and prescribing providers that various quantity limits and refill criteria will revert back to pre-COVID 19 requirements come May 21, 2021.
Information Blocking FAQs – The April 5th Implementation Deadline Has Passed; What Providers Need to Know – April 8, 2021
Monday, April 5, 2021 marked the deadline for compliance with the information blocking regulations implemented by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). As a follow-up to our earlier FAQs on these new rules, this is a third series of answers to the questions that we’ve been receiving.
Are You a Hospital or Health Care System with No Poach Agreements? – March 24, 2021
“No poach agreements” have once again grabbed the legal headlines with a nationally known integrated provider of hospital and physician services a focus of the attention. Allegations of no poach agreements, agreements by competitors not to recruit or hire each other’s employees, led to a federal indictment of health care defendants in Texas in January. Now Geisinger Health and the Evangelical Hospital of Pennsylvania stand accused (though not criminally) of engaging in illegal no poach agreements in two different federal court proceedings.
The New Information Blocking Rules: What Providers Need to Know Before the April 5 Deadline – February 26, 2021
Navigating the challenges posed by the new information blocking rules issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is not solely the job of IT Departments, outside consultants and software companies. Providers must grapple with these issues too.
Governor Announces Connecticut Will Continue Age-Based Approach to COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility; Educators and Childcare Providers to Have Dedicated Clinics – February 23, 2021
In an effort to ensure that Connecticut continues taking the most equitable and efficient approach to quickly administering the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible, Governor Ned Lamont announced on February 21, 2021 that the state will continue with an age-based approach to expanding eligibility to the vaccine, explaining that other previously considered scenarios proved overly complex and confusing, would potentially exacerbate inequities in vaccine distribution, and slow down the process of providing it to Connecticut residents. Educators and childcare providers will be eligible to receive the vaccine in March at dedicated clinics that will be set up specifically for those sectors.
Connecticut Residents Over 65 Can Register for COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments Starting February 11, 2021– February 9, 2021
Connecticut residents over the age of 65 will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting on Thursday, February 11, 2021, as the state rolls into the next part of phase 1b of its vaccination program. Vaccinations for individuals over the age of 75 and those within phase 1a will continue.
Health Law from the Courts: Review of 2020 Connecticut Case Law – January 27, 2021
Our annual survey of health law cases for 2020 may be a bit shorter this year due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, but Connecticut courts still produced some noteworthy decisions affecting the practice of medicine and the payment for health care services. These include an Appellate Court case which held, as a matter of first impression, that the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action cannot cure a defect in the statutorily-required opinion letter of a similar health care provider with a supplemental affidavit. This year’s summary also reports on the Connecticut District Court’s decision in the decade-long class action regarding the appeal rights of Medicare patients who challenged their placement on observation status.
Competitor “No Poach Agreements” Can Lead to Criminal Prosecutions, Fines and Jail Time – January 14, 2021
“No poach” agreements — agreements between two or more competitors that neither will recruit or hire the other’s employees – have long been held to violate the antitrust laws. The United States Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission issued guidance in 2016 making clear that such agreements are forbidden.
Happy New Year? 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is a Mixed Bag – December 16, 2020
While much of the health care industry looks to put this year in the rear view mirror, planning ahead for Connecticut providers who treat Medicare beneficiaries requires taking stock of the recently issued Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule that goes into effect January 1, 2021.
Health Care Billing Enforcement Not Stymied by COVID-19 – November 2, 2020
Doctors, nurses, hospitals and other health care providers, should know that the pandemic has not deterred federal or state authorities from prosecuting false claims, HIPAA and other types of enforcement actions in Connecticut.
Critical Update for Employers: U.S. Department of Labor Significantly Narrows the Definition of "Health Care Provider" for Purposes of Exempting Employees from Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – September 15, 2020
On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced revised regulations significantly narrowing the definition of “health care provider” under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The revision came in response to an August 3, 2020 decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which held that the DOL’s original regulation defining “health care provider” was so expansive that it was inconsistent with the statute.
Attention Doctors, Dentists and Other Licensees– 148 Thousand Plus Reasons to Renew Licenses and Permits on Time – August 19, 2020
How much could it possibly cost if you fail to renew your professional license or permits before they expire? Could it really cost $148,632.23? A Connecticut oral and maxillofacial surgeon recently learned that it could cost that much, and more.
Southern District of New York’s Decision to Invalidate Health Care Provider Exclusion and Work Availability Requirement of FFCRA May Have Implications for Connecticut – August 7, 2020
In what promises to be a significant ruling, this week a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated several key aspects of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), including the regulatory definition of a “health care provider” which the court found to be “vastly overbroad.”
Connecticut Poised to Continue Expanded Telehealth Services Into 2021 – July 28, 2020
On July 28, 2020, the CT Senate passed House Bill No. 6001 to further extend and expand the telehealth services offered by in-network providers for fully-insured health plans in the state as well as those providing care and services to established Medicaid and HUSKY B patients under the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program. The Senate’s approval sets the stage for Governor Lamont to sign into law the legislation that will impact Connecticut telehealth rules through March 15, 2021.
