Articles Posted in Health Law

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In these consolidated appeals, plaintiff challenged the regulations implementing the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act, 42 U.S.C. 300gg-13(a), arguing that the regulations’ accommodation for nonprofit organizations with a religious objection to providing contraceptive coverage violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. 2000bb, et seq. The court concluded that the regulations do not substantially burden plaintiffs' religious exercise and, alternatively, because (1) the government has compelling interests to justify the accommodation, and (2) the accommodation is the least restrictive means of furthering those interests. The court rejected EWTN’s challenges under the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses because the accommodation is a neutral, generally applicable law that does not discriminate based on religious denomination. The court also rejected EWTN’s challenge under the Free Speech Clause because any speech restrictions that may flow from the accommodation are justified by a compelling governmental interest and are thus constitutional. View "Eternal Word Television Network v. Secretary" on Justia Law

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LabMD appealed the district court's dismissal of its challenges to the FTC's ability to regulate and conduct enforcement proceedings in the area of healthcare data privacy, arguing that the FTC's enforcement action violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 704; is ultra vires; and is unconstitutional. The court held that the FTC's order denying LabMD's motion to dismiss was not a "final agency action," as required of claims made under the APA and, therefore, those claims were properly dismissed. The court also concluded that LabMD's other claims are intertwined with its APA claim for relief and may only be heard at the end of the administrative hearing. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's order dismissing the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. View "LabMD, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission" on Justia Law

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Relator filed a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that healthcare clinics provided, and the Humana defendants either knew of or promoted, a variety of free services for patients and health plan members. Relator alleged that the clinics offered such services without regard for medical purpose or financial need and that the value of the services is more than nominal. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the amended complaint with prejudice where, under the prior or amended version of section 3730 of the FCA, relator cannot overcome the public disclosure bar. View "Osheroff v. Humana Inc." on Justia Law

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Kawa filed suit challenging the Treasury's decision to postpone the enforcement of the employer mandate provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), 26 U.S.C. 4980H, and sought a declaratory judgment and injunction setting aside the Treasury's transition relief. Kawa had expended time and money to determine how to comply with the employer mandate between early 2013 and the end of June 2013. After Kawa incurred these expenses, the Treasury announced it would not enforce the mandate for a transition period of one year - until the end of 2014. The Treasury then extended the transition relief for certain employers, including Kawa, for a second year. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint because Kawa lacked Article III standing where Kawa failed to allege an injury in fact, a causal connection, and a likelihood of success. View "Kawa Orthodontics, LLP v. Secretary, U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a Florida resident, wanted to file suit against his doctor for medical negligence. Before filing suit, plaintiff had to comply with Florida's presuit requirements. At issue was whether the presuit authorizations in Fla. Stat. 766.1065, requiring that plaintiff execute a written authorization form for release from protected health information, is preempted by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 45 C.F.R. 164.508, 164.5. The court concluded that the written authorization form required in section 766.1065 fully complied with HIPAA and, therefore, there was no federal preemption of section 766.1065. The court reversed the judgment of the district court holding otherwise. View "Murphy v. Dulay, et al." on Justia Law

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Astellas holds patents on a cardiac test and sells its unpatented pharmaceutical product, Adenoscan, for using during that test. The Medical Center, which conducts cardiac tests, filed suit under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, alleging that Astellas is able to overcharge the Medical Center for the Adenoscan product by unlawfully tying the patented right to perform the patented cardiac test to the purchase of the unpatented Adenoscan. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing the Medical Center's request to certify a class seeking damages against Astellas for unlawful tying because the direct purchaser rule precludes the Medical Center's own treble damages claim. The district court also did not abuse its discretion in refusing to certify the class for purposes of seeking injunctive and declaratory relief. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "Lakeland Regional Medical Center v. Astellas US, LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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The Hospital filed suit against various federal agencies and officials, seeking a declaratory judgment that 18 U.S.C. 4006(b)(1), where Congress has elected to impose the Medicare rate as full compensation for medical services rendered to federal detainees, is unconstitutional as applied. The court concluded that the Hospital voluntarily opted into the Medicare program and is, as a result, required to provide emergency services to federal detainees. Consequently, the Hospital was foreclosed from challenging this compensation scheme as an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment. The court noted that the Hospital's most effective remedy may lie with Congress rather than the courts. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action.View "Baker County Medical Services v. U.S. Attorney General, et al." on Justia Law

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The State appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment and an injunction in favor of plaintiffs, enjoining enforcement of Florida's Firearm Owners Privacy Act, Fla. Stat. 381.026, 456.072, 790.338, on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The Act seeks to protect patients' privacy by restricting irrelevant inquiry and record-keeping by physicians regarding firearms. The court concluded that plaintiffs have standing to challenge the Act and plaintiffs' claims are ripe for adjudication; the Act is a legitimate regulation of professional conduct where the Act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient's care, and any burden the Act places on physician speech is incidental; and the Act is not unconstitutionally vague when the Act is properly understood as a regulation of physician conduct intended to protect patient privacy and curtail abuses of the physician-patient relationship, and it is readily apparent from the language of the Act the type of conduct the Act prohibits. Accordyingly, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment and vacated the injunction.View "Wollschlaeger, et al. v. Governor State of FL, et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioner sought review of a decision awarding benefits to a miner's widow under the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C. 901 et seq. The court found, after reviewing petitioner's arguments and the relevant law, that nothing precludes a new benefits claim by a survivor whose previous application was denied under the pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA), Pub. L. No. 111-148, section 1556, 124 Stat. 119, 260, version of the Black Lung Benefits Act. Thus, the court held that a survivor who filed a claim before January 1, 2005 may submit a new claim that must be adjudicated under the post-ACA statutory provisions. The court denied the petition for review and affirmed the award of benefits. View "Jim Walter Resources, Inc. v. Director, OWCP, et al." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendant, in her official capacity as Interim Secretary for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), alleging that defendant violated the Medicaid Act, 42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq., by denying Medicaid coverage of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) to treat plaintiffs' autism spectrum disorders. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a permanent injunction that overruled AHCA's determination that ABA was experimental and required Medicaid coverage of this treatment. However, because the language in the injunction's final sections was out of step with the district court's analysis and what was actually decided, the court vacated the injunction in part and remanded to the district court to modify Paragraphs 2 and 6. View "Garrido, et al. v. Interim Secretary, FL Agency for Health Care Admin." on Justia Law