December 15, 2015 Legislation



Congress has passed and the President has signed a new budget.  In it there are several healthcare related matters.  There would be no funds shifted to the insurance risk corridor which may imperil the Obamacare program insurers.  The health insurance tax will be frozen for two years so that consumers do not get higher premiums due to it.  The "Cadillac Tax" will be frozen for two years.  This was a priority for the Dems to their union masters.  The medical device tax also on hold for two years and hopefully will be gone with Obama.  The NIH gets a $2 billion increase as long as there is no funding for gene editing.  The 9/11 responders get permanent healthcare as related to the terror attack.  The IPAB got shorted $15 million as it should.

Interestingly as part of the budget deal the government health department  is required to recommend breast screening starting at age 40.  The budget says the recommendation of the US Preventative Services Task force recommendation to start at 50 should be ignored.  This is the only good thing ever to come out of Washington.

A bill  signed by Obama allows mass exceptions from the meaningful use penalties.  Physicians have to March 15 to apply for the escape hatch of not being penalized in 2017 for the CMS screw up this year.  All should do this.

CMS is attempting to get a handle after all these years of Medicare coverage on DME fraud.  They are requiring new authorization information to be gotten by suppliers on validating relevant coverage, coding and clinical documentation concerns prior to a beneficiary receives a product and prior to billing.

Now the US Preventative Services Task Force is getting into the heart conditions.  They have already screwed up the cancer screening.  Their newest dumb thing is only give statins to those between 40 and 75 who are at risk over the next decade of cardiac disease or stroke is at least 10%.  Those under 40 or over 75 should just die.  I am sure the the highest prescription under Medicare being Crestor does not play into this.

The FDA has lifted the ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men.  The caveat is is that they have to remained celibate for one year.  Lots of luck.  The FDA believes that about half of the population would be allowed to donate under this rule.

California will vote on whether to control drug prices funded either directly or indirectly by the state.  The proposition states the state will pay the same or less than the VA for drugs.  This would affect Medicaid, the CalPERS and Teachers unions, inmates and those that get HIV drugs from Government assistance programs.  So far those for the proposal have raise about $40,000 and those against have raised about $30 million.

California has a new law that may be a real problem for physicians.  Accredited ASCs will have to do peer review on the physicians every two years as do hospitals.  The ASC governing body has to determine whether or not the physicians are qualified. to do the outpatient surgeries.  They will have to query the Medical Board on information on the physician.

Another new law will require California hospitals to identify a caregiver during a patient's hospitalization and inform the caregiver of the discharge date and instructions.        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.