Connecticut Department of Public Health Issues Two Orders Providing Children and Patients with Disabilities with a Limited Right to Receive Visitors - June 16, 2020
On June 15, 2020, the Connecticut Department of Public Health issued two Orders affecting patients with disabilities and patients who are children.
Governor Lamont Orders Mandatory COVID-19 Testing of All Nursing Home and Assisted Living Agency Employees – June 4, 2020
In Executive Order 7UU, Governor Lamont ordered mandatory COVID-19 testing of all employees and staff at all private and municipal nursing homes, managed residential communities, and assisted living services agencies.
Connecticut’s Acting DPH Commissioner Walks Back One of Predecessor’s Final Orders – May 20, 2020
On May 14, 2020, the newly-appointed Acting Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, issued an Order reinstating the requirement that a request for collection or analysis of a COVID-19 test must be made by a licensed physician, physician assistant, APRN, or pharmacist, as well as the requirement that the results be reported to the licensed provider who ordered the test.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Boom Might Be Here to Stay, but HIPAA Flexibility Might Not – May 19, 2020
One of the many changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic may be the permanent expansion of telehealth, but not all video communications services were designed to provide sufficient privacy and security to facilitate the provision of health care (and HIPAA compliance).
Telemedicine-Medicaid Billing and Compliance: Not Just a Matter of Picking Up the Phone – April 30, 2020
What should new and old Connecticut telemedicine and telehealth providers know about billing for Connecticut Medicaid services now that Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont again has expanded the ability of providers to offer services remotely?
More Money for Hospitals and Other COVID-19 Caregivers: Federal Provider Relief Fund Replenished and Disbursement Begins – April 24, 2020
Among other things, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement (“PPPHCE”) Act, signed into law on April 24, 2020, adds $100 billion to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse “eligible health care providers” for COVID-19 care.
Connecticut Allows New Telehealth Capabilities and Further Expands Clinical Workforce in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic – April 24, 2020
On April 22, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7DD that expands the ability of health care providers to offer services remotely. This Executive Order also expands the health care workforce in Connecticut in several ways.
Latest Executive Order Repeals Certain Changes Made to Provider Reimbursement Rates – April 22, 2020
On April 21, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7CC, which repeals two of the temporary changes to health care provider reimbursement rates that were made in Executive Order No. 7U.
New Liability Limitations for Health Care Providers and Added Workforce Flexibility in Connecticut Should Not Obscure Duty to Treat During Pandemic – April 9, 2020
Connecticut law still requires that institutional and individual health care providers provide that level of care, skill and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.
Executive Order Limiting Liability for Connecticut Providers Responding to COVID-19 Grants Protections for Health Care Professionals and Hospitals Grappling With Pandemic – April 5, 2020
On April 5, 2020, Connecticut Governor Lamont issued an Executive Order that provides immunity from civil liability to health care professionals and certain facilities supporting the state’s COVID-19 response efforts except for acts or omissions that constitute a crime, fraud, malice, gross negligence, willful misconduct, or would otherwise constitute a false claim under federal or state law.
UPDATE ON CONNECTICUT’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19 CRISIS: Governor Forms Health System Response Team; CMS Grants Connecticut a Waiver of Certain Medicaid Requirements – March 30, 2020
Governor Ned Lamont announced a collaboration among three of the largest hospital systems in Connecticut to assist in the state’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More on this and other updates.
Connecticut DPH Issues Order Allowing Out-of-State Healthcare Providers – March 24, 2020
In anticipation of a healthcare workforce shortage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 23, the Connecticut Department of Public Health issued an Order allowing professionals licensed in other states to work in Connecticut for up to 60 days without obtaining a Connecticut license, certification, or registration.
Determining Who is an Essential Health Care Employee in Connecticut Under Executive Order 7H – March 23, 2020
Hospitals and other health care providers are, of course, among the businesses considered “essential.” But must all employees of an essential business continue to work on-site?
Connecticut Further Expands Coverage of Telehealth Services During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency – March 20, 2020
Yesterday Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7G, which temporarily expands the statutory definition of “telehealth” to include services provided via telephone by Medicaid providers, as well as in-network providers for commercial fully insured health insurance providing services to patients with whom there is an existing provider-patient relationship.
Novel Coronavirus Hastens the Expansion of Remote Care in Connecticut – March 18, 2020
On March 17 the Trump Administration announced a sweeping expansion of Medicare coverage for telehealth services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic while separately the Connecticut Department of Social Services (“DSS”) published a State Plan Amendment (“SPA”) providing Medicaid coverage for telephone visits. This Alert outlines the impact on Medicare and Medicaid, as well as how Connecticut state laws affect these developments.
Is Connecticut Prepared for the Coronovirus (COVID-19)? - March 4, 2020
The steps that state and local health authorities could take regarding isolation and quarantine.