Health Law and Policy
Mitchell, Blackstock, Sneddon, Alagood & Hicks, PLLC is Arkansas’ largest premiere health law firm and consulting practice. The firm and various members consistently rank in the top tiers of Arkansas’ Best Lawyers in the field of health law.
Mitchell Blackstock is one of the few firms anywhere that offers a full continuum of services – “one-stop shopping” — for health care clients. We handle legislative issues from drafting to lobbying to court challenges. We manage complex litigation and help providers position themselves on major policy issues. We also provide the assistance you need in any kind of health care business transactional work. In short, we are the most trusted advisers to health care providers in Arkansas.
Who We Are
The health care industry is notoriously complex and rapidly evolving. You need a trusted team to help you navigate the landscape. With decades of experience, our team includes attorneys and consultants who have held a wide array of positions in the legal, government, business, media and political realms. We know the health care community inside and out. For biographies of our attorneys and consultants, click here.
We draft state legislative bills, lobby for their passage, and defend the laws in court if necessary. We offer a legislative tracking service to help clients keep tabs on any bill of interest among the hundreds that are filed. We help you develop your legislative strategy, which includes drafting bills and lining up sponsors, and deciding which of the many other bills to support or oppose. We work hard to earn and maintain the trust of key legislators.
Health Policy Consulting
We provide a deep understanding of complex payment and service delivery issues affecting health care providers. This involves developing concepts and negotiating their implementation with the government or private insurers. Sometimes it is getting a single rule changed. Sometimes it is representing an entire association of providers in addressing monumental changes to the entire system of care. Either way, we help you formulate your position and work to get it implemented, step by step. We pride ourselves on developing “real world” strategies that work in practice, not just theory.
Mitchell Blackstock assists clients with the full range of healthcare industry transactions including joint ventures, whether they are with physicians or other health systems; physician integration strategies, including practice acquisition and direct employment, pay for performance, gain-sharing, recruitment arrangements, professional services agreements and medical directorships; corporate structuring and reorganization; mergers, acquisitions, affiliations, strategic alliances and divestitures for hospital systems, physician groups, long-term care providers, ambulatory surgical centers, imaging centers and other ancillary service providers; financings of all types; physician hospital organizations (PHO), whether messenger model, clinically integrated, or financially integrated; and Medicare provider-based clinics. All transactions are structured to comply with the requirements of the Medicare, the Antikickback Statute, the Stark Law and the Antitrust Law while preserving the business objectives of the parties.
Mitchell Blackstock has a wealth of experience in assisting health care clients understand and respond to state and federal regulations. We assist providers in responding to audits by Medicaid, Medicare or other program integrity contractors. We review your documentation, identify a strategy for contesting findings and prepare the audit response. We also represent providers who appeal their audits, either to the state or to Medicare. Upon request, we review an individual provider’s compliance and identify, based on our experience with other audits, areas that should be addressed. We provide advice to providers regarding how to prepare their employees in the event of an audit or investigation and advise the provider through the process of the investigation. We review proposed and existing business and practice arrangements to assess compliance with federal fraud and abuse laws and identify solutions to resolve fraud and abuse compliance issues. We also provide assistance and representation for providers seeking licensure or other credentialing from state or federal agencies and to providers seeking Permits of Approval from the Health Services Permit Agency.
Our clients include physicians (solo, group, single- and multi-specialty); laboratories; assisted living facilities; inpatient, residential, and outpatient mental health providers; providers for the developmentally disabled and elderly; hospice; dentists; hospitals; acute care hospitals; nursing homes and virtually any type of provider who deals with Medicaid, Medicare or other payers, public or private.
Key Litigation and Legislative Victories
Mitchell Blackstock has been involved in nearly all of Arkansas’ major health care developments for years, including the “any willing provider” laws, significant Arkansas court cases health care legislation. Some of our accomplishments include:
“Any Willing Provider.” Lobbied and litigated successful “any willing provider” insurance case over course of 10 years. (Prudential Ins. Co. of America v. National Park Medical Center, Inc. 413 F.3d 897 (8th Circuit 2005).
Equal Access to Medicaid Providers. Obtained first Medicaid “equal access” victory in federal circuit courts for providers and recipients. (Arkansas Medical Society v. Reynolds, 6 F.3d 519 (8th Cir. 1993).
Medicaid Provider Due Process. Drafted and negotiated passage of the Medicaid Fairness Act, a comprehensive due process law for Medicaid providers (Arkansas Code Sections 20-77-1701 through 1715).
Assisted Living. Negotiated with state officials for passage of the Arkansas Assisted Living Act and helped draft statutes and regulations to implement the act. (Arkansas Code Sections 20-10-1701 through 1709).
Prompt Payment. Negotiated with state regulators and insurance sector to successfully implement law requiring insurers to promptly pay claims. (Arkansas Insurance Department Regulation 76).
External Review. Negotiated with state regulators and insurance sector to successfully implement rule providing independent review of disputes between patients and insurers. (Arkansas Insurance Department Regulation 76)
Economic Credentialing. Litigating the issue of whether hospitals can terminate physicians based on their economic relationships with other hospitals rather than quality of care. (Janet Cathey, M.D. v. Baptist Health)
Consumer Protections. Drafted and negotiated the Arkansas Health Care Consumer Act of 1997, providing a variety of patient and provider protections. (Arkansas Code Sections 23-99-401 through 416.)
To help you stay current, we publish a series of free “MB Bulletins” on timely issues affecting your business. These range from explanations of complex regulatory developments to periodic refreshers on basic health care and employment laws. Our attorneys have also published many helpful articles in legal and medical journals.
Other Assistance for Health Care Providers
Since most health care providers are also employers covered by state and/or federal employment laws, we provide advice and assistance on employment law issues, such as compliance with laws on discrimination, drug testing, and employee privacy. We have drafted or assisted clients in drafting employee handbooks and employment-related forms, such as consents for internet-use monitoring or drug testing.
We can provide seminars for our clients employees on issues such as HIPAA compliance, employment laws or other issues important to the client.