Recent Posts

CMS Finalizes Rule Increasing Minimum Staffing Standards in Nursing Homes

On April 22, 2024, The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services released a final rule that implements new minimum nurse staffing requirements in nursing homes…

U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Holds Hearing on Assisted Living for First Time in 20 Years

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging recently held its first hearing in 20 years on aging services. Here’s what you need to know.

The U.S. Department of Labor has Finalized Its New Independent Contractor Rule: Here’s What It Means for Your Business

The DOL announced its Final Independent Contractor Rule that defines whether a worker is considered an employee or independent contractor under the FLSA

New Rule Requires Increased Transparency in Nursing Home Ownership

On November 15, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule requiring increased transparency in nursing home ownership…

Recent OIG Report Could Result in a Revamp & Refocus of Georgia’s Nursing Facility Survey Process

On September 7, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report expressing concerns about life safety, emergency preparedness, and infection control compliance in Georgia nursing facilities…

Executive Order 14070: Implications on Skilled Nursing Facilities & the Impending Staffing Mandate

Written by: Jordan Johnson, Esq. & Anamayan Narendran, Esq. Background On April 18, 2023, President Biden signed Executive Order 14070 that included several directives purportedly aimed at bolstering Americans’ access to long-term care and increasing job stability for medical professionals working in long-term care facilities. The Executive Order directs the Department of Health and Human

Medicaid Unwinding: 4 Steps Nursing Facilities Should Take as the Public Health Emergency Ends

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), allowing the federal government to take on a greater share of Medicaid costs and expanding protections for consumers…

2023 Florida Tort Reform

Written by: Shylie A. Bannon, Esq. | Print Blog Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed significant tort reform legislation into law after House Bill 837 passed through the House and its companion bill was passed in the Senate. This is the most significant tort reform legislation to be enacted in Florida since the early 2000s,

No Surprises Act Final Rules Issued Related to Federal IDR Process

Written by: S. David McLean, Jr. On August 26, 2022, the long-awaited Requirements Related to Surprise Billing: Final Rules (the “Final Rules”) were published in the Federal Register (87 Fed. Reg. 52618). The No Surprises Act Final Rules are purposefully narrow in scope, finalizing parts of the July 2021 and October 2021 interim final rules

Biden-Harris Administration’s Plans to Crack Down on Nursing Homes Indicate Upcoming Uptick in Survey Activity

On March 1, 2022, President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address—announcing plans “to set higher standards for nursing homes” and to “crack down on the ‘Wall Street firms’” allegedly taking over nursing homes…

Texas Court Vacates Provisions of the No Surprises Act Interim Final Rule

On February 23, 2022, United States District Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, entered his Memorandum Opinion and Order in Texas Medical Association and Adam Corley v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al…

Indiana’s Adams County Superior Court Dismisses Malpractice Claim for Treatment of COVID-19 under State Immunity Statute

Written by: Jeffrey T. Wolber, Esq. On February 1, 2022, Judge Samuel K. Conrad of the Superior Court of Adams County, Indiana, granted summary judgment on behalf of a hospital and EMS entity. (Anonymous Hospital v. Peterson, No. 01D01-2107-CT-000014 (Adams Superior Court Feb. 1, 2022)). The petitioners/defendants asserted immunity under Ind. Code §§ 34-30-13.5-1 and

Moving Target: Target Statutory Cap on Punitive Damages No Longer Required To Be Plead As An Affirmative Defense

Written by: Lindsay A. Nishan, Esq. and Lauren Spears Gresh, Esq.  As attorneys and adjusters participating in litigation in the State may recall, South Carolina Court of Appeals decision Garrison v. Target Corporation sent many defense counsel scrambling to amend their answers in April of 2020 after the Court held that the benefit of the

Siegel – Is the QA Privilege Eroding?

Written by: Joshua T. Reece, Esq. Edited by: Nicole A. Callahan, Esq. At the end of 2021, the Appellate Division, Second Department revisited disclosure and New York’s Quality Assurance (“QA”) privilege in Siegel v. Snyder, No. 6612/2016, 2021 WL 6057821 (2d Dept. Dec. 22, 2021). The long-standing privilege shields from disclosure certain materials and statements

Nursing Homes Challenge New York’s Profit Cap as Unconstitutional

Written by: Jeffrey T. Wolber, Esq. Edited by: Nicole A. Callahan, Esq. A group of over 200 nursing homes are challenging a New York law that sets a cap on their profits. The lawsuit was filed on December 29, 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Case No. 1:21-cv-01384).

Orange County Supreme Court Dismisses Claims of Nursing Home Negligence related to Pressure Ulcers and Fungal Dermatitis without Prejudice under the EDTPA in Crampton v. Garnet Health

Written by: Jeffery T. Wolber, Esq. Judge Bartlett of Orange County Supreme Court granted a partial motion to dismiss under §3211(a)(7) (failure to state a claim) based on the civil immunity provided by New York’s Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA). Although this is a trial court decision, its analysis will be helpful for

Ten States Sue To Stop The Cms Vaccine Mandate For Healthcare Workers

Written by: Jacqueline Voronov, Esq. And the legal challenges to President Biden’s vaccine mandate keep on coming…   Missouri, Iowa and a coalition of eight (8) other states have filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and key administration officials over the CMS requirement that health care workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Renders Jurisdictional Opinion on PREP Act in COVID-19 Case Involving Nursing Home

