June 15, 2018 Legislation






The House voted to allow vets to go to private physicians if they felt they were not getting the proper care at the VA.  The vote was 347-70.  All organizations are in favor of the bill except those who are against anything Trump.  This now goes to the Senate.  The Senate acted swiftly and passed the measure on a 92-5 vote.  This will consolidate seven VA departments into one and ease the burden on vets to get benefits.  It also makes stipends available to family caregivers of Viet Nam vets or after.

The House GOP are happy.  The DC Court of Appeals has dismissed the law suit against Obama's illegal cost sharing payments in favor of a settlement that preserves a ruling that Obama reimbursed insurers illegally without congressional approval.  

President Trump has kept another campaign promise.  He has proposed a new restriction on funding federally funded family planning clinics from advising a woman may get an abortion.  This is aimed at Planned Parenthood.  This does away with the requirement of counseling and providing referral for abortions.  If the woman has already decided on an abortion then she can receive a list of abortion providers.  

The Congress has passed and sent to the president a bill allowing right to try.  A person with a life threatening illness can now bypass the FDA to obtain experimental treatment.  Drug manufacturers would have to report deaths and complications only once per year.  The patient must have tried and failed all options and the drug must be past phase I.  The drug companies do not have to agree to provide drugs.  President Trump signed the legislation.

The House has passed about 25 bills to help fight opioid addiction and will continue to consider more bills in the next few weeks.  The bills that have passed the house include hospital resources to give patients discharged from overdose treatments the drug naloxone along with connecting them to support groups.  Others allow the FDA to stop the importation of mailed illegal drugs and of course the multiple reports.  One of the most important bill is to allow the NIH to help develop non addictive pain relief.  The House rejected a bill by two far left representatives that would have provided $100 million to combat the opioid epidemic.  

CMS has released guidance on how to get states greater assistance in funding for infants exposed to opioids and for telemedicine and programs to keep tabs on prescriptions.  

The wonderful USPSTF has a new recommendation.  This one is to not do resting or exercise EKGs for screening in low risk individuals but only do traditional cardiovascular disease risk analysis.  

CMS is now funding CAR-T therapy on two drugs, Yescarta for B Cell lymphoma and Kymriah for ALL and B cell lymphoma.  They are now initiating a national coverage analysis for CAR-T therapies in general.  CAR-T is very expensive, maybe up to $450,000 per shot but it needs to be given only once.

Maryland's governor has signed a law making it the 11th state to ban gay conversion therapy for minors.  This started in 2012 with California.  

He also signed a law that would require insurers to pay for freezing the eggs and sperm of people with cancer who may become infertile due to treatments.

California continues to spend money they do not have.  The Assembly has passed a bill to allow adult illegal aliens to obtain Medicaid.  If it passes the Senate and the Governor signs it it would cost the state billions per year.  There would be no federal assistance for this program.  California's new budget will not include the scheme to give health insurance to illegal immigrants.

California got some sense when a proposed law that would have governmental price controls for surgeries, doctor visits, hospital stays and other health care services did not make it out of committee.  

Another California common sense law was a statewide standing order for naloxone.  Therefore all California organizations that work to reduce drug addiction can distribute the drug without a prescription.  The order does not address cost of the drug which may be $20 for the generic to $70 for the brand name.  

Vermont is becoming the California of the East.  They have enacted a law requiring all to be covered with health insurance orr be penalized.  This is after pulling the hair-brained idea of single payer medicine.  This system the penalty may not be financial as they realize the idiocy of fing someone who can not afford to buy insurance.  The law takes effect in 2019.


HHS is considering proposing sharing HIPAA settlements with victims.  It is only fair but it will be small potatoes.  Allowing the victims to sue would be fairer.

Dignity Health had a data breach several months ago that affected almost 60,000 individuals.  The OCR is now investigating  how Dignity could have misaddressed emails to patients which contained the wrong patient's information.  This was done via Healthgrades.

The state of New York has suspended the license of Martha Smith-Lightfood, RN for 12 months for disclosing PMI without consent.  This resulted in a fine of $15,000 to the University of Rochester Medical Clinic.  


Blue Valley Hospital in Overland Park, Kansas, has lost its Medicare billing license.  The very small bariatric hospital considering closing.


The Florida Medical Board is slow.  They are now going after the license of James McAdoo the "plastic surgeon" in south Florida that has multiple med mal claims against him for the death of one patient following a "tummy tuck.  

Georgia has finally removed dermatologist Dr. Windell Davis-Boutte.  She was the "dancing doctor" who could be seen dancing to "Cut It" whole doing surgery.  She has about 10 med mal cases pending against her.

California's Medical Board is going after the license of Dr. Bill Gray for selling "eRemedies".  This is sound waves of up to 13 seconds which will "cure" multiple ailments including Ebola.  

Being outspoken has its faults.  Dr. Eugene Gu was not re-contracted into his surgical residency at Vanderbilt University.  He sued President Trump and was very public in his support of the NFL player kneeling for the National anthem.  


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.