The Texas Medical Board has made a ruling that physicians who do emergency room work may not call themselves board certified unless they have worked under supervision. This affects about 175 Texas physicians who belong to an organization that substitutes ER work for a residency program. These physicians may still practice in ERs if the ERs state they do not have to be board certified.
The Georgia Medical Society has sent a letter to the AMA that it has "no confidence" in the organization. This is the second one of these the AMA has received. If they do not change their stripes then maybe the next letter will be the withdrawl of membership.
In the current new Congress there are 19 physicians. That is a huge number and if they vote for good medicine no matter the party affiliation they can be even more powerful. Top
In Britain, NICE, the organization that controls if expensive drugs may be used, has been stripped of its power. Also the current maximum amount that may be spent on a patient's year of extended life of 30,000 pounds will be gone in 2014.. The practice of what drugs are available for patients will now be in the hands of the physicians and not the government. Now if we could only get the US to follow suit.
Immediately after the above story appeared, another one stating NICE would not pay for Avastin for colon cancer appeared along with comments by readers of the paper. The readers seemed split evenly for and against the ruling by NICE. NICE stated that the amount of the drug was too much for the lives saved or prolonged.
The new Stark laws go into effect for those physicians that have their own MRI, CT or PET scanners. They must provide each patient sent to their unit a notice that they may go to any other physician or their units. They also must give the name and contact information of five other scanners within a 25 mile radius. If there are not 25 within this radius then they must give all those in the area. This is not bad as once the list is made up all that need to happen is that it be attached to the requisition slip. Most, if not all, patients come to a physician for care due to trust. Since they came to you they will go where you want them to go.
Voters in Arizona and Oklahoma have voted to not participate in Obamacare. Colorado voters went the other way. With the change to Republican Governors in some states it is possible that at least half of the states will opt out of Obamacare. This continues to bode ill for Democrats coming up for election in 2012 including Obama.
The administration is cutting the cost of the high risk pools that they have sway over. The reason is that no one is joining. Half the states are stuck with their own pools and can not do the same as it would bankrupt them.
CMS is also changing Medicare Parts C and D to conform to Obamacare. These changes would start to occur in 2012. The first is a rating system for Medicare Advantage plans. The same will be true for the Part D pharmaceutical plans. Those plans that receive 4 or 5 stars will receive a bonus and those with less than 3 stars for the past three years will be a "low performer.
Obama's Federal Debt Commission has reported that the United States is in the throes of a fiscal disaster. They recommend that the retirement age be eventually set at 69, Medicare funding be cut and that includes physician and hospital payments, put in a national tort plan paying less to attorneys, have Medicare recipients pay more out of pocket by not having first dollar coverage, require pharmaceuticals to pay Medicare rebates if non generics are used, strengthen the Independent payment Advisory Board and expand successful cost containment experiments done by CMS. The chances of much of this getting through the legislative process is slim to none. The Commission states that if the above does not happen the US will become even worse in debt.
The FTC has stated that a rule in Alabama that only physicians may provide pain services would increase costs and decrease access. Top
California is investigating Olive View hospital in Los Angeles. The hospital affiliated with UCLA had a patient admitted by an intern but no attending was notified about the patient for several days.
Some hospitals are more equal than others. The Obamacare law states that all hospitals that are physician owned must be Medicare certified by the end of the year. Loma Linda is putting up a new hospital in conjunction with physicians that will not be open or ready for certification until next spring. Sen. Feinstein of California will ask for an exemption for this hospital. It is her contention that the law is only meant for small single specialty hospitals. That is not what the law says. The hospital has said that if they do not get an exemption, they will still open as scheduled but will need to buy out the physicians. This will lead to budget cuts. Top
Justice Thomas Kilbride of Illinois has been re-elected to the Illinois Supreme Court for an additional ten years. There was a large amount of money against him due to his vote to overturn the Illinois med mal statute. It will be interesting to see how he votes in the future when medical issues come before the court. The Justice raised over $2.4 million and about $1.4 million came from the Democratic party controlled by trial attorneys. 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