June 1, 2010 Legislation





The People's Republic of Massachusetts wants hospitals to fund what the Republic can not.  They called for the hospitals to volunteer to pay money to help small business pay for the healthcare that the legislature foisted on the public with little thought.  The hospitals were silent.  The legislature is now mandating that the hospitals pay $100 million toward what should be a Republic expense.  It should be interesting to see how this goes in the legislature.

Nine hospitals in seven states have been fined and agreed to pay for false claims for performing kyphonplasty.  The hospitals did the outpatient procedure as an inpatient in order to increase payments.  The hospitals are Ball in Muncie , Indiana, Bethesda in Boynton Beach Florida, Bloomington Hospital in Bloomington, Indiana, Genesys in Grand Blanc, Michigan, Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama, Palmetto Health in Columbia South Carolina, St. Elizabeth in Utica, New York, St. Mary's of Michigan in Saginaw, Michigan and United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The amounts paid ranged from $195,000 to $1,995,000.  This was a whistleblower suit by two people at the company that made the instruments.

California has fined nine hospitals for problems that did or could cause serious injury to patients.  The hospitals were Alameda County Hospital for problems with medications, Hi-Desert in Joshua Tree for not following surgical policy, Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae for not following its surgical procedures, Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo for medication issues, Parkview Hospital in Riverside for not following its informed consent and surgical policies, Pomerado Hospital in Poway for not following procedures for fall prevention, Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego for medication problems, Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla for not following its surgical procedures and also for not following procedures for equipment cleaning and Tri-City in Ocean side for not following surgical procedures.  Most of the penalties were for $50,000 but Scripps got $125,000 for the two problems.

CMS was notified of a complaint regarding patient care at Loma Linda University Medical Center and made a surprise visit.  They found two incidents.  The incidents were not made public at this time. 

Los Angeles County took umbrage with the State citing its County-USC hospital for multiple infractions.  

California hospitals must by July 1, 2010, conduct a security risk assessment or face criminal charges.       Top


Congress has done it again.  They still can not get their act together to pass a fix for the SGR.  The House has now taken it out of the omnibus bill and will vote separately but the Senate will not vote on it in time for the June 1 deadline.  CMS again will postpone payments for the first 10 days of the month.  The House may also defer action until they return on June 7.  The exercise in stupidity continues.  They all know they must get rid of the SGR but are afraid to permanently do so.  

Britain has removed the license of Andrew Wakefield, the physician who linked vaccines with autism.  The study was originally published in Lancet and 12 years later retracted.      Top


The House Republicans have introduced a bill to repeal the already passed healthcare reform law.  They know it will never get to the floor and of course never passed but will use it in talking points for the fall election.  It would repeal the entire law but would allow protection for those with pre existing conditions.

For the first time in 18 years there is no panel to allow physicians to communicate regarding administrative issues with CMS.  This was repealed by Obamacare.  This was removed so that payments could be reduced without significant problems.  

The Obamacare plan also established a maximum period of 12 months for submitting Medicare claims.  This started on January 1, 2010.

Congress has again delayed the onset of the "Red Flag Rule".  This time it has been delayed until the end of the year to determine who is covered under the rule.  In the meantime the AMA and AOA have filed suit to prevent the medical profession from having to comply.  

Congress has given $3 million for "Melanie's Law", to help fight post partum depression that may lead to suicide.        Top


DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.