Written by: Sandra Mekita Cianflone, Esq. On October 20, 2021, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued their ruling in Maglioli v. Alliance HC Holdings LLC, Nos. 20-2833, relative to federal jurisdiction under the PREP Act. Maglioli is one of the first COVID-19 nursing home cases filed in 2020. The estates claim negligence and wrongful

Hospital and Healthcare Associations File Amicus Brief in COVID Nursing Home Suit

Written by: Eve Soldatos, Esq. and Kyle A. Schiedo, Esq. Edited by: Nicole A. Callahan, Esq. On June 5, 2020, plaintiff Vivian Rivera-Zayas brought an action in Kings County Supreme Court against Long Island nursing home Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center, claiming that the nursing home was negligent, reckless, and willful

Texas Enacts Law Providing COVID-19 Civil Immunity to Physicians, Health Care Providers, and First Responders

Author: Eve Soldatos, Esq. On June 14, 2021, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 6 into law, amending the Civil Practice and Remedies Code by adding Section 74.155. The new section, 74.155(b) states that except in cases of reckless conduct or intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct, a physician, health care provider or first responder is not liable

Texas Enacts Law Providing COVID-19 Civil Immunity to Physicians, Health Care Providers, and First Responders

Written by: Eve Soldatos, Esq. On June 14, 2021, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 6 into law, amending the Civil Practice and Remedies Code by adding Section 74.155. The new section, 74.155(b) states that except in cases of reckless conduct or intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct, a physician, health care provider or first responder is

Suicide Underscores Need for Mental Health Care in Correctional Facilities

Written by: Beth Boone, Esq. Death by suicide behind bars is a serious challenge in correctional health care, and there is a greater focus on expanding mental health services and prevention programs to reduce fatalities. Corrections officers, facility administrators, community health care agencies and other stakeholders also play important roles in watching for suicide risk,

New Georgia Law Imposes Extensive New Requirements for Georgia Long-Term Care Facilities

On June 30, 2020, House Bill 987 was signed into law addressing many of the concerns presented by Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “Unprotected” investigative series regarding Georgia’s Long Term Care industry…

The U.S. Imposes Travel Restrictions on India

Compiled by: Ashik R. Jahan, Esq. Source:  Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, particularly “the magnitude and scope” of the surge India is experiencing (1/3 of new global cases), the White House has issued new travel restrictions on India on the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect the

COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Opioid Sobriety

For many people who are battling opioid addiction or achieved sobriety, there is a new threat of relapse: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory quarantines, shelter-in-place orders and new daily stressors such as the loss of childcare and the demands of running remote school are creating new challenges for people who are or have been addicted.

COVID Vaccine Implications For Inmates & Corrections Officers

Written by: Beth Boone, Esq. As COVID vaccines become more widely available and distributed across the United States, state and local corrections facilities are receiving vaccines according to their jurisdiction’s vaccine plan. Sometimes that means varying prioritization based on facility size, geography, local logistics and the number of available medical staff. The U.S. Centers for

PREP Act Pitfalls: Federal Courts Deny Providers Their Due Protections

Written by: Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Esq. and Leesa M. Guarnotta, Esq. From the start of COVID-19 litigation, Federal district courts have failed to uphold the bargain Congress made with healthcare workers and facilities to provide them exclusive federal jurisdiction and an exclusive federal cause of action in the face of lawsuits arising from their alleged

Summary of the Landscape of Civil Immunity against COVID-19 Claims in New York

Written by: Jeffrey T. Wolber, Esq. With the repeal of the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA) by A.03397/S.5177, the New York legislature has effectively terminated its civil immunity for health care professionals against claims involving COVID-19. Because this repeal does not have retroactive effect, there are three main types of immunity left behind that

Civil Immunity for COVID-19 Claims in New York: Impact of the Repeal of the EDTPA

Written by: Jeffrey T. Wolber, Esq. On April 6, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed into law A.03397/S.5177, repealing Article 30-d of the Public Health Law, also known as the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act, or the EDTPA, which provided civil immunity to health care professionals and entities for certain claims involving COVID-19. The EDTPA was

Amendments to Public Health Law Require Resident Health Care Facilities to Spend 70% of Revenue on “Direct Resident Care,” Cap Facility Profits at 5%, and Limit Executive Pay

Written by: T. Andrew Graham, Esq., Anthony Venditto, Esq., and Evan O’Hara, Esq. In February of 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that, as part of his effort to enact sweeping nursing home reform legislation, he would not sign a budget for the 2022 fiscal year into law unless it included legislation requiring nursing home facilities

Debate Swirls Around How to Use Opioid Settlement Funds

Tens of billions of dollars in forthcoming opioid litigation settlement funds have public health policy leaders and elected officials debating over how to use the funds in the most effective and impactful way to address the root causes of opioid addiction and improve access to treatment programs. One thing is clear: there is a consensus

Georgia Department of Public Health Updates its Administrative Order to Permit Additional Visitation in Long-Term Care Facilities

The Georgia Department of Public Health updated its original Administrative Order providing reopening guidance to long-term care facilities to allow additional visitation….

TPD & Concurrent Illnesses: Not Just a COVID Question – a South Carolina Perspective

Written by: Margaret “Meg” H. Donahue, Esq. At the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 in America, you’d probably think all the questions had been asked.  But only recently, one came up that I was surprised hadn’t surfaced sooner.  The question was, if a worker is on light duty for a work injury and receiving temporary partial

Georgia Psychiatrist-Patient Privilege

In Georgia, certain types of records in personal injury cases are considered privileged, one of which is the psychiatrist-patient privilege or the mental health privilege.

