In The News

President Biden Seeks to Regulate (and Potentially Ban) Non-Competes

By Scott McDonald, Michael Lotito, Melissa McDonagh, Jim Paretti and Jim Witz

On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued his Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. Earlier in the day, the White House issued a press release announcing that the anticipated order would, “[m]ake it easier to change jobs and help raise wages by banning or limiting non-compete agreements and unnecessary, cumbersome occupational licensing requirements that impede economic mobility.” Now that the executive order has been issued, employers are wondering: are noncompete agreements with employees now illegal as a result of President Biden’s order?  Short answer – No – but employers should be on alert.

More aspirational in nature, President Biden’s order creates a new White House Competition Council and directs federal regulators to address a long list of different competition-related concerns – only one of which is noncompete agreements.  In essence, President Biden’s executive order directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pursue a rulemaking process that would ban or limit the use of noncompete agreements as a matter of federal law.  At this time, it is unclear whether the FTC will propose very broad limitations that could potentially ban all employee noncompete agreements, or whether the agency will take a more targeted approach, limiting regulation to restrict the use of noncompetes with lower-income employees (as several states have done), or certain employment sectors.

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Telehealth use stabilizing at 38 times pre-COVID-19 levels, McKinsey says

Healthcare Dive/ By Rebecca Pifer

Dive Brief:

  • Telehealth use overall has stabilized at levels 38 times higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from 13% to 17% of visits across all specialties, according to new data from McKinsey released roughly a year since the first major spike in COVID-19 cases.
  • Of all the office visits and outpatient care the consultancy originally projected would be done virtually last year, more than two-thirds are actually being conducted virtually.
  • And though usage has dropped slightly since its peak in spring 2020, patient and physician attitudes toward telehealth have improved. About 40% of surveyed consumers said they planned to continue using telehealth moving forward, up from 11% prior to COVID-19.

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Bill Would Create New Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program

Inside Health Policy/ By Maya Goldman
  
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) introduced a bill earlier this month that would create a long-term care insurance model using a public-private partnership, and he hopes to get the bill included in the upcoming reconciliation package, according to a spokesperson. Unlike previous long-term care insurance legislation, the bill includes a way to finance the insurance and outlines plans for an education campaign.
 
Suozzi’s bill would establish a Federal Long-Term Care Trust Fund to pay for catastrophic long-term care for those needing many years of services. The bill seeks to amend the Social Security Act to provide long-term care insurance benefits to people who have reached retirement age and have a chronic illness for at least one year or until death, so long as they’ve applied for long-term care insurance benefits and have contributed to the Federal Long-Term Care Trust Fund for at least six quarters.
 
The trust fund would be made possible by worker and employer contributions of 0.3% of wages, paid through a social insurance tax. Self-employed people would be taxed at 0.6% of income.
 
The bill would direct Congress to appropriate $12 million in fiscal years 2022, 2023 and 2024 to initially set up the fund and pay out first benefits. The bill also requests Congress appropriate $50 million for public education related to long-term care. These initial appropriations would be paid back within 10 years after the first appropriations are made.
 
The full benefit paid out to consumers would be around $3,600 a month to start and would be adjusted for inflation, should the bill be enacted. Consumers would receive benefits in cash to use for paying home aides, nursing facility fees or other services.
 
There would be a waiting period between the onset of a disability and long-term care benefits setting in. Those with lower incomes, up to the 40th percentile, would be eligible for benefits after a one-year waiting period, while those with higher incomes would have longer waiting periods adjusted for their income percentile.
 
This waiting period should allow private long-term care insurance to become more affordable and comprehensive, said Joanne Lynn, a health and aging policy fellow who authored the bill with Suozzi’s office. Instead of needing to insure people for the duration of their time in long-term care, private companies could offer customizable plans that insure for just a few years, allowing prices to come down, she said.
 

Medicare telehealth access preserved in physician pay rule—for now

Modern Healthcare/ By MICHAEL BRADY  
 
CMS wants to make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to use telehealth services, improve its diabetes prevention program and overhaul its Quality Payment Program, according to the proposed 2022 Medicare physician fee schedule released on Tuesday.
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS temporarily allowed Medicare providers to deliver a wide range of healthcare services via telehealth until the public health emergency ends. Now, many patients, providers and lawmakers want to make those changes permanent. But some experts worry that CMS doesn't have enough information about how those expanded telehealth services affect the Medicare program and its beneficiaries in terms of healthcare use and quality.
 
As a result, CMS plans to allow Medicare providers to offer certain services via telehealth until the end of 2023 to alleviate concerns on both sides. The idea is to create a glide path for consumers and providers while the agency decides whether to add those services to the telehealth list permanently.
 
"Over the past year, the public health emergency has highlighted the disparities in the U.S. health care system, while at the same time demonstrating the positive impact of innovative policies to reduce these disparities," CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a news release. "CMS aims to take the lessons learned during this time and move forward toward a system where no patient is left out, and everyone has access to comprehensive quality health services."
 
In addition, CMS will allow all Medicare patients to access telehealth services from their homes, as called for in the spending package Congress passed in December. The agency also wants to enable Medicare to pay for mental health visits via telehealth services provided through community health centers...

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Submit Your Nomination for the 2021 PT & PTA of the Year Awards!

Please submit your nomination below for the APTA Colorado Chapter Outstanding PT and PTA of the Year Awards! All nominees must be current members of the APTA Colorado Chapter. Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday, July 28. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at [email protected]

Click here to submit your nomination!

 
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