August 31, 2012

More than $2 Million Awarded to New York State Health Care Providers to Address Doctor Shortages


On August 30, 2012, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced "Doctors Across New York" (DANY) program grants to 21 hospitals, health centers, medical practices, and physicians for physician recruitment in underserved areas of the state. The grants, totaling $2,052,383, ranged from $65,377 for Bianca D. Van Kust, M.D. in Manhattan to $200,000 for The Woman's Christian Association in Chautauqua. Other recipients include St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, Adirondack Medical Center in Essex County, and Oneida Health Systems in Oneida County.

Read the press release from DOH, with more information about the DANY program and a full list of award recipients and grant amounts, here.

August 24, 2012

DOH's "Get-Tough Approach" to Medicaid Managed Care Plans


A recent Businessweek article examined New York State's approach to improving the quality of care provided by Medicaid managed care plans such as WellCare. In the article, Jason Helgerson, the state's Medicaid Director, elaborates on DOH's enforcement strategy. The article highlights the predominance of not-for-profit plans, payments for good performance, and the state's 85 percent MLR requirement for Medicaid managed care plans as reasons why New York is succeeding where other states have not.

For those of you with experience representing Medicaid plans in New York as well as other states, how does DOH's approach to quality compare to the approach taken by other states?

August 21, 2012

Doctors May Prescribe Apps to Patients for Disease Management


The Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) was prominently featured in a New York Times article discussing the role of apps in managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, and the FDA's role in approving them.

Read the article here.

What would you advise a physician client who wants to prescribe apps to his or her patients?

June 11, 2012

KHN/USA Today: GNYHA Members May Ask for Medicare Money Back if Mandate is Eliminated from ACA

A Kaiser Health News / USA Today article about the potential effects of a Supreme Court decision striking down the ACA's individual mandate quotes Greater New York Hospital Association president and CEO Kenneth Raske as saying of the Medicare funding cuts that were used to fund the law's insurance coverage provisions:

"The cuts were used to finance the expansion, and if the expansion doesn't occur, what are the cuts financing? Nothing," Raske says. If the mandate is removed, he says Capitol Hill "will hear a legitimate and concerted voice from the hospital community to kill the cuts."

Read the article here.

"I-STOP" Legislation passes both houses



The Governor's Program bill designed to address the problem of prescription drug abuse was introduced Friday evening after months of discussions and negotiations. The bill (available here) passed both houses today. The legislation greatly expands the state's prescription monitoring program, requires electronic prescribing, reschedules certain controlled substances and tasks the prescription drug workgroup established by this year's budget with additional consultative responsibilities, including guidance regarding education and continuing education for health care practitioners.

May 22, 2012

Study: Untrained Medical Interpreters Cause More "Clinically Significant" Errors

An article in today's Washington Post highlighted a recent Annals of Emergency Medicine study that found that "ad hoc [as opposed to trained] interpreters make nearly twice as many potentially clinically significant interpreting errors as do trained interpreters." According to the article, the study also suggested that the risk of clinically significant errors was lower with no interpreter than with an untrained one. The article also discussed the potential civil rights implications of a failure to provide adequate interpreter services to patients.

Read the Washington Post article here.

May 21, 2012

Times Examines Effect of Peninsula's Closure

Today's NY Times featured an article discussing the reasons behind NYS DOH's decision to close Peninsula Hospital Center and the community's reaction to it.

Read it here.

March 19, 2012

New Medicaid Inspector General Supports Less 'Adversarial' Audits - NYTimes.com

From today's New York times:

"Medicaid is to New York what corn is to Iowa," [Jim Sheehan] said.

Read the full article on the New York Times website.

March 7, 2012

Medical debt load busting budgets - Times Union

From today's Albany TimesUnion:

A survey shows 1 in 5 Americans say their families are having trouble paying their medical bills. Worse, half of those who are struggling say they are unable to pay a single dime toward those debts.

The survey of 52,000 people was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from January through June of last year. It's the first time the government agency has looked at the issue in such a comprehensive way.

Read the rest of the article at the TimesUnion website.

30 New York-area hospitals hit with poor ratings - New York Daily News

From the New York Daily News March 1:

THIRTY NEW York-area hospitals were given a code blue for patient safety by Consumer Reports -- and the Bronx's Jacobi was labeled worst in the country.

Local hospital officials insisted the ratings were misleading, based on older data that don't reflect more recent strides to protect patients.

Read the rest of the article at the New York Daily News website.

St. Francis Hospital, Mercy Medical Center win patient safety kudos | Long Island Business News

From today's Long Island Business News:

A medical malpractice insurer has singled out two Catholic Health Services of Long Island hospitals for a collaboration they say improves care and could be a model for other medical centers.

St. Francis Hospital, with 364 beds, and Mercy Medical Center, a 375-bed hospital, were honored for an electronic reporting system they developed to identify serious patient and visitor incidents.

Read the rest of the article at Long Island Business News website.

February 13, 2012

Attorney General Seeks Support for Narcotics Prescription Database

From an AG press release February 13:

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today launched a new website, "Share Your I-STOP Story," that showcases personal stories from New Yorkers who have been impacted by the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse. As momentum builds for legislative action to address the problem, the site urges doctors, pharmacists, addiction sufferers and their families to put a human face on the issue, and help persuade state lawmakers to pass Schneiderman's Internet System for Tracking Overprescribing (I-STOP) plan aimed at reining in prescription drug abuse. I-STOP connects doctors and pharmacists to a real time, online database that tracks the prescribing and dispensing of frequently abused narcotics.

Read the entire press release on the AG's website.

Former Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn Joining Goldberg Segalla


From the Department of Financial Services press release February 10th:

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today announced that James J. Wrynn, Deputy Superintendent of Financial Services, is leaving state service to accept a position with Goldberg Segalla LLP as Managing Director of the firm's New York City office and will serve as a Senior Partner with its Global Insurance Services practices group.

Read the rest of the press release on the DFS website.

Study Finds New York Hospitals Flout Charity Rules - NYTimes.com

From today's New York Times:

New York's charity care system, partly financed by an 8.95 percent surcharge on hospital bills, is one of the most complicated in the nation, but many states have wrestled with aggressive debt collection by hospitals in recent years. Like New York, several passed laws curbing hospitals' pursuit of unpaid bills, including Illinois, California and Minnesota.

But a new study of New York hospitals' practices and state records finds that most medical centers are violating the rules without consequences, even as the state government ignores glaring problems in the hospitals' own reports.

Read the full article on the New York Times website.

February 8, 2012

Health Budget Hearing today/21-day Amendments



The Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the Health portion of the 2012-13 Executive Budget proposal is being held today, beginning at 10 am, in Hearing Room B of the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

Additionally, the 21-day amendments to the Executive Budget proposal were released last night and are available here.

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