Stimulus Checks and Child Support

Written by: Kaitlin Romanelli Myers, Esq. Another round of stimulus checks have been approved for qualifying individuals for $1,400. Stimulus checks have raised many questions about whether these payments can be seized for child support arrears.   Individuals who are current on their child support payments do not have to be worried about their payments being seized for

Vaccinate All Educators by April 2021? Acceleration of COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout in Georgia Through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program

Written by: Jacquelyn S. Clarke and Michael V. Profit On March 2, 2021, President Biden announced an expansion to the existing protocols governing rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, through which a goal newly prioritized by the federal government was announced: provide first-shot vaccination, by the end of March 2021, of pre-K through twelfth grade educators,

Georgia Governor Kemp Clarifies Quarantine Requirements for “Fully Vaccinated” Long-Term Care Facility Staff and Residents

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has extended the state Public Health State of Emergency (Executive Order due to COVID-19 through April 6, 2021…

If You Engage in COVID-19 Vaccine Administration, Federal Law Under the PREP Act Protects You from Civil Liability

Written by: Sandra Mekita Cianflone, Esq. You are entitled to PREP Act Immunity when: You are a “Covered Person,” because you are a licensed medical provider or a facility/practice; You are engaging in a “recommended activity,” because you are administering an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine; The alleged injury is causally related to the administration of the

Montana Signs COVID-19 Immunity Provision into Law

Written by: Sandra Mekita Cianflone, Esq. On February 10, 2021 Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed Senate Bill 65 which revises some Montana Civil Liability Laws surrounding COVID-19. This law is effective from February 10, 2021 through January 1, 2031. The rationale in passing this bill is to improve Montana’s economy and encourage people to engage

Federal Court Denies Remand and Grants Dismissal Based upon PREP Act

Written by: Sandra Mekita Cianflone, Esq. and Laura Hall Cartner, Esq. On February 10, 2021, James V. Selna in the Central District of California denied Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand and granted Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss in Garcia v. Welltower OpCo Group LLC, et al. He found that the PREP Act applied to Defendants and completely

Seniors Impacted by Dual Health Crises: COVID & Opioid Misuse

Elderly people are facing a confluence of health crises right now: COVID-19 and opioid misuse. Seniors are already the most heavily impacted population for COVID-19 hospitalizations and death rates, and a concurrent acceleration of opioid misuse places additional stress on vulnerable seniors. In 2018, Medicare recipients were given an average of 5 opioid prescriptions and

Major EHR Vendor Settles False Claims Act Allegations

Health IT company Athenahealth, a major developer and vendor of electronic health record (EHR) services, agreed to pay over $18 million to settle federal False Claims Act allegations related to purported kickbacks from 2014 to 2020…

Another Casualty of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Resolution of Opioid Litigation

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause countless disruptions to everyday life, including resolution of one of the largest civil cases in U.S. history — the landmark opioid litigation. Tens of billions of dollars are at stake as more than 3,000 cities, towns, municipalities and Native American tribes seek a settlement in trials against some of

Updates to Georgia’s Nursing Home Medicaid Financial Limits and Medicare Increases

As 2021 quickly approaches, the updated financial limitations for Nursing Home Medicaid and increases to Medicare costs have been released. While the new limits have been released, the Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) remains in effect until January 20, 2021…

HHS proposes major changes to HIPAA’s Privacy Rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently published proposed modifications to the HIPAA privacy rule, which, if finalized, would significantly impact Covered Entities’ responses to records requests.

HHS Proposed Regulatory Reform Rule Will Require Vigilant Monitoring

Written by: Angela Tompkins, MSHA, RN, Esq. Earlier this month, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring the Department to assess its regulations every ten years to determine whether they are subject to review under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which requires regular review of certain significant

CDC Federal Advisory Committee Recommends Giving Priority for COVID-19 Vaccines to Healthcare Workers and Long-Term Care Facility Residents in Wake of Deadline for States to Submit Their Vaccination Plans This Friday

Written by: Alex Battey, Esq. and Paige Nettles, Esq. On Tuesday, December 1, 2020 the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevision on the implementation of COVID-19 vaccinations, voted 13-1 in favor of giving priority to healthcare workers and long-term care facilities for the vaccine. 

Opioid Overdose Deaths Surge During COVID-19 Pandemic, Alarming Health Officials

The number of Americans dying from opioid overdoses surged dramatically in 2020 while the coronavirus pandemic was raging, causing alarm among public health officials and setting the stage for an increase in opioid litigation. More than 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the 12 months ended May 2020, according to provisional data from the U.S.

