Archive for July, 2013

Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

July 28, 2013 1 comment

Isaac Asimov

Honest, rational, intelligent Americans must stand-up to the new nit-wit movement of some fringe members of the Republican Party to defund ObamaCare, at whatever cost, including shutting down the United States government.

Most people who oppose ObamaCare refuse to understand it, and politicians shamelessly promote and take advantage of that ignorance.

Let’s try to be honest.  ObamaCare is an historic first step at fixing an out of control and hopelessly broken healthcare system.  The Deloitte 2013 survey of  U.S. physicians  found that most physicians  “believe that the performance of the U.S. health care system is suboptimal, but the Affordable Care Act [i.e., ObamaCare] is a good start to addressing issues of access and cost.” ObamaCare is already making positive changes in healthcare, and millions of middle-class Americans are currently being helped by ObamaCare.  No more pre-exiting conditions and arbitrary lifetime caps.  By requiring healthcare insurance to contain minimum benefits that are needed by most Americans, we can purchase a policy and know what is covered and what is not and not fear denials later when we need to use our coverage.  There are many examples of how ObamaCare is helping patients and providers.

ObamaCare’s goal is improved access to affordable healthcare — for the life of me, I cannot understand why that causes such irrational responses?  Of course, ObamaCare is flawed and costly, requires too much regulation, and is full of special interest tinkerings (like all legislation these days unfortunately), and it can be (and deserves to be) much improved.   To defund it or repeal it and start from scratch will leave us with the same uninsured population, spiraling out of control costs, and no hope for improvement.

Shame on Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and all the other members of the Congressional flatworld caucus.  Improving healthcare in America, including making the necessary changes to ObamaCare, is a job for smart, dedicated people, not petty, stupid ones.  This is a time for more conversation and less baying at the moon.

Physician Payment Sunshine Act

July 27, 2013 Leave a comment

The vilification of physicians continues …

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act has been around for a while now, but things are getting ready to heat up.  On August 1, the federal regulations implementing the Physician Payment Sunshine Act go into effect.

The regulations were finalized last February, to “implement the requirements in section 6002 of the Affordable Care Act … . That provision requires applicable manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, or medical supplies covered under [Medicare or Medicaid or CHIP] to report annually to the Secretary certain payments or other transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals. [The Act] also requires applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations to report certain information regarding the ownership or investment interests held by physicians or the immediate family members of physicians in such entities.”

Medical Economics published a very good summary of the Sunshine Act, “Sunshine Act: 7 things you need to know.”  Manufacturers and GPOs on August 1 will start gathering data on physicians with whom they have made a specified payment or other transfers of value or who have investment or ownership interests in the manufacturers or GPOs.  The nearly 80 triple-columned pages of regulations define the various terms and explain how the data is to be gathered and reported.  The data will be reported to CMS electronically by March 31, 2014 and will be available online to patients and others.

In a related story, Medical Economics reported yesterday that there is now an app for physicians to track reports made regarding them pursuant to the Act.

Healthcare Reform’s Impact on Physician Practices

July 27, 2013 Leave a comment

On August 1 in Tampa and on August 23 in Sarasota, Akerman is co-sponsoring a Lunch ‘n’ Learn Program on the impact of healthcare reform on physician practices.  If you would like to attend either event, please follow the applicable link and RSVP.

I will be one of the panelists.  My topic is “Mergers, Hospitals, and Networks, oh my! — What are Physician Practices Doing to Survive?”

%d bloggers like this: