On August 17, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Leadbitter v. Keystone Anesthesia Consultants, No. 19 WAP 2020, holding that (i) a hospital’s credentials committee qualifies as a “review committee” for purposes of the Peer Review Protection Act (“PRPA”) to the extent it undertakes peer review, and (ii) the federal Health Care Quality and Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA) protects from disclosure the responses provided by the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) to queries submitted to it, regardless of any contrary state law.
On June 10, 2021, the Pennsylvania legislature voted to end Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration, which had been in effect since March 6, 2020. The vote would have also terminated the hundreds of COVID-19 regulatory waivers authorized under the emergency disaster declaration, but a last minute deal resulted in a bill extending the regulatory waivers until September 30, 2021.
On July 1, 2021, the Biden administration, through the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury, issued “Requirements Related to Surprise Billing: Part I,” an interim final rule implementing the No Surprises Act. Those provisions relevant to health care providers will be set forth at 45 C.F.R. part 149. They apply to health care providers beginning January 1, 2022.
PA SB 425, a bill amending the MCARE Act, 40 P.S. § 1303.504 (“MCARE”), has been signed into law by Governor Wolf, providing much-needed clarity for Pennsylvania’s health care providers by expanding the types of practitioners that can obtain informed consent.
On December 16, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order holding its decision on the Petition for Review filed in Ungurian v. Beyzman, pending the release of its decision in Leadbitter v. Keystone Anesthesia Consultants.