CMS Releases New Podcast Series for Frontline Staff of Nursing Homes to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Written by: Alex Battey, Esq. and Laura Hall Cartner, Esq. In early 2019, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created a podcast entitled “CMS Beyond the Policy,” describing podcasts as a “modern, user-friendly” method of keeping their audience informed about Agency developments. Past episodes are available on iTunes and at Some past topics

CMS Issues “Holiday Leave Recommendations Letter” for Nursing Homes, Residents, Resident Family Members, and Staff

Written by: Laura Hall Cartner, Esq. and Kathleen Wilkinson, Esq. This year, the holiday season certainly looks a little different in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With varying limitations on visitation since March, this year will host a particularly unique holiday season for our nations nursing homes, caregivers, residents and their families. On November

New Changes to Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statutes

Written by: Jordan Johnson, Esq. and Leanne Livingston, Esq. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently revised the federal self-referral Stark Law and safe harbors under the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). Before these changes, providers were faced with strict regulations

Texas District Court Rules That Providers Must Exhaust Patient’s Administrative Remedies to Preserve ERISA Standing

In Mission Toxicology, LLC v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, the Western District of Texas ruled against several lab companies seeking enforcement of the right to payment under ERISA for lab services provided at certain Texas hospitals…

Major Health Insurer Forced to Amend Claim Processing Guidelines Due to Violation of Fiduciary Duties Under ERISA

The Northern District of California recently handed down remedies against United Behavioral Health (“UBH”), a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, related to violations of its fiduciary duties owed to its insureds…

New Developments in AI Technology Offer a Glimpse of the Future of Long Term Care: Balancing Resident Care with Safety in Light of Necessary Pandemic Precautions

Written by: Laura Hall Cartner, Esq. and Anthony Petrozza, Esq. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted long term care facility residents and staff. While most of us take pause to reflect on the sheer tragedy of the effect this virus has had on our elder population, those working in long term healthcare remain continually vigilant in their

Revisions to Georgia’s Medicaid Application Process for Providers during the Public Health Emergency

COVID-19 continues to affect applicants for Georgia Medicaid. Based on the PHE declaration in March 2020, DFCS altered its verification process for the Medical Assistance Program…

Federal Judge Rules Against Trump’s Non-Immigrant Visa Proclamation

Written by: Ashik Jahan, Esq. Judge Jeffrey S. White of the U.S. District Court of Northern California granted a preliminary injunction filed by several associations that had challenged the validity of President Trump’s Proclamation 10052, which suspended the issuance of nonimmigrant work visas (particularly J, L, and H category visas) in June of 2020 for a

The Georgia Department of Community Health Extends Deadline for Fingerprint Background Checks for Existing Staff

In May 2018, Georgia passed the Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program, which required fingerprint criminal background checks of applicants for employment and direct access employees…

Georgia DPH Revises Guidance to Long-Term Care Facilities

Written by: Brittany H. Cone, Esq. and Jordan Johnson, Esq. On September 21, 2020, the Georgia Department of Public Health revised its September 15, 2020 Administrative Order to reflect certain portions of the most recent guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The revised Administrative Order to Long-Term Care Facilities maintains the “phase-based”

Since the Celebration at Studio 417, it has been Mudpie in the Sky for COVID-19 Business Interruption Claimants

Written by: Jacob Raehn, Esq. In the final days of summer, Federal District Courts from every corner of The United States have laid down orders both for, and mostly against, allowing plaintiffs’ COVID-19 business interruption claims to continue against their insurers. Thus, making the “unprecedented times” we are living in a thing of the recent

The Georgia Department of Public Health Issues Reopening Guidance to Long-Term Care Facilities

On September 15, 2020, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued another COVID-19 related Executive Order with significant impact on Long-Term Care Facilities, including nursing facilities and assisted living communities…

Judge Strikes Down Trump Administration’s Diversity Visa Ban

Written by: Ashik Jahan, Esq. Each year, the State Department uses a lottery system to select visa recipients from a broad array of countries that are underrepresented in the United States. In April, President Trump banned diversity visa (DV) recipients from entering the country.  However, a federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to resume

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Withhold Release Orders: Avoid and Prepare

Written by: John Parkerson, Esq. and Fanny Chac The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has a responsibility to encourage importers to comply with U.S. laws and regulations and to help protect American consumers from harmful products.[1]  On July 15, 2020, CBP imposed a Withhold Release Order (“WRO”) on the subsidiaries of the world’s largest

Global Engagement in the “New Abnormal”

Hall Booth Smith international business attorney John Parkerson has been working with Pendleton Group and Global Atlanta to bring together local and international leaders for interactive, topical Zoom discussions on how communities can recast their global engagement in the “new abnormal” of the post-COVID world.  Thus far, the group has hosted four by-invitation-only sessions, each

11th Circuit Court of Appeals Holds For Third-Party Litigation Funders in Qui Tam Actions

Written by: Ricky C Benjamin, Esq., and Leanne Livingston, Esq. While False Claims Act (“FCA”) cases are expected to increase due to government funding for COVID-19 efforts, health care providers should also expect more litigation as the result of a recent 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. Ruckh v. Salus Rehabilitation sets new precedent allowing a whistleblower

Expectations In Reopening A Dental Office In Consideration of COVID-19

Written by: Sandro Stojanovic, Esq. The Georgia Board of Dentistry (“the Board”) recently issued a position statement regarding guidelines for re-opening of dental offices in light of Covid-19 issues. First, the Board requires each dental office to follow the: 1) Critical Infrastructure Guidelines, 2) American Dental Association’s (ADA) Interim Guidance for Minimizing Risk of COVID-19

New York Federal Judge Strikes Down Several Key Parts of COVID-19 Paid Leave Regulation Including The Definition of “Health Care Provider”

Written by: Jacqueline Voronov, Esq. and Jeffrey M. Daitz, Esq. In a very pro-employee ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down four (4) key provisions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) regulations implementing the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  The August

Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

Written by: Ashik R. Jahan, Esq. The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis. However, the

Another Arrow in the Quiver or a Regulatory Risk? Analyzing SB 359’s Immunities for Georgia Providers in the Fight Against COVID-19 Liability

As Georgia continues to reopen, the Georgia General Assembly’s recent passage of Senate Bill 359, known as the “Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act,” will provide relief to individuals and entities concerned with possible liability…

Insurers Win First Battle in Fight Over Business Interruption Coverage For COVID-Related Closings — Michigan Judge Issues First Decision in this Billion Dollar Insurance Coverage Fight

Written by Duane L Cochenour, Esq. and Caitlin E. Correa, Esq. Hundreds of declaratory judgment actions have been filed across the country seeking business interruption coverage for shutting down businesses due to the coronavirus. It is shaping up as one of the biggest coverage battles in years with billions of dollars of losses at stake.

