HHS has asked Congress to drop the payments to hospitals for low risk surgeries done as an outpatient. They want to pay hospitals the same as they pay ambulatory surgery centers. This would save Medicare about $15 billion over six years and save Medicare patients $4 billion in copays. The hospitals are against this and the ASCs want their payments to rise to those paid to the hospitals. Top
The rats are jumping ship. A week after Sebelius snuck out the door, the Medicare deputy administrator Jonathan Blum has announce his resignation. His resignation was announced by the only senior left Tavenner. Blum is leaving for "new opportunities".
Medicare is now considering following one of the few recommendations for screening approved by the USPSTF, low dose lung CT for cancer in patients 55 to 80 years old who have smoked for 30 pack years and who still smoke or stopped less that 15 years prior. The commercial insurers already cover the procedure since the positive recommendation by the group. There are those who do not want the screening saying it would lead to too many false positives and unnecessary treatments. This is the opposite of the groups recommendations in the last few years to not do routine mammograms or PSA screening. These were not followed by anyone. The question is now arising whether CMS should act like the British Health Service and take cost into the equation whether to cover or not cover a procedure or medication, not just efficacy.
Just as I wrote the above, the British NICE as decreed that Kadycla, a treatment for HER-2 positive breast cancer, is too expensive for the state run health system.
Oregon has voted to get rid of their state Obamacare internet fiasco. They did not register any person via the internet during the long enrollment period. They are going to join the well run healthcare.gov site. This fiasco cost $200 million.
Sebelius has refused to testify before a Senate panel about her agency, HHS. She is a short timer and is thumbing her nose at her responsibility.
The House has passed a bipartisan fix to the Obamacare law. The bill removes the need for expatriate workers to comply with the law. This allows American insurance companies to write insurance for the overseas bunch without being hampered by the mandates. Top
Alaska has passed an apology law. The sayings of "I'm sorry" is no longer admissible in court as an admission of guilt. This does not mean the physician will not be sued only that any message of condolence is not permitted to be used by the plaintiff against the physician. Alaska is the 37th state to pass such a law. Top
HHS has fined two entities for HIPAA violations because of stolen laptop computers. The first one Concentra Health Services had an unencrypted laptop stolen. The organization had recognized that encryption are important but did not do it. They were fined $1725,220 for their stupidity. The other organization QCA Health Plan in Arkansas also had an unencrypted laptop stolen. They had not done any HIPAA security prior to the laptop being stolen. They were fined $250,000. Top
Michigan has a new rule that prohibits the Chair of the Medical Board from unilaterally stopping an ongoing physician investigation. This now requires three board members to consent to the investigation. Also the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs can now overrule its subcommittee if it feels the public safety concerns are not being met. 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