On February 24, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced the redesign and renaming of its Global and Professional Direct Contracting model (“GPDC”), which was paused in March of 2021. The model, now known as the Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health model (“ACO REACH”), was renamed in response to stakeholder feedback and to advance Administration priorities. CMS also announced its cancellation of the Geographic Direct Contracting model.
In mid-November a settlement between U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and the litigants in the Shergill v. Mayorkas lawsuit resulted in a change in USCIS policy regarding spousal work authorization. Specifically, under the terms of the settlement, E and L dependent spouses would be work authorized incident to status. This means that they no longer would be required to apply for separate employment authorization documents after entering the U.S.
On January 1, 2022, two Interim Final Rules (the “Rules”) that implement key aspects of the No Surprises Act (“NSA”) became effective. The first Interim Final Rule was initially issued by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Labor, and Treasury, and the Office of Personnel Management (collectively, the “Departments”) on July 1, 2021. The second, issued by the same agencies, was issued on October 7, 2021. Generally, the NSA, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, (1) limits cost-sharing and prohibits balance billing in certain situations and (2) requires providers to provide good faith estimates (“GFE”) of charges to uninsured or self-pay patients. The NSA and the Rules also establish notice and consent requirements and dispute resolution processes in both instances.
On December 23, 2021, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State authorized consular offices through December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interview requirements for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants.
As outlined in our earlier alert, there is now a vaccine requirement for foreign nationals seeking nonimmigrant entry to the United States after international air travel.
The long awaited Presidential Proclamation rescinding the current COVID-19 travel bans was issued on October 25, 2021. The proclamation becomes effective on November 8, 2021 at 12:01 am EST and replaces the existing bans with a vaccination requirement for foreign nationals seeking nonimmigrant entry to the United States after international air travel. In addition, three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Orders on vaccination, testing, and contact tracing were issued as well as technical instructions to provide implementation details to the airlines and their passengers. Below is an overview of these orders and the technical instructions for implementation.
Overview: On September 9, 2021, the Biden Administration issued a variety of measures designed to promote COVID-19 safeguards and decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Such measures included two Executive Orders and President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan, all three of which greatly impact employers of varying sizes and industries. The Plan and each Executive Order are discussed in more detail below.
On July 6, 2021, the Department of State (DOS) issued guidance stating that national interest exceptions (NIEs) issued in the last 12 months are being automatically extended for 12 months from the date of approval, and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted. The extension applies to NIEs for travelers subject to Presidential Proclamations 9984 (China), 9992 (Iran), 10143 (Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa), and 10199 (India). The official guidance from DOS can be found here. More information on the Geographic COVID-19 Related Travel Bans can be found here.