Georgia’s Senior Care Reform Bill Adds COVID-19 Requirements to New Legislation for Assisted Living Communities

On June 30, 2020, Governor Kemp signed House Bill 987, known as the Senior Care Reform Bill, into law. This legislation covers numerous topics related to Assisted Living Communities that go into effect on July 1, 2021, including…

CMS Issues ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ Document On Nursing Home Visitation

Written by: Drew Graham, Esq. and Laura Hall Cartner, Esq. On June 24, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) regarding nursing homes and safe visitation to residents. While explicitly encouraging nursing homes to work with state and local authorities to maintain safety, CMS

Congress is All Talk And No Action When It Comes To Data Privacy

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. In the last fifteen (15) months, no less than six (6) data privacy Bills have been introduced in the Senate.  Two of these Bills are specifically related to data collection and use in response to COVID-19.  This does not include the Data Accountability and Transparency Act of 2020, announced by

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Potential During COVID-19 Signals Increase in Qui Tam Actions Against Healthcare Providers

Written by: Ricky C Benjamin, Esq., and Leanne Livingston, Esq. Increases in federal stimulus funding from Congress under Acts like the Provider Relief Fund, pose a real threat of Qui Tam actions under the False Claims Act against those in the healthcare industry or life sciences fields. Given the fast-paced nature of recent federal spending


Written by: Drew Graham, Esq. In May 2020, JAMDA (the official journal of the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine) published a summary about the variability in state regulations regarding infection control and pandemic response in US nursing homes. The study reviewed existing regulations for all fifty states and the District of Columbia, focusing

Trump Administration Issues New Proclamation Suspending Entry for Certain Non-Immigrants through December 31, 2020

Written by: Ashik R. Jahan, Esq. President Trump’s latest Presidential Proclamation is effective as of June 24, 2020 and suspends entry of individuals in H-1B (specialty occupation), H-2B (temporary non-agricultural and seasonal workers), L-1 (multinational intracompany transferees) and J-1 (cultural and educational exchange visitors) visa categories, as well as their dependent family members, to the

GAO Reports To Senate On Pre-COVID-19 Infection Control Deficiencies In Nursing Homes

Written by: John E. Hall, Jr., Esq. and Drew Graham, Esq. In spring 2020, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked the Government Accounting Office (“GAO”) to analyze the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (“CMS”) oversight of infection control in nursing homes. On May 20, 2020, GAO issued the first of several responsive reports, focusing on

Commercial Tenants Withholding Rent During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by: Matthew Haan, Esq. For nearly one month, Georgia was under a shelter-in-place order that only allowed “essential businesses” to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the shelter-in-place order expired at the end of April, many businesses were excited to re-open. However, in the time since Georgia began to slowly re-open its economy,

The Eye of the Storm: Preparing for Post-COVID-19 Litigation

As the initial COVID-19 crisis begins to settle, another storm will be brewing as claims and lawsuits arise. Equally concerning is that by the time these cases come to resolution or trial, memories may have faded as to how seismic the changes in healthcare delivery were at this time – regardless of federal or state protections that were put in place.

Thailand Delays Data Protection Law Because of COVID-19

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act was passed in May 2019, and was scheduled to go into effect May 27, 2020.  The Act is very similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Only a few days before the Act was to become effective, it was decided that 22 types

EDPB Issues Statement on Hungary’s Decree to Suspend Rights Bestowed to Data Subjects Under the GDPR

Written by: Brett Lawrence, Esq. On May 4, 2020, Hungary issued a governmental decree suspending the rights of data subjects under Articles 15 to 22 of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such articles include giving individuals, whose personal data has been collected, the

Brazilian LGPD Effective and Enforcement Dates in Flux

Written by: Charles R. Langhorne IV, Esq. Brazil’s new data privacy law, the “LGPD,” was set to go into effect on August 15, 2020. The LGPD is based largely on the European Union’s GDPR. Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses, the effective and enforcement dates have been delayed. Keeping track of the

COVID-19 May Worsen the Opioid Crisis

The rapid and unprecedented spread of the novel coronavirus has revealed massive gaps in our nation’s public health and support infrastructure, and some of the most vulnerable patients are those who are already fighting another epidemic: opioid addiction. In spite of extensive interventions, enormous amounts of funding, and the rapid expansion and easy availability of

Supreme Court Refuses to Stop Order to Move Inmates From Virus-Ravaged Prison

Written by: Phillip E. Friduss, Esq. Thus is the title of Adam Liptak’s New York Times coverage of the Ohio inmate transfer case, Williams v Wilson case we reported on last week. The piece begins: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused a request from the Trump administration to block a trial judge’s ruling that had ordered

An Unprecedented Time: Decarcerating and other Steps Being Taken in Georgia’s Jails and Prisons as the Result of COVID-19

Written by: Jennifer Dorminey Herzog, Esq. Because of policies of mass incarceration over the past four decades, the United States has incarcerated more people than any other country on Earth.[1]  Highly transmissible novel respiratory pathogens pose a challenge for incarcerated populations because of the ease with which they spread in congregate settings.[2]  The stage is

COVID-19 in Jails and Prisons – US Supreme Court Asked to Stay Ohio Injunction Requiring Transfer of Inmates

Written by: Phillip E. Friduss, Esq. There have now been any number of COVID-related challenges to the conditions of confinement in jails/prisons nationwide, especially with respect to the elderly inmate population.  Two weeks ago we reported on the Texas case that had made its way to the US Supreme Court.  That case, Valentine v Collier,

Do Opioid Patients Face Higher Risk During COVID-19 Treatment?

