I seem to recall when Senator McCain tapped Gov. Palin as his VEEP nominee that he was criticized for poor vetting. The Governor has no tax issues and was at that time under no investigation. President Obama now has nominated three tax cheats and one under investigation Governor. The Treasury Secretary cheat was confirmed but the other two cheats had to withdraw their nominations. The nominated Chief Performance Officer Nancy Killfer, who was to oversee the ethics of the White House had no ethics and did not pay taxes on her household help. In a great blow for America and especially American medicine the Senator who led the Senate but could not even lead his own election, Tom Daschle, dropped out due to his tax evasion and his conflicts of interest with the medical community. It seems like the President needs to re-look at his nominees and himself to determine if his picks were really vetted correctly. Top
In the Joint Commission January newsletter it states that the MS1.20 task force will meet again in March. They state that one of the things to be considered is what is to be placed in the bylaws and what may be in the policies. Most of us non hospital attorneys want all in bylaws since it makes it harder for the hospital to unilaterally or with pressure on the physicians under contract to the hospital to change the issues.
In the same news letter the Commission lists the ten most reported sentinel events. The list is led by wrong side surgery with 742 and followed by suicide with 698 and then operative complications with 631. The next drops to 492 and is medication error. Top
In a direct slap in the face to both Pete Stark and the American Hospital Association, the US Senate passed the SCHIP bill without the house passed version which included a prohibition on physician owned hospitals. The House capitulated and in committee agreed to leave out the onerous measure. The President signed the bill and the physician owned hospitals continue to stand in direct competition with the community hospitals.
Now the AHA is under fire by Sen. Grassley for not doing enough charity work. He hopes to amend the stimulus package to put in more scrutiny and removal of non profit status of those hospitals that do enough charity work. This is in the stimulus bill since it would save money by getting more taxes into the government. The IRS just finished a study as well and will continue to look closely at the new IRS forms.
The stimulus package also has $20 Billion for HIT incentives and an additional $3 billion for HIT grants. I have no idea how this will stimulate the economy but the wonks are happy. The bill also gives over $1 Billion to look at different treatments for the same condition to determine which is best. This is a possible first step into telling the medical profession what to do to be paid. The package will cost us, the taxpayors, over $ 3 TRILLION over the next ten years including the interest.
The American Hospital Association after getting put down by both the House and the Senate is now filing an amicus brief in Illinois in favor of Provena Hospital for their non compliance with charity care and removal of their tax exempt status. What else could the beleaguered AHA do and still keep its constituents? Top
The House Republicans have set up a committee of not only their members but some outside people as well to formulate their own healthcare reform policy. This is to stop the formation of more government intrusion into healthcare.
The stimulus bill has finally passed both houses. It includes the usual pork including $20 Billion for HIT. Out of that amount all but $2 Billion goes to hospitals and physicians in the form of incentives to get electronic tools and let the government in on the information they want. Any privacy in the bill has not yet been told to the publc.
Autism is in the news on several fronts. In Virginia, the Senate has killed a bill requiring insurers to cover autism. The Nevada Senate will consider a bill to cover autism. The fate of this is not yet known. The biggest blow is a federal court's decision that autism is not related to vaccines and the mercury in them. They said the science behind the claim was not credible. At the same time several parents of autistic children sued Kaiser for not being their advocate in the school systems. Kaiser does cover medical treatment for autistic children at their facilities. Top
The federal Medicare Advisory Commission has recommended that physician get a raise in 2010 of 1.1% instead of a 21% decrease. The Commission believes that physician costs will increase 2.5% next year but physicians will find a way to decrease that. They hope to increase the payments to primary care physicians more since they are now at the 55% level of what specialists make. They want them up to about 80% over 5-10 years. 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