Statutes in U.S. Healthcare System

The healthcare field is the subject of a host of federal statutes, regulations, guidelines, interpretive information, and model guidance. There are a considerable number of statutes and regulations that have an impact on the delivery of healthcare services. A statute is legislative enactment that has been signed into law. A statute either directs someone to take action, grants authority to act in certain situations, or to refrain from doing so. Statutes are not self-enforcing. Someone must be authorized to do so to take action. A statute may authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to take action, and it is up to the department to implement the law. Regulations, or rules, are made by administrative personnel to whom legislatures have delegated such responsibilities. It is a tool for developing policies, procedures, and practice routines that track the expectations of regulatory agencies and departments. The statutory and regulatory requirements are subject to judicial interpretation.

A very important element of healthcare management is to understand the key regulatory environment. One government statute that effects patient healthcare is the Anti-Kickback Statute. The Medicare and Medicaid Patient Protection Act of 1987 (the “Anti-Kickback Statute”), has been enacted to prevent healthcare providers from inappropriately profiting from referrals. The government regards any type of incentive for a referral as a potential violation of this law because the opportunity to reap financial benefits may tempt providers to make referrals that are not medically necessary, thereby driving up healthcare costs and potentially putting patient’s health at risk. The Anti-Kickback statute is a criminal statute. Originally enacted almost 30 years ago, the statute prohibits any knowing or willful solicitation or acceptance of any type of remuneration to induce referrals for health services that are reimbursable by the Federal government. For example, a provider may not routinely waive a patient’s co-payment or deductible. The government would view this as an inducement for the patient to choose the provider for reasons other than medical benefit. While these prohibitions originally were limited to services reimbursed by the Medicare or Medicaid programs, recent legislation expanded the statute’s reach to any Federal healthcare program. Because the Anti-Kickback statute is a criminal statute, violations of it are considered felonies, with criminal penalties of up to $25,000 in fines and five years in prison. Routinely waiving copayments and deductibles violates the statute and ordinarily results in a sanction. However, a safe harbor has been created wherein a provider granting such a waiver based on a patient’s financial need would not be sanctioned. The enactment of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) added another level of complexity to the Anti-Kickback statute and its accompanying safe harbors. HIPAA mandated that the OIG (Office of Inspector General) furnish advisory opinions to requesting providers that are either in an arrangement or contemplating an arrangement that may not fit squarely within the law. For a fee, the OIG would analyze the arrangement and determine whether it could violate the law and whether the OIG would impose sanctions …

New Jersey’s Tax Exemption And Abatement Laws

P.L.1991, c.431 with final retroactive amendments effective August 5, 1992 consolidated, into one more flexible law, the various long term tax exemption laws under which municipalities may agree with private entities to undertake redevelopment projects in return for tax exemptions.

P.L.1991, c.441, effective for the first full tax year commencing after its January 18, 1992 enactment, consolidated the various five-year tax abatement and exemption laws into one, more standardized law to govern all tax abatements and exemption regardless of the type of structure.

Long Term Tax Exemption Law

Prior to 1993, which was the first full year of operation governed by the new Long Term Tax Exemption Law, under the provisions of N.J.S.A.40:55C-40, the “Urban Renewal Corporation and Association Law of 1961,” commonly known as the Fox-Lance Act, a qualified municipality (a municipality with “areas in need of rehabilitation”) could abate from 15 to 20 years the taxes on newly constructed industrial, commercial, cultural, or residential projects of a corporation, with profits in excess of the limited profits returned to the municipality, or from 30 to 35 years for condominium projects. Condominium projects were given 30 to 35 years in order to provide a realistic period for permanent financing. Also, prior to 1993 under the provisions of N.J.S.A.55:16-1 et seq., the “Limited-Dividend Nonprofit Housing Corporation or Association Law,” a qualified municipality could abate for up to 50 years the taxes on newly constructed housing. Further, under N.J.S.A.55:14I-1 et seq., a qualified municipality could abate for up to 50 years the taxes on newly constructed senior housing. Lastly, prior to 1993, under the provisions of N.J.S.A.40:55C-77, the “Urban Renewal Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1965,” basically the same types of properties and projects as the Fox-Lance Act could be abated for 20 to 25 years with all profits being returned to the municipality. In all cases under these property tax exemption laws in-lieu of tax payments were required.

Commencing in 1993 the provisions of N.J.S.A.40A:20-1 et seq. permitted a qualified municipality to abate the taxes on properties and projects in the same way the pre 1993 law did with the following notable exceptions:

A new, flexible in-lieu of tax formula was established with a phasing-in of payments in-lieu of taxes to occur under both the percent of gross rental formula and the percent of total project cost formula.

The formulas for computing payment in-lieu of taxes for both office projects and housing projects were changed. The minimum annual service charge for office buildings was reduced from 15 to 10 percent of the annual gross revenues of the project or units of the project. Municipalities retained the option of computing the payment in-lieu of taxes at no less than 2 percent of the total project cost or total project units cost. For housing projects the annual service charge was changed from a minimum of 15 percent to a maximum of 15 percent of annual gross revenue of the project or from a minimum 2 percent to a maximum 2 percent of the total …

Top 3 Ways to Create Political Slogans That Win!

Political slogans can be an integral part of your campaign’s communications effort. Slogans present an easy-to-remember way to present your candidate’s name and message to the electorate. Ideal political taglines should be pithy and memorable, utilize the candidate’s name, and tie directly to the campaign’s message:

1. Make it Memorable

If your political slogans aren’t memorable, then… well, then no one will remember them.   That goes without saying, right? Make your slogans memorable by making them short and pithy. Try using alliteration (starting several words with the same letter) or the “rule of three.” This rule says that things are more easily remembered when they are presented in threes. (For example: Arlen Specter for District Attorney: He’s Smart, He’s Tough, and Nobody Owns Him…) Using three short, punchy phrases is a way to make your slogan very memorable.

2. Utilize the Candidate’s Name

Every slogan should use the candidate’s name as a central part of the tagline. What good is a political slogan if it doesn’t help the voters remember the candidate’s name? For example:

John Smith for Alderman. No One Cares More about Our Schools.

Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods. Ralph Major for Mayor.

Too many campaigns have really catchy slogans that don’t use the candidate’s name. Don’t make this mistake. Always put the candidate’s name front and center in your political slogan.

3. Tie Your Slogan to the Campaign Message

How should you decide what your campaign slogan should be? The first step is to review your campaign message – what is it that you most want the voters to remember about your campaign? What sets your candidate apart from “the other guy?” Take that issue (the “message” of your campaign) and use it to craft your slogan.

For example, if your message revolves around lower taxes, then so should your tagline.  If your message centers on building new schools in your town, then your tagline should focus on education.

When building your political slogans , remember to make them memorable, use the candidate’s name, and tie your tagline as closely as possible to your campaign’s message. Then, test your slogan by running it by as many voters as possible (both supportive and non-supportive) as possible to see what they think. Make some revisions, and then go with it. 

Well crafted, well thought out political slogans can and should form an integral part of your overall campaign communications strategy.…