Learn more about our Opioid Task Force here. People struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD) and methamphetamine use may encounter more serious risks if they develop COVID-19 because of the way those drugs already affect their respiratory and pulmonary health. Those with substance abuse disorders are also more likely to be homeless or live in

COVID-19 And Workers’ Compensation Liability Policy Coverage

Written by: Rayford Taylor, Esq.  It has been suggested that if an employee cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits because of COVID-19, that employee might sue the employer under the employer’s liability portion of a workers’ compensation policy. For purposes of this discussion, workers’ compensation policies essentially consist of two parts.  Part One, known as Workers’

HHS Reduces Enforcement of HIPAA Violations for COVID-19 Community Based Testing Sites

Written by: Brett Lawrence, Esq.  On April 14, 2020, The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced it will exercise further enforcement discretion in easing back penalties for failing to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).  The enforcement discretion has retroactive effect beginning


Written by: Drew Graham, Esq. Most nursing homes have been functioning at the highest level of vigilance for several weeks, restricting visitation, entry of non-essential healthcare personnel, and residents’ group activities. On May 18, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) offered its first recommendations for reopening nursing homes in the wake of

USPTO Offers Free Fast Track for Small Businesses on COVID-19 Applications

Written by: Karl Braun, Esq., Justin Kerenyi, Esq., Daniel Miller, Esq., and Rodney Miller, Esq. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is giving small businesses and micro entities priority examination without the usual fees in an effort to encourage continued investment in intellectual property related to COVID-19 during the coronavirus shutdown. To qualify for the new COVID-19 Prioritized

COVID-19 Pandemic Brings Force Majeure Clause To The Center Of Contract Negotiations

Written by: H. Buckley Cole, Esq. Force majeure clauses have been commonly found in contracts, often buried with numerous  “Miscellaneous Provisions” at the back of the contract.  They were rarely negotiated or litigated over.  But that state of affairs has changed quickly and these clauses will likely receive extensive scrutiny in the coming years because

Florida Long Term Care and COVID-19 Update

Written by: J. Drew Piersa, Esq. As of May 10, 2020, 703 residents or staff members of long-term care facilities have died from coronavirus related illnesses; accounting for 41% of Florida’s COVID-19 deaths. Florida health department officials stated that 220 facilities and 23,600 residents have been tested out of Florida’s 3,800 long-term care facilities. To

European Data Protection Board Issues Guidelines On The Use of Location Data and Contact Tracing Tools In the Context of COVID-19

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Unlike the United States, where Senators are first introducing legislation to deal with the use of personal information in the context of COVID-19, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) relies on established legislation to govern the use of location data and contact tracing tools.  (Hint: the U.S. needs to pass

Senators Introduce Bill to Protect Personal Data Amidst COVID-19

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. On April 30, 2020, Republican Senators Wicker (MS), Thune (SD), Moran (KS) and Blackburn (TN), announced the introduction of the “COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act,” intended to protect health, geolocation and proximity data. These types of personal data are related to contact tracing, the process of identifying persons with whom

Telemedicine and Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Written by: Denise L. Dawson, Esq. Florida has taken steps to move forward into an enlightened age of technology but may be setting itself up for increased fraud from unscrupulous actors. As recently as last month, the State’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, issued a statement on April 7, 2020 urging health insurers to take

Florida Long Term Care and COVID-19 Update

Written by: J. Drew Piersa, Esq. As of May 10, 2020, 703 residents or staff members of long-term care facilities have died from coronavirus related illnesses; accounting for 41% of Florida’s COVID-19 deaths. Florida health department officials stated that 220 facilities and 23,600 residents have been tested out of Florida’s 3,800 long-term care facilities. To

What Should Employers Do When Employees Refuse To Return To Work For Fear Of COVID-19?

Written by: Melanie V. Slaton, Esq.,  Mariel E. Smith, Esq., and Nicholas J. Garcia, Esq. As states struggle through the process of re-opening in the wake of COVD-19, many employers are also wrestling with the question of what to do about employees who refuse work due to safety concerns or in order to take advantage

Cyber Liability Insurance Coverage During Covid-19 Pandemic

Written by: Asya-Lorrene Morgan, Esq. and C. Michael Johnson, Esq. Overnight, COVID-19 created a need for a large teleworking population, which has left businesses more vulnerable to phishing schemes and other malicious cyber activity. The recent increase in remote desktop protocols (“RPDs”) has created a 127% increase in exposure endpoints.[1] Failure to reassess cyber threats

NC Grants COVID-19 Immunity to Health Care Providers and Essential Businesses

Written by: Jeffrey Steven Warren, Esq.  Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians and policymakers alike have raised the alarm about potential legal liability for following crisis standards of care. All 50 states have issued an emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there has been extreme variation in whether states have implemented

