The Maryland legislature has overridden the veto of the Governor and passed the band aid recently passed law. The medical associations and the hospital associations were in favor of the law as a stop gap measure. The legislature run by the Democrats handed the Republican governor his hat by overriding six vetoes.
After the legislature passed the half a loaf plan over the veto, the HMOs of the state immediately stated that starting March1, they will begin passing the increase to consumers. Hopefully, that should endear the Legislature to the voters.
The governor also has a memory. When he vetoed the law, the state's hospital and medical associations pled with him not to since it gave some relief. In return, the Governor "forgot" to add into the budget any money for hospital construction for the coming year. It is now up to the legislature to add this money and see if the Governor vetoes it.
Virginia has passed in Committee a bill to begin malpractice reform in the state. The bill would not include caps but would include the requirement of the plaintiff having an expert ready to testify when the suit is filed. Also all physicians with 3 med mal claims in ten years would get special scrutiny by the Medical Board.
The New York Times had an article on med mal where reforms are happening across the land led by Republican Governors. This is especially true in states like Missouri and Georgia where Republicans now control both branches of government. Even Democrats in some state like Virginia and Illinois are getting on the bandwagon.
In Washington state, the dueling legislative pieces regarding med mal, by the medical and legal communities, did not get out of committee. This means they will both be on the November ballot for the people to decide. The beauty is that if both pass they both could become law. Top
MedPAC has decided to recommend to Congress an additional 18 month moratorium on specialty hospitals. This is to see how they affect community hospitals and how to structure the DRGs on severity of illness. This would also affect the community hospitals and would cost them much more than the specialty hospitals. As I usually state in these areas "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it". The AHA, never known for their smarts, but for their reactionary stance, has attempted to rebut a Washington times editorial favoring the removal of the moratorium on specialty hospitals. the editorial stressed the competition and potential lowering of prices. The AHA said the same thing that the specialty hospitals are stealing their patients. Boo Hoo! Try to do things correctly and this wouldn't have ever happened.
In the People's Republic of Massachusetts, the Medical Board has again overstepped its boundaries and stated that the hospitals must put into place policies and procedures for their obesity surgery. This includes what nurses are to look for in the post operative period. The hospitals have not been sending patients home with clear instructions and this also must change. The state is having about one death per month from the obesity surgery.
Congratulations to the North Texas Health System and it's flagship hospital the Dallas VA as being named the worst VA hospital in the country. It is right up there with Southwest in Washington DC and Drew/King in LA. I am sure the Dallas VA tried hard to get this honor. The hospital was found to have unsanitary conditions and had no performance improvement processes in place. Top
The California Department of Managed Care has fine HealthNet $250,000 for paying uncontracted ED physicians below the fees they were supposed to receive. HealthNet also must pay the physicians or the patients what they should have paid and this may run into $6-7 million. Top
The state of Washington continues to be in the news. Now that they may have a new Governor (the vote is still out), they also want to put a tax on the gross receipts of all physicians in order to pay an increased payment to those who care for the Medicaid population. The seem to forget who is supposed to pay for this, the state.
California has a bill pending in the legislature to give all Californians health care. This comes just two months after the people voted down the last harebrained scheme to have business pay for all care and run the business out of the state. The Democrats will continue to bring this up in order to bankrupt the state completely. It would be funded by increasing taxes on businesses and workers as well as raising some state income tax.
MedPAC will recommend to Congress that instead of the over 5% decrease in payments to physicians doing Medicare next year, the physicians get a 2.7% increase.
MedPAC also will recommend that Medicare set standards for all those physicians reading radiological exams. This includes radiologists, cardiologists, urologists and any others that do testing in their office and take business from the overworked radiologists. Top
California has become the fourteenth state to licensure naturopaths. They use non-medical treatments for their patients. For the most part they are not reimbursed by insurance companies. In California, the naturopaths need to graduate from one of the six American schools and pass the national exam.
The Medical Board of California is considering raising its dues from $600 to $800 every two years. The California Medical Association wants to know how this extra money will be spent. However, there is a snag. They might not exist in the near future. the governor is attempting to streamline the multitude of agencies in the state and may fold the Medical Board into another agency. Another plan is to keep the Board but have the investigators work under the auspices of the Attorney General, if they accept the investigators. The Board would continue to pay the salaries of the investigators.
Montana has passed a law in their legislative committee to fine all practitioners who do not write legibly on their prescriptions. 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.