Providers seek answers to wide-ranging legal concerns

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John Durso and Katie Arnholt
John Durso and Katie Arnholt

Payment arrangements, coding, referrals and stretching employees' work days were all high-profile topics at the Legal Issues Forum on Monday at the LeadingAge PEAK conference.

Panelists included Frederick E. Preis, an attorney at Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson LLP in New Orleans; Katie Arnholt, Deputy Branch Chief of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and McKnight's Ask a Legal Expert columnist John Durso, a partner with Nixon Peabody LLP in Chicago.

Arnholt noted common high-risk areas for skilled nursing facilities include medically unnecessary and inappropriate rehab, systematic substandard care and receipt of kickbacks and referrals.

Durso delved into the implications of accountable care organizations and contracts, and Preis discussed new regulations under employment law, including stricter OSHA reporting requirements. These include needing to report if one or more employees has been hospitalized for a work-related injury.

Additionally, “the government is expanding the idea of ‘what is work,” which can cause an organization to potentially face overtime charges, Preis explained.

“Emails, voicemails are work,” which impacts non-exempt employees who are working in off-hours, he added.

“Remote work is work,” he furthered, nothing that accounting and marketing employees are among those commonly checking email over the weekends or evenings. Administrators need to discuss such activities in off-hours beforehand with non-exempt employees, Preis cautioned.