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Cleveland Manufacturer Violated OFAC Sanctions By Allowing Shipments To Iran - Know Your Customer and Know Their Customer

Between 2013 and 2017, UniControl exported 21 shipments of its products to two European customers. These 21 shipments were subsequently reexported to Iran, which violated the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”) listed in 31 CFR Part 560.

WARNING SIGNS

UniControl encountered multiple alerts before and during this period and failed to take proper actions. In 2010, several years prior to the first of these shipments, a European trade partner of UniControl inquired whether UniControl could supply a significant market it had identified in Iran. UniControl turned down the opportunity but did not confirm that the sales to this European partner were not then being shipped to the Iranian market.

In 2014, UniControl and a European customer entered a sales agreement that listed Iran as a country to which the partner could re-sell these products. In 2016, UniControl offered to ship products directly to a purported third-party European end user, but the customer refused this offer in an attempt to obfuscate the end user. At European trade conferences, UniControl had direct interactions with Iranian nationals, but did not question their European trade partner on the interest. Finally, UniControl received a request from its European partner to remove the “Made in USA” labels from its products with the explanation that the Iranian end user may have issues with the product origin.

FIXING THE PROBLEM

UniControl consulted with outside counsel and then voluntarily self-disclosed these violations. In total, UniControl engaged in 21 prohibited transactions with a total product value of $687,189. The maximum statutory penalty that UniControl faced was $5,423,766. However, once all mitigating and aggravating factors were weighed, UniControl was able to reach a settlement with OFAC for $216,464.

Parallel to UniControl’s cooperation with OFAC and ceasing all shipments to its European trade partners, the company also righted its own “compliance ship.” This began by retaining outside counsel to strengthen their export control procedures. End-user certificates were created to make sure that buyers are not reselling to prohibited end users. These certificates are also requested from second and third level buyers of reexported products. UniControl added a Destination Control Statement within the footer of many of their trade documents to remind recipients of the restrictions on reselling, transferring, manipulating, or otherwise disposing of their products.

For a review of your export policies and processes, or questions on trade compliance, please contact International Law Attorney Kevin Burwell at kdburwell@bmdllc.com or 330-253-3715. 

Changes to Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule and Outpatient Prospective Payment System

Come the beginning of 2022, both the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (“MPFS”) and Outpatient Prospective Payment System (“OPPS”) will look a little different. As a refresher, the MPFS lists the fees associated with reimbursement of services to providers at certain facilities, taking into account geography and costs. By contrast, OPPS sets reimbursement rates for hospitals and community mental health centers for outpatient services, which are determined in advance. A summary of some of the more pertinent changes to each rule will be outlined below.

CMS to Once Again Reprocess Outpatient Clinic Claims

The Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Rule was passed in November 2018, which was intended to prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from paying more for services rendered in outpatient settings than what they paid for the same services rendered in physician offices that are simply owned by hospitals or health systems.[1]

New Vaccine Requirement for Select CMS-Participating Facilities

On November 4, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”) released a new rule requiring certain healthcare facilities to implement policies requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It does not matter if a staff member does not perform patient treatment services, they must still be vaccinated if an employee of an applicable facility.

OSHA COVID-19 EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD (ETS) Vaccination, Testing, Recordkeeping, and Reporting

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued its long-awaited COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Note that the ETS does not apply to employers covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors or Subcontractors (see here), or to settings where employees provide healthcare services subject to OSHA’s ETS for the healthcare industry (see here).

Interesting Trends Revealed in 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey

Results of the KFF annual survey of state Medicaid directors reveal some fascinating trends in Medicaid service delivery and benefit coverage. Read on for a summary of the highlights we find most noteworthy. Background As a preliminary matter, many of the trends KFF identifies and that we highlight below are no doubt a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic triggered a public health emergency and economic crisis that resulted in increased Medicaid enrollment, service offerings, and flexibility in service delivery, along with a heightened awareness of disparities in access to care and health outcomes.