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May 2011 Archives

May 11, 2011

NY court notes terms for health disclosures - WSJ.com

The Wall Street Journal posted an AP release on its website on a Court of Appeals decision concerning patient record privacy:

New York's top court says medical officials seeking a patient's mental health records in order to require further treatment need to get the patient's permission or a court order or serve a subpoena because the information is generally private under federal law.

In a ruling Tuesday, the Court of Appeals says the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, prohibits such disclosures to a state agency in a proceeding to compel treatment unless the patient authorizes it or he receives notice of the request.

Read the AP release here. Link to the case, In re Miguel M., posted on the Law Reporting Bureau's website.

May 16, 2011

Nursing Homes Seeking Reprieve From Health Care Law - NYTimes.com

The New York Times has a piece this morning on nursing home efforts to get out of PPACA's reform requirements.

Among workers who provide hands-on care to nursing home residents, one in four has no health insurance. Among those who provide care to people living at home, one in three is uninsured.

The new health care law is supposed to fix the problem by guaranteeing access to affordable coverage for all. But many nursing homes and home care agencies, alarmed at the cost of providing health insurance to hundreds of thousands of health care workers, have started a lobbying effort seeking some kind of exemption or special treatment.

Read the full article at the New York Times website.

Unexplained in the article is why the nursing home industry should have a special exception. It's certainly not unique in finding the health reform requirements to be onerous. The article points out that the home care industry is even less likely than nursing homes to offer coverage for their employees.

The real nugget of the article, though, is embodied in this passage:

Charlene A. Harrington, a professor at the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, said it would be a mistake for Congress or the administration to relieve nursing homes of the obligation to provide coverage to employees.

"It's scandalous to have nursing home employees taking care of people when they themselves lack coverage and go without care," Ms. Harrington said. "If employees have health insurance, they are more likely to be treated for illnesses, less likely to pass on infections to nursing home residents and more likely to get early treatment for occupational injuries."

Juxtapose Ms. Harrington's position with this, from a little later in the article:

"If I could afford to pay for it, I would," Ms. Gantz [administrator of the Sunset Estates nursing home in Purcell, OK] said. "We are a small home. We are not part of a chain. We could not provide health insurance to our employees and still be able to pay all our bills and make the payroll."

and you pretty much get the sum of health reform.

May 17, 2011

Two local health executives nominated to state health planning council | Democrat and Chronicle | democratandchronicle.com

From today's Rochester Democrat online:

Two Rochester health care executives have been nominated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to join the state's new Public Health and Health Planning Council.

The governor nominated Victoria Hines, president and chief executive officer of the Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester & Monroe County and Christopher Booth, president and chief operating officer of Lifetime Healthcare Companies/Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield in Rochester, along with 10 others.

Read the full article at the Rochester Democrat website.

And here from the Governor's press release are the other 10:

Governor Cuomo also announced the nominations of members to the Public Health and Health Planning Council:

Arthur Aaron Levin: a member of several patient advocacy groups and current Director of the Center for Medical Consumers

Ellen E. Grant: Director of the Cornerstone Manor of the Buffalo City Mission, a women's and children's shelter, and Managing Partner of First Advantage Consulting

Angel Alfonso Gutierrez: Doctor under contract by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct at the New York State Department of Health office in Buffalo

John M Palmer: Executive Director of the Harlem Hospital Center and Renaissance Health Care Network

Jeffrey Kraut: Senior Vice President, Strategy at North Shore-LIJ Health System

John Rugge: Founder, CEO, and physician at Hudson Headwaters Health Network in Queensbury

Howard Berliner: Former Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at SUNY Downstate School of Public Health

Ann Marie Theresa Sullivan: Senior Vice President of the Queens Health Network

Glenn Martin: Director of Medical Informatics at Queens Health Network and Associate Director of the Program for the Protection of Human Subjects at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

Anderson Torres Ph.D: Director of Health Initiatives at Bon Secours New York Health System Schervier Nursing Care Center, and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services, Westchester Campus.

May 19, 2011

Collaborative Drug Therapy by Pharmacists approved



A bill (S2958 Lavalle/A. 4579 Canestrari) allowing pharmacists to practice collaborative drug therapy in conjunction with physicians under certain circumstances has passed both houses. As it was delivered to the Governor more than 10 days ago and has not been vetoed, it is now considered approved. (Chapter number not currently available)

Text of the new law is available here.

