October15, 2008 Legislation




The People's Republic of Massachusetts has again showed that it's universal healthcare is not ready for prime time.  The Republic received $10.6 Billion from the feds over the next three years in a deal brokered by Sen. Kennedy.  This money allows the Republic to subsidize care that it could not afford without the feds helping out.  If it were the feds doing the universal healthcare, who would bail them out?  The Republic has also changed at the last moment the proposed increase in money that business was supposed to contribute.  It was facing a revolt ala Boston Tea Party.

The day after the huge federal bailout of the universal Republic healthcare, the Republic had the gall to announce more regs forcing companies to pay even more for healthcare.  This is a sure way to have companies look to other states or countries to put their workforce.  The Republic liberals really don't care about any jobs only that their initiative is successful in enrolling people.

It is interesting that in the Republic, with its new universal care, that newly insured still use the ED for their care.  Approximately 14% more of the newly insured than the general population use the ED for routine care.  This may be due to the lack of physicians in the Republic.  A study has shown at least half the physicians out of training find the climate of practice in the Republic not to their liking.

California's Governor has vetoed the health insurance rescission bill.  The reason was it didn't go far enough and was written by the attorneys that would benefit the most from the law. He signed a lesser bill that mandated the insurance company to continue coverage of family if they took away the coverage of one person.  He also signed a bill that would create a hospital privacy oversight office.  This was after many people including the Governor's wife had their medical records illegally looked at while at UCLA.  The State can issue fines now up to $250,000 for multiple illegal looks.  The Gov also vetoed a liberal Worker Compensation Bill for being too expensive and another one that would have allowed workers to see a physician of their choice instead of a company designated clinic.

The Pennsylvania Senate has adjourned without reauthorizing their Cost Containment Council.  This is due to a fight between the state senate and the governor.  What will happen to the Council is up in the air.

On October 1, CMS stopped paying for medical errors occurring in a hospital.  The hospital will not be paid but the bill is silent on the providers. 

CMS has announced four permanent RAC contractors.  Noticeably absent is Schultz, the contractor that started the problems.  

In the final financial bailout bill passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President was a mental health parity provision.  This means health plans must offer the same financial and treatment limits for mental health as they do physical health.   

Congress, in one of the few thing they passed this term, amended the ADA.  They did this to overturn the Supreme Court ADA decisions that has a narrower interpretation of who was affected.    Top


The two bedfellows, the AHA and The Joint Commission, have issued joint guidelines for preventing six infections.   They use the usual hand washing and no razor just before surgery.  It is amazing that it took the rule that the insurers will not pay for hospital acquired infections to get the ball rolling.  The guidelines cover MRSA, Clostridium, surgical site infections, central line bloodstream infections, ventilator pneumonia, and catheter induced urinary tract infection. 

Rhode Island has reprimanded Miriam Hospital for operating on the wrong knee of a patient.  The knee was marked correctly but with ink that was not permanent.  The CMS then came after the hospital for the same culture of lack of safety problems.  The hospital will now get a full inspection, always a fun time.       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.