Charting the Course to New Opportunities with Our Clients
As the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic saw exceptional growth in the economy, workforce, and breadth of competition, the third year saw some of that trend change course. Rising inflation, cumbersome regulation, high interest rates, and worldwide supply chain issues presented obstacles in the wake of expansion, precipitating a refocusing of priorities for most industries. Still, this new environment continues to engender innovation and strategic development through a more calculated approach.
Consumerization in Health Care Drives Change
The past three years permanently altered the ways Americans interact with the health care industry, empowering consumers with an increased stake in the system.
The No Surprises Act, a major new health care law that went into effect on January 1 , faced numerous issues in its initial implementation. While the legislation was instituted to reduce surprise health care billings, compliance and enforcement issues—along with state and federal enforcement agreements and recent litigation—complicated the process.
Tapered Consolidation, Increased Enforcement
A supercharged transaction environment in 2021 gave way to a relative tapering off in 2022. While transactions were unable to keep pace with a record-breaking 2021, deal volume trended closer to its pre-pandemic averages. Still, specific markets, such as ophthalmology, continued to see amplified consolidation, and entire sectors—including life sciences and pharmaceuticals—demonstrated countercyclical resiliency.
In the health services market, a 25 percent increase in the global prevalence of anxiety and depression spurred a dire need for telemental options in 2022. Innovation, legislation, and accessibility boomed in the sector to meet this rising demand—followed naturally by surges in telefraud claims and government intervention. Remote prescribing, which experienced relaxed oversight throughout the height of the pandemic, also underwent further regulatory refinements and licensure requirements.
increase in union election petitions in Fiscal Year 2022
Compliance in the Year of the Worker
A full year after the hybrid work model evolved from a temporary necessity to a permanent facet of employment, employers and employees have attempted to find equilibrium. In 2022, an empowered workforce defined largely by the “Great Resignation” and aided by employee-friendly workforce rules and regulations made strides toward goals related to pay equity, increased wages, and DEI initiatives.
New legislation surrounding pay equity and pay transparency trended, with California, Washington, and New York City joining a handful of other states and cities in passing laws aiming to close pay disparities by requiring disclosure of salary ranges in public job postings. While this required employers in affected jurisdictions to immediately review and revise their current hiring practices, this momentum is not predicted to end in 2022. Similarly, pay data reporting rules and regulations are likely to become more prevalent in the United States after a push in 2022, further stressing the importance of pay equity analyses to ensure compliance.
Increased Organizing Amid a Pro-Employee Environment
Throughout 2022, the National Labor Relations Board demonstrated alignment with pro-employee objectives, advocating for the limiting of employers’ use of artificial intelligence in the workplace and expanding the types of messages that employees can bear on clothing to include union insignia. We also saw election petitions increase 53 percent in Fiscal Year 2022, providing data that further underlines a pro-unionization push.
“In 2022, an empowered workforce made strides toward goals related to pay equity, increased wages, and DEI initiatives."
Repeal of Roe Sends Shockwaves
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization had an immediate and striking impact on employers, health care providers, and companies whose products and services are used in the delivery of reproductive health care. The decision spun a new, complex framework of legal implications that varied from state to state.
New Challenges and Confusion for Health Care Providers
The immediate effects in impacted states altered the way hospitals, health systems, telemedicine providers, and clinicians delivered women’s health care. Important legislation and litigation continue to change by the day, and health providers who provide effected services need to continue monitoring these changes into 2023.
Impact on Life Sciences Medical device developers and life sciences professionals were faced with new requirements, with more than 350 active or recruiting studies impacted by the SCOTUS decision. States with bans have made and continue to make efforts to restrict access to certain contraceptives, while donor centers, biobanks, tissue banks, and IVF centers may be subject to laws in states that criminalize aspects of their business.
Spotlight on Benefits The Dobbs decision forced employers to reexamine and rethink their employee benefits plans to ensure compliance within the state or states in which they operate. This complicated landscape required employers and their counsel to evaluate areas such as discrimination, health confidentiality, workplace conduct, employee benefits, and regulatory compliance to ensure that their company policies did not violate state laws.
“The Dobbs decision spun a new, complex framework of legal implications that varied state to state."
active or recruiting studies impacted by the SCOTUS decision