Colliding Epidemics: COVID-19 and Opioid Addiction

Learn more about our Opioid Task Force here. With millions of Americans already struggling with opioid addiction, the coronavirus outbreak has many health care officials worried that socially marginalized people who already have underlying health conditions may be especially vulnerable to developing COVID-19. Before the coronavirus outbreak reached the United States, about 130 Americans were

Georgia Applicable State Immunity For COVID-19 Cases

Written by: Stephanie R. Amiotte, Esq. COVID-19 is a pandemic nobody was prepared for and nobody wanted to happen. Its effects on the incarcerated population, particularly those with fragile health or advanced age will likely result in increased litigation against correctional healthcare providers.  Hall Booth Smith, P.C. is dedicated to meeting the pandemic head-on in

An Unprecedented Time: De-Carcerating & Other Steps Being Taken in Georgia’s Jails and Prisons as the Result of COVID-19

Written by: Jennifer Dorminey Herzog, Esq. Because of policies of mass incarceration over the past four decades, the United States has incarcerated more people than any other country on Earth.[1]  Highly transmissible novel respiratory pathogens pose a challenge for incarcerated populations because of the ease with which they spread in congregate settings.[2]  The stage is

Remote Work and COVID-19

Written by: Daniel Richardson, Esq. and Peter Skaliy, Esq. Before COVID-19, many companies were experimenting with remote work. It has now become a widespread reality. This creates unique worker’s compensation risks, even as it may decrease the likelihood of some of the more serious or even catastrophic claims. An employee’s home environment is less subject

Governor Kemp Issues Executive Order Granting Temporary Legal Protections for Healthcare Providers During COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by: John E. Hall, Jr., Esq. and John G. Winkenwerder, Esq. Given the scale and intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not difficult to imagine the challenges healthcare providers face every day in working to treat those infected with the virus, while continuing to care for those with other medical conditions. In his


Written by: Rayford H. Taylor, Esq. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, has issued Directive 2020-05 to provide workers’ compensation coverage to “frontline state employees” who contract COVID-19.  Florida’s Risk Management Department provides workers’ compensation coverage to state employees.  The Risk Management Department will now have to provide workers’ compensation coverage to such workers who

Are Countries Willing To Bend The Privacy Rules To Track COVID-19

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Many countries are using geolocation data from phones to track COVID-19.  Singapore, the United Kingdom and Israel have developed their own apps for tracking people’s movements.  In Europe, mobile phone companies such as Vodafone, have agreed to share location data. The European Data Protection Board has appointed a group of

Estate Planning, Now as Much as Ever: Estate & Financial Planning Steps You Should Take

Written by: Wills, Trusts, & Estate Administration With the current coronavirus pandemic, what planning steps should you be taking? From an estate planning attorney’s perspective, it is actually business as usual, but perhaps with an added element of priority. Everyone’s goal right now should be first and foremost the health and safety of ourselves, our

New York’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Act Is Here

Written by: Charles R. Langhorne IV, Esq. The COVID-19 world that we are living in is has changed the perspective of many businesses from proactive to reactive. Businesses (rightly so) are concerned with making payroll so that their employees can continue to pay their mortgages as opposed to preparing the company for impending data privacy

Security Advice for Zoom Videoconferencing

Written by: Sean Cox, Esq. The COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread shelter in place orders have, temporarily at least, changed how humans interact. Luckily, there are more options today than ever before which allow many to maintain a modicum of normalcy. Companies, schools, churches, families, and friends have turned to video conferencing solutions to stay

The Health Care Provider Exemption to Emergency Paid Sick Leave in the Families First Coronavirus Act

Written by: Jacqueline Voronov, Esq. and Jeffrey M. Daitz, Esq.  On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) into law.  The FFCRA modified the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and created a new paid sick leave policy to assist workers who contract COVID-19, are caring for family members with

COVID-19 Deemed a Compensable Injury by the Legislature in Minnesota

Written by: Peter Skaily, Esq. There has been extensive literature published in the past few weeks across the United States explaining the reasons that COVID-19 is (for most, if not all, states) not a covered “accident” and “injury” under the given state’s workers’ compensation laws. However, on April 7, 2020, the Minnesota Legislature removed all

H-1B Wage Obligations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by: Ashik R. Jahan, Esq. With the growing uncertainty of what impact COVID-19 will have on local businesses from an economic standpoint, many businesses are unsure of how they will maintain day-to-day operations. There may be an added uncertainty to employers that sponsor H-1B workers.  Lay-offs, furloughs, reduced wages, and even termination of employees

COVID-19’s Effect on SSDI Status Inquiries

Written by: Ann Bishop, Esq. Effective March 17, 2020, all Social Security Administration field offices were closed to the public in an effort to slow the growing rate of COVID-19 sufferers.  In response to the field office closure, the Social Security Administration is not providing information about Social Security Disability Insurance status to third parties. 

Gun Store Owner Sues Over Shelter-In-Place Ordinance

Written by: Phillip E. Friduss, Esq. Gun store Clyde Armory has sued Athens-Clarke County, Georgia over its shelter-in-place ordinance. The suit claims that that the ordinance is an overstep of power and violates the equal protection and due process clauses as well as the right to bear arms in both the U.S. and Georgia constitutions.

