Showing 8 posts from June 2018.

Prescription Monitoring Programs, Patient Privacy & SCOTUS

In a previous post, we discussed how the opiate crisis has been blurring the lines in historic health policy, most recently as it comes to the tenability of taxes and fees on medications. Let’s now put on another pair of glasses and look at health policy through the eyes of law enforcement, particularly as it pertains to the prescription monitoring program, patient privacy, and House Bill 458

House Bill 458 is a short bill. The meat of it is an innocuous strike-through of four words from the prescription monitoring program statute: “by an identified suspect.” Before we jump into exactly why that matters, let’s set a little context.

What’s a prescription monitoring program (PMP, or, in some states, a PDMP – Prescription Drug Monitoring Program)? Simply put, it’s a database of all controlled substances prescribed and dispensed to patients in Delaware. As section 4798 of Title 16 of the Delaware Code states, “It is the intent of the General Assembly that the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Act established pursuant to this section serves as a means to promote public health and welfare and to detect the illegal use of controlled substances. The Delaware Prescription Monitoring Act shall have the dual purpose of reducing misuse and diversion of controlled substances in the State while promoting improved professional practice and patient care.” More ›

Allyson DiRocco to Talk with First Healthcare Compliance on the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted In ADA, Health Care

First Healthcare ComplianceTune in July 16th to hear Morris James LLP employment attorney Allyson Britton DiRocco & Catherine Short of First Healthcare Compliance discussing the Americans with Disabilities Act (for employers) on 1st Talk Compliance - a HealthcareNow Radio talk show. Recorded versions will air 7:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 11:30 pm daily M-F for a month.

Kimberly Hoffman to Present on Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law

Morris James partner Kimberly Hoffman will speak at The National Business Institute Zoning and Land Use Law Seminar on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware.  Click here to view full program details and registration information.

More ›

Marijuana Legalization – Probably Still Not Yet

With the primary senate sponsor of House Bill 110, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, retiring this year, it remains to be seen if there will be any last-minute legalization of the adult use of cannabis in Delaware. While in the down-revenue budget last year marijuana was touted as a $22 million budget-booster, in the up-revenue budget this year the legislature is seeing green, but it doesn’t seem to be marijuana. However, a June amendment after a series of eight task force meetings makes it clear that the advocates and sponsors are not backing down from their goal.

The amendment is long and winding. It makes adjustments from the task force meetings through sales tracking, dollars to law enforcement, clarifications of implications for employment, and banning of candy to curtail concerns about children’s use. It’s a loud amendment, getting more press attention than nearly all filed bills short of gun control. More ›

Opiates – The Power to Tax

Posted In Health Care

The multi-year effort to address the addiction crisis, specifically opiates in recent years, continues in earnest. Some policies do seem to be working: as reported by Delaware officials in April, opiate prescriptions are down 14%. The larger addiction public health crisis continues, however, with the News Journal estimating that one person a day still dies from overdose in Delaware. The legislature, the Behavioral Health Consortium led by Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, and Attorney General Matt Denn have not let up in their efforts. This year, a new tactic is coming to the forefront: taxes and fees. More ›

Guns, Guns, and Guns – Tarasoff 3.0?

Gun Control

No topic has been hotter in the Delaware legislature this year than gun control. Some view gun violence as a public health crisis and several industry groups have taken positions on the various gun bills. While we’ll briefly touch on some of the broader subjects being discussed, we’re going to hone in on how legislation this session has the potential to change the Delaware healthcare landscape in terms of healthcare professionals’ reporting requirements. Right now our general overall summary of the session from a tangle of proposals (with a few weeks to go) can be summed up as: yes red flag laws, maybe with many caveats on gun accessories, and no to weapon bans. Our major recommendation so far to the Delaware healthcare industry is that mental health professionals seek legal guidance in revamping their policies and procedures for dealing with patients who may be a danger to themselves.

The total number of filings on bump stocks, magazine sizes, purchase age, bans, and protection orders has already reached the double digits. While most of these bills that make it to the agenda clear the Democratic supermajority House, they seem to be stalling in the Senate – a la SB 163 the assault weapon ban that failed to even get out of committee – or get “ping ponged” back to the House with new wrinkles and amendments. Perhaps a reminder that the Senate is a one-vote Democratic majority and that Delaware is in many ways a purple state.  One bill emerged as a clear exception to all the rules. House Bill 302, the “Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act” sponsored by Representative David Bentz, mustered unanimous votes and was signed into law in April. Known as a “red flag” law, it is the successor to House Bill 88 of 2013 which was proposed out of then-Attorney General Beau Biden’s office. House Bill 88 passed the House unanimously, but failed in the Senate. More ›

Primary Care on the Brink

Posted In Health Care

Continuing the Morris James’ government relations team’s seven days of updates on the 149th Legislative session with today’s topic: where is Delaware when it comes to foundational health policy? 

Under the Markell administration Delaware received a $35 million State Innovation Model (SIM) grant from the federal government to transform its delivery system. A lot of work went into strategies surrounding healthy neighborhoods, healthcare IT, workforce, practice transformation, and the shift away from fee for service using tools like common scorecards for quality metrics. Some dollars were committed to actual implementation, but the SIM grant’s strongest value to the state was in planning and sharing stakeholder vision. 

When Governor Carney entered office in 2016 his focus moved away from the SIM conversation and into his own vision of the healthcare benchmark (more on this when the administration’s report comes out at the end of the month). It started a related, but new conversation about how to put downward pressure on the overall healthcare cost inflation rate.  More ›

Let’s Talk Healthcare Law June 30th – The 149th Delaware General Assembly Deadline

Posted In Legislation, News

Over the course of the next few weeks Morris James is going to tell you everything you need to know about healthcare bills that should be on your radar as we close out this legislative session. Guns, mental health, opiates, primary care reform, marijuana, and “the Benchmark” are all on the radar screen. If the world was created in seven days, we can give you that many days of posts to set the healthcare law table on the 149th on each of these topics.  Of course, there are always a few “June Surprises” as well that we’ll stay on top of for you.

First, to understand these bills, let’s place them in the right historic context; nothing does that like the budget. In the words of Delaware’s own Vice President Joe Biden, “Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”  So this first post will be about the 2018 Budget and “one time investments.”  After the 2017 “shared sacrifice” budget battle and cuts that led to the first late budget in nearly fifty years, it is hard now to reconcile that the state has nearly $430 million in “surplus” revenue as we enter the final month of the 149th Session. For many legislators, this is the first session in their careers that is not predicated on finding cuts and generating revenue. In that context, Governor Carney has been strongly urging caution.  “One-time revenues for one-time investments” is the mantra from the executive branch. Governor Carney consistently urges that the fundamental budget still has long-term structural flaws and that putting budget dollars into continued programming may lead to the legislature having to cut that very same programming in the near future.  More ›