Showing 16 posts by A. Kimberly Hoffman.
Like other states, in order to help Delawareans maintain access to critical medical services, the First State’s COVID-19 related emergency declaration and subsequent modifications embraced telehealth. Governor Carney’s Declaration of a State of Emergency, and accompanying modifications (2, 8, and 10) throughout the months of March and April expanded telehealth services in unprecedented ways, removing barriers such as the requirement that a first visit to a physician providing telehealth services take place in person. Now, the General Assembly has stepped in with House Substitute No. 1 for House Bill 348, signed by the Governor on July 17, 2020, which will not expire until July 1, 2021. More ›Share
On Thursday, May 14th the Delaware General Assembly announced plans to virtually reconvene. Leveraging a Delaware Constitutional amendment made in 2018 allowing for sessions to take place in alternative locations during an emergency, the sessions will be broadcast via YouTube, which will be posted on the General Assembly’s website.
The first virtual session will be broadcast on Tuesday, May 26th in which the House will pass the concurrent resolution to remove any impediments to conducting a virtual meeting. The Senate will convene virtually on Wednesday, May 27th to pass the same House concurrent resolution and consider several gubernatorial nominations. The Joint Finance Committee hearing dates will be announced at a future date. *
Additional virtual sessions will be announced in the coming weeks, allowing the General Assembly to meet its Constitutional obligation to pass a balanced budget by June 30th. Leadership has also signaled there may be special sessions in the fall. More ›Share
On May 30, NAMIWalks will be a virtual experience where participants get to walk a 5K through their neighborhood, around the backyard, on a treadmill. Anything meaningful and fun to celebrate the virtual walk day is acceptable. Morris James will have a virtual walk team to continue our long-time support of NAMI Delaware. Anyone who would like to get involved in this worthy cause can find more information by clicking here, and friends of the firm are welcome to join our walk team! Please contact team captain Edward McNally at 302.888.6880 for more information.
NAMI Delaware is the largest provider of housing for those with persistent and serious mental illness in the State of Delaware. NAMI supports and advocates for Delaware families who must navigate the mental health system, all at no cost to its clients. NAMI also provides Crisis Intervention Training to law enforcement agencies, helping them to help those in crisis and our veterans in need.
As the nation sees the devastating respiratory impacts of COVID-19 on the population, Morris James LLP government relations client Tobacco Free Kids, makes the connection between flattening the curve and keeping vaping shops closed as non-essential businesses in this op ed appearing in the Denver Post. Over the long-term, Delaware’s policy-makers will need to examine whether vaping exacerbated lung injuries during the crisis and consider stronger measures to keep kids from vaping, such as removing flavored tobacco products from the market. If your organization has upcoming legislative or policy priorities in this challenging environment, contact the Government Relations Group at Morris James LLP. More ›Share
Delaware Healthcare Businesses Note: Small Business Administration Releases Details of COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program
Details regarding the SBA’s program just became available. Delaware’s doctors and other healthcare related businesses are struggling as elective procedures and non-essential appointments get cancelled, so some of the key features may be very attractive: More ›Share
What do Delaware’s Latest Orders Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak Mean to the Healthcare Industry and Patients?
Delaware Governor John Carney issued two modifications to his State of Emergency declaration on March 22, 2020. Starting Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Delawareans must stay at home whenever possible and all non-essential businesses in Delaware must close. The new set of orders is intended to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the state, which had 56 confirmed cases at the time the orders issued. More ›Share
Last Friday, March 13, 2020, I warned those seeking land use approvals or building permits for a new or existing healthcare use in New Castle County, Delaware that the Department of Land Use has imposed new guidelines on doing business with the department in the wake of the coronavirus. Among other measures, Board of Adjustment and Planning Board hearings are now suspended until April 10, 2020. As of late Friday, the New Castle County Council, which is the final stop for approving major land development plans and rezoning ordinances, cancelled the Land Use Committee meeting for March 17, 2020. As of now, a Council meeting is still scheduled for March 31, 2020. As potential disruptions to real estate project timelines and ability to move forward pile up, it’s time to pause and consider how to make these and future barriers less impactful to a project. It may not be possible to avoid all impact, but like the spread of the Coronavirus itself, it may be possible to ‘flatten the curve’ so that the delays do not spike suddenly into an irreversible problem for a project already, or soon to be, underway. More ›Share
Seeking land use approvals or building permits for a new or existing healthcare use in New Castle County? The Department of Land Use has imposed new guidelines on doing business with the department in the wake of the coronavirus that could impact your timelines and ability to move forward. Significantly, all land-use hearings are suspended until April 10, 2020. For new applications, that might mean delays, and will certainly mean crowded agendas in May. The rest of the guidance is attached. If you have concerns over a specific project, our expert land-use attorneys are ready to help. Stay safe and healthy!Share