NACHGR open session meeting (5/11); EuroGentest

Progress in the complex area of human genetics research and innovation engenders a lot of popular discussion. Learn more about some of the people involved and what they are doing via the recent meeting of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research, an open session videocast ( archived at videocast.nih.gov). (1) NHGRI Director Eric Green M.D. Ph.D. reports on an array of genetics topics, reports, NEJM's recent articles on genomic medicine, the recent conference at Cold Spring Harbor NY (a place where great science is being done). He also calls attention to the larger context of genomic scientific research as described in May 2011 Report entitled Economic Impact of the Human Genome Project; the Report describes how a $3.8 billion investment drove $796 billion in economic impact, created 310, 000 jobs and launched the genomic revolution.
Also of interest is the EuroGentest website (2 ) which provides various EU perspectives on aspects of genetic testing. In brief, for example, read about points to consider regarding clinical indications for genetic testing or a list of the diseases for which they show clinical utility gene cards info. A summary table provides a quick look at some of the big issues involved in genetic testing and an overview of certain laws/regulations, or lack thereof. Lists of entities(w/website info) around the world that focus on the genetics subject area around are also provided.
A European Commission Green Paper (2/11) entitled From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding describes their common strategic framework in research and innovation funding. It is indicated that under the current programming period (2007-2013) FP7's budget of 53.3 billion euros supports research, technological development and demonstration activities across the EU along with additional budgets in related areas of competitiveness and the like. (3)
(1)http://www.genome.gov/27544346
(2) http://www.eurogentest.org/web/index.xhtml; see also, Nature's European jounal of Genetics
http://www.nature.com/ejhg/archive/categ_genecard_012010.html for a list of 2010 clinical utility gene cards
(3)http://europa.eu/documentation/official-docs/index_en.htm find it under the English 'Gateway to Europa' heading, European Commission, Official documents from EU institutions, agencies and other bodies.

May 25, 2011

NY Mulls Physician 'Dress Code Council' Bill

HealthLeaders Media includes a fairly lengthy review of New York's hygienic dress code bill:

Physicians, nurses, and midwives might have to toss their neckties, jewelry, and lab coats under an infection prevention effort making its way through the New York State Legislature.

Sen. Jeffrey Klein's (D) bill S4909 would establish a 25-member "Hygienic Dress Code Council" appointed by the Health Commissioner to advise on whether banning such clothing and accessories in healthcare settings could prevent infections such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Read the full article on the HealthLeaders website.

Vermont's Single-Payer Health Care Bill Moves Ahead - NYTimes.com

Vermont's experiment with single payer is getting serious:

Many people move to Vermont in search of a slower pace; Dr. Deb Richter came in 1999 to work obsessively toward a far-fetched goal.

She wanted Vermont to become the first state to adopt a single-payer health care system, run and paid for by the government, with every resident eligible for a uniform benefit package. So Dr. Richter, a buoyant primary care doctor from Buffalo who had given up on New York's embracing such a system, started lining up speaking engagements and meeting with lawmakers, whom she found more accessible than their New York counterparts.

. . .

Twelve years later, Dr. Richter will watch Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, sign a bill on Thursday that sets Vermont on a path toward a single-payer system -- the nation's first such experiment -- thanks in no small part to her persistence.

Read the rest of the article on the New York Times website.

May 31, 2011

Jail Time for HIPAA Violator

Today's HealthLeaders Media has an article on a recent HIPAA sentencing:

A federal judge has sentenced a man to six years in prison for his role in a prescription fraud scheme that included crimes of healthcare fraud, aggravated identity theft and violations of HIPAA, the U.S. Attorney's office in Alabama announced Wednesday.

Read the rest of the article on the HealthLeaders website, or click the "criminal charges" tag below to see other posts on Supraspinatus that concern HIPAA and jail time.

Why Medical School Should Be Free - NYTimes.com


In Sunday's Op-Ed section of the New York Times, two physician-scholars argue that medical school should be free:

We need a better way of paying for medical training, to address the looming shortage of primary care doctors and to better match the costs of specialty training to the income it delivers. Taking the counterintuitive step of making medical education free, while charging those doctors who want to gain specialty training, is a straightforward way of achieving both goals.

Read the full op-ed here.

I tried very hard to be open-minded about this while reading the piece but I have to say that at the end of the day the logic of the proposal escapes me.

The primary care shortage is not a problem in and of itself so much as it is symptomatic of a deeper problem --- that the healthcare delivery market in its current state is inhibited from developing the innovations and undertaking the necessary restructuring that would deliver affordable primary care to patients.

The task of legislators and public policy leaders should be finding and removing the obstacles to innovation and restructuring, not of thinking up new ways to force a result that the market would not otherwise support. We have been laboring far too long on that path in the health care industry, and it has literally brought us to the point of collapse.

About May 2011

This page contains all entries posted to HEALTH LAW SECTION BLOG in May 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2011 is the previous archive.

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