November 1, 2014 Legislation




Surgeon General in chief Obama has now named the medical czar for Ebola.  He chose the well respected medical man Ron Klain, an attorney and chief of staff for Biden.  His knowledge of the crisis is blank.  His ability to be anything other than a political hack is not present.  Obama is still the joke of the year.

He has also switched DeSalvo from IT to Ebola.  She is a physician of a sort.  Then the non practicing physician practiced the Obama flip flop and is now staying with IT for now.

The White House has also denied the calls for a travel ban from the affected places in Africa to the US.  What they did do is authorize a call up of additional National Guard troops in case they are needed to go to Africa.  There are between 100 and 150 people a week arriving in this country from the affected west Africa countries.  They are getting their temperatures taken before being allowed to enter the country.  

Meanwhile in Texas the two nurses were transferred to out of state hospitals, one in Maryland and one in Georgia.  The nurses of the area came down hard on the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for not having the proper procedures and equipment to safely handle the initial patient.  Texas has now placed a mandatory prohibition on all persons who entered the room of Duncan from traveling on any commercial transportation for 21 days from the last encounter with Duncan.  All workers with contact with Duncan now must see another healthcare worker at least once a day and have their temperature taken twice a day.  They are banned from entering grocery stores or other areas of public exposure for 21 days.  They may be voluntarily hospitalized at the same hospital as Duncan.  They would not even need to be isolated since the hospital is now without many patients due to the poor treatment of Duncan and the infection of the two nurses.  People are afraid to go to the that hospital.

The CDC has finally woken up.  They have revised their earlier procedures for protection against Ebola with complete cover-up and now using better respirators instead of masks.  At the same time the FAA has banned all travelers from the infected countries from coming to any airport other than the five original.  All travelers from infected countries if let in to the United States will have to be monitored by the CDC for 21 days including twice a day temperatures. 

The CDC has announced their new but late recommendations on those coming from Africa.  They stratify the people into four groups based on risk.  They miss the boat by allowing only voluntary isolation with trips out but not on public transportation for those at the highest risk.  That is foolhardy.  States can and will make their own decisions as the fed can not under the Constitution as it used to be dictate health to the states.

Canada and Australia have restricted entry to those from the three African nations with Ebola.  Australia closed their doors and Canada stopped temporarily allowing visas from those from the countries.  Canadians who have gone there will be allowed to be readmitted with precautions. (See Recent News for more Ebola stories)

CMS has given ACOs a free pass on the anti-kickback and fraud rules.  They have extended them for a year until November 2, 2015.  This waiver extension is for the Medicare Shared Savings Programs with ACOs.

There is a new test for prostate cancer called Polaris.  It is being covered by Medicare carrier Palmetto and is being evaluated for coverage by the rest of the national carriers.  This test looks at the genes and costs $3400 as opposed to the PSA test which costs $30.

Obamacare "bronze" plans, the cheapest plan will see premiums rise about 14% on average across the country for 2015. The largest jump will be 64% in Washington.  

Obamacare insurers have an opt out in 2015.  Those on the federal site can terminate their plans if the feds stop subsidizing the premiums.  This has been inserted into the new contracts signed by insurers with the feds due to the real possibility that the subsidies may be ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. 

Baltimore has begun stopping paying for prescriptions for their employees and retired people thanks to Obamacare.  The want everything unions are not happy.  The city is saving up to $9 million per year.  The phaseout will be complete in 2020.        Top


UCLA has been fined $470,000 for allowing a banned anesthesiologist to treat Medicare patients and bill the program.  Dr. John Miller at Ronald Regan Medical Center had been banned in 2003 after California had revoked his medical license for substance abuse.  He had the license reinstated in 2008 but the Medicare suspension lasted until 2013.  UCLA found the problem and self reported.

The California Dept. of Public Health has fined 13 hospitals, two nursing homes and two outpatient clinics for privacy violations so far this year.  This is a major increase over the past.

CMS has allowed physician owned Lake Center in Rowlett, Texas, to expand despite the Stark Law.  The reasons are due to its taking of a significant number of Medicaid patients, it is not the sole provider in the area and it certified it does not discriminate against federal health care programs.        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.