California Attorney General Fiddles While Rome Burns

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq.  On March 17 a coalition of 35 advertising groups sent California Attorney General Xavier Becerra a letter calling for a delay in the enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) because of COVID-19.  Enforcement of the CCPA is currently scheduled to begin July 1.  The Attorney General’s office refused

COVID-19 and Force Majeure in International Commercial Contracts

Written by: John E. Parkerson, Jr., Esq. Force majeure clauses often are ignored as simple boilerplate of little importance relative to the underlying “business deal.”  Not to unduly alarm, but a force majeure clause is important, especially during times like those we are experiencing.  This clause generally includes language that defines the kinds of occurrences

Useful Guide For The New Leave Entitlements Under FFCRA

Written by: Phillip E. Friduss, Esq. Below is the most useful guide we have located on The New Leave Entitlements Under FFCRA – Issues Unique to the Public Sector: COVID-19 Resource.  There is an outstanding and helpful Question and Answer section.  If you have any questions please reach out to Phil Friduss or any other

Paying Indemnity Benefits and Other Common Scenarios in Light of COVID-19 in Georgia

Written by: Meredith Knight, Esq. Last week, we posted our conclusions regarding the compensability, or really, lack thereof, regarding COVID-19 in the workplace as specifically pertaining to the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. What follows are three common scenarios employers currently experience that raise further questions about COVID-19 in the workplace. First, please review our initial

Business Interruption – COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has affected businesses all over America. The forced closing and limitation of operations is likely to lead businesses to turn to every possible source of economic relief – one of the most likely being business interruption insurance.

USCIS Announces Temporary Suspension of All Routine In-Person Visits Due to COVID-19

Written by: Ashik Jahan, Esq., and Cody Hendrix USCIS has announced that it will temporarily suspend all routine in-person visits to help slow the spread of COVID-19. They will suspend such meetings until at least April 1, 2020. All non in-person duties will continue, this only applies to routine in-person meetings. USCIS will send notice

ACOG Provides Guidance to Healthcare Practitioners Whose Patients Are “At-Risk” For Coronavirus Disease-2019

Written by: Ryan Donihue, Esq. With the focus of the global pandemic principally on older adults and those who have serious underlying medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, asthma and lung disease), another significant group of individuals have essentially been left out of the discussion who are at an even higher risk for developing severe

HHS Releases Bulletin Waiving Certain Provisions of HIPAA

Written by: Chase Langhorne, Esq. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released a bulletin this week waiving sanctions and penalties as of March 15, 2020 for non-compliance with certain provisions of HIPAA. The waiver centers around allowing people on the front lines to adequately handle and manage COVID-19 cases. Specifically, HHS is

The Department of Health and Human Services Issues Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (“PREP Act”)

Written by: Christopher Eads, Esq. The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently issued a declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (“PREP Act”) Act to provide immunity to liability for activities related to medical countermeasures against the coronavirus(COVID-19). The declaration is effective retroactively to February 4, 2020. Executive Summary Under the declaration,

Hospitality Industry Faces Multifront Crisis Amid COVID-19 Outbreak: Key Considerations for Stakeholders

Written by: James R. Embrey, Esq., and John G. Winkenwerder, Esq. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has spread to at least 95 countries and has sickened more than 100,000 people, leading to increased anxiety and confusion across the globe. As governments continue to ramp up safety related restrictions and the populace forgoes travel for isolation in

Workers’ Compensations and Compensability of the COVID-19 Virus in Georgia

Written by: Meredith Knight, Esq. Over the past week, multiple questions have arisen regarding whether contracting COVID-19 is a compensable workers’ compensation event.  The answer will almost always be no.  In a few very fact-intensive cases, the answer may be yes. This article discusses the compensability of viruses in Georgia, as well as the unique


Written by: Jacqueline Voronov, Esq., Jeffrey M. Daitz, Esq., and Christopher Eads, Esq. Perhaps bipartisan bills really do exist? On March 14, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Emergency Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“EFCRA”), a sweeping bill aiming to soften the economic blow that many Americans are expected to feel as stores close,

USCIS Statement Regarding COVID-19 and the New Public Charge Rule

Written by Ashik Jahan, Esq. and Cody Hendrix USCIS has issued a statement informing immigrants who get tested or treated for COVID-19 that they will not be punished when seeking immigration benefits under the new public charge rule that was ushered in by the Trump Administration and went into effect on February 24, 2020.  Under

Secretary of Health and Human Services Signs Federal Declaration Providing Immunity to Healthcare Workers from COVID-19 Claims

Written by: Sandra Mekita Cianflone, Esq. During this growing epidemic, the last thing healthcare workers want to think about it is potential litigation for any care and treatment rendered to patients who contract COVID-19. On March 10, 2020, the Secretary of Health and Human Services signed a Declaration providing healthcare workers immunity from COVID-19 claims

Can a Business Be Held Liable for Employees or Customers Who Allegedly Contracted COVID-19 (Coronavirus) While On Their Property?

Written by: James Embrey, Esq. and Anthony Petrozza, Esq. A woman sneezes several times as she goes up and down the aisles to do her grocery shopping. Across town, three people on the housekeeping crew at a hotel develop fevers while cleaning guest rooms. At a restaurant nearby, the cook asks to leave in the

Coronavirus & the Workplace: Fast Facts for Employers

Written by: Jacqueline Voronov, Esq.  and Jeffrey M. Daitz, Esq. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China has spread to at least 95 countries and has sickened more than 100,000 people, leading to increased anxiety and confusion across the globe.  Amidst fears of potential business disruption, the spread of this novel virus serves