Delaware Government and Legislative Update: State of Emergency Declared and Legislature to Remain Recessed in Response to COVID-19
The Delaware General Assembly will not return for Joint Finance Committee hearings on March 17, 2020. The current legislative recess is extended until at least March 24, 2020. As of this Friday, March 13, 2020, Legislative Hall is closed to the public. A full list of cancelled legislative meetings is here: https://legis.delaware.gov/. If you have business before the General Assembly this session, attorney Kimberly Hoffman would be glad to talk with you about these uncharted waters. More ›Share
Proactive Legal Steps to Consider and Legislative Things to Watch as Delaware Sees its First COVID-19 Case Confirmed
Today, Delaware lost its status as the only state on the east coast without a COVID-19 case. Even before the public announcement was made, the University of Delaware moved all of its classes online, the Health Law section of the Delaware State Bar Association postponed its CLE, businesses made contingency plans to move its workforce remote, and the state set up an online resource center for all the latest and greatest information and a hotline (1-866-408-1899). The Speaker and Pro Tem put out guidance that changes to the legislative session calendar may be necessary as well, noting, “Since this is a shifting situation, we must remain flexible and our response could change depending on the circumstances. The most important thing we can do now is prepare for a variety of possibilities, up to and including the potential postponement of session. To that end, we are currently discussing the logistics of implementing such a decision and how staff could work from home, if necessary.” More ›Share
Delaware Superior Court Enforces Noncompetition Covenant Against Physician Placed on “Garden Leave” Following Notice of voluntary Termination of Employment
The Delaware Superior Court has rejected the effort of a physician, bound by a noncompetition covenant with his former practice group, to argue that the covenant was unenforceable because the practice placed him on “garden leave” during the final four-and-a-half months of the contract’s mandatory six-month notice period. During a typical garden leave, the departing physician would get paid, but he or she could not practice.
The Court ruled that the physician’s effort to repudiate his noncompetition obligations by bringing suit against his former practice constituted an anticipatory breach of the physician’s obligation to pay liquidated damages as a result of going into prohibited competition with the practice following his departure. This case sets a new Delaware precedent, as no Delaware court has formerly decided garden leave could be used when the covenant did not authorize it expressly, but rather gave the practice broad enforcement authority. More ›Share
Here’s a first look at Governor Carney’s State of the State today, January 17. Plenty of air time on a wide range of healthcare issues, including spending benchmarks, addiction, mental health, raising the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21, and even prison healthcare system reform. All in all an ambitious agenda for the 2019 legislative session.Share
Budget Impasse Leads to Health Cuts & “Sin” Taxes
By 1:30 a.m. on July 3rd, the Governor had signed a budget. It included litany of cuts, including several in healthcare. Public health programs were cut 10%, including funding for prescription drug abuse prevention, needle exchange, immunizations, infant mortality, cancer counseling, and nurse-family partnerships. Also included was $5 million in unspecified “savings” from Medicaid, to be determined by Secretary Walker. However, the DIMER/DIDER/DIVME program, which reserves slots for medical training for Delawareans in neighboring states’ schools, was restored after being cut two years ago. More ›Share
The Kentmere Nursing Home located at Lovering Avenue and Lincoln Street plans to alleviate the shortage of on-street parking in the neighborhood by adding an additional 11 off-street spaces as well as an ambulance bay. Kentmere Executive Director Eileen Mahler explains, "Kentmere's residents are more medically complex than in the past and require more off-site transportation to the hospital and doctors' appointments, so the need for the covered drop-off bay will serve existing needs. Too often our van and ambulances have to park and unload on the street." The 21 off-street spaces Kentmere has on Union Street are 44 spaces short of what the modern City of Wilmington Code requires, so the turnaround area for the ambulance will also contain parking spaces, according to Kimberly Hoffman, Esquire, of Morris James LLP, attorneys for Kentmere. More ›Share
I attended Cerner's global gathering of health care professionals beginning October 12 in Kansas City. We discussed the future of health care, innovations, and best practices. Cerner’s own blog recaps major events and themes. Delaware had a strong contingent in attendance. Cerner provides health care IT services to Christiana Care and many of Delaware’s other hospitals and physician groups. The relationship between Delaware’s health care community and Cerner expanded as the movement to create electronic medical records (EMR) has accelerated. As a result, Cerner now handles over 70% of Delawareans’ EMR. Delaware connects more electronic patient records with health care providers and labs than any other state through its health information exchange, or HIE, known as the Delaware Health Information Network (the DHIN). The DHIN’s COO, Randy Farmer, explained the DHIN’s role and vision in a recent News Journal Op Ed.