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Showing 66 posts in Hospitals.

Virginia Man Wins $500,000 After Recording Surgical Team’s Insulting Comments

healthcare lawsuitTalk about adding insult to injury. A Virginia man woke up after his colonoscopy to learn that the surgical team had mocked, belittled and insulted him throughout the procedure.

Fearful that he would not remember the doctor’s post-op instructions, the man pressed record on his smartphone before receiving anesthesia. Upon listening to the recording after the procedure, he realized that the members of the surgical team began their rant as soon as he drifted off to sleep. Read More ›

Categories: Hospitals, News & Events, Physicians

Health Care Trends

health care trendsRural hospitals across the United States struggling to stay open

According to the National Rural Health Association, approximately 50 hospitals in the rural United States have closed since 2010. The number of annual closures is growing. Congressional healthcare budget cuts and policy changes significantly affect rural hospitals because rural hospitals often have a disproportionate number of patients who are covered under Medicare, Medicaid or who are uninsured. A number of factors affect and pose challenges to rural hospitals. One challenge is the difficulty of attracting talent, which often means paying more to healthcare professionals in order to recruit them for employment at a rural hospital.  Other challenges facing rural hospitals include:

  • changing demographics;
  • advances in medical practice that the hospital may be unable to implement;
  • new federal regulations and standards that create additional compliance related pressure; and
  • lower reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid.

Closures of rural hospitals may force individuals to travel long distances for medical care, which may lead to an increase in mortality rates. The closures may discourage business ventures in rural areas due to the increased costs associated with not having a healthcare facility nearby. Metropolitan hospital closings have increased recently, but the existence of medical care alternatives in metropolitan areas typically reduces the effects that closures have on patients.  Read More ›

Categories: Health Care Reform, Hospitals, Insurance, News & Events, Physicians, Tax

The Updated April 2015 National Practitioner Data Bank Guidebook has been Released

The DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”) has finally published the new National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”) Guidebook.  The original Guidebook had not been updated since September 2001. 

The updated April 2015 NPDB Guidebook is available here.

The new Guidebook extensively covers the changes resulting from the 2013 merger of the NPDB and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (“HIPDB”).  The HIPDB was a separate data bank that received and disclosed reports of final adverse actions by federal and state agencies and health plans against practitioners, entities, providers, and suppliers.  After the merger, there were significant changes in the entities eligible to query and report, as well as the individuals and entities subject to reports.  Read More ›

Categories: Criminal, Hospitals, Licensing, News & Events, Physicians, Providers

Peer Review Protections Apply to Objective Facts in Incident Reports

incident reportsThe Michigan Supreme Court has issued an important decision on the scope of peer review protection. In Krusac v Covenant Med Ctr, Inc, the court held that “objective facts gathered contemporaneously with an event” are protected when “contained in an otherwise privileged incident report.” Krusac overruled a Court of Appeals opinion, Harrison v Munson Healthcare, which ruled that peer review protection only applied to the evaluative content in an incident report. Krusac reinforces the broad protections for “records, data and knowledge” that is collected by or for peer review committees.

While Krusac clarifies the scope of the statutory protection, it also highlights the need for hospitals and health facilities to carefully structure and properly document their peer review processes. It will be especially important in litigation to establish that a committee or individual has been assigned a peer review function and that information is being collected for the purpose of reducing morbidity and mortality and improving patient care.

Richard Kraus of Foster Swift filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the University of Michigan Health System in Krusac.

Categories: Hospitals, News & Events

2015 Michigan Health Law Update

On March 12, 2015 Foster Swift Attorney Jennifer Van Regenmorter co-presented the Michigan Health Law Update (“Annual Update”) at the 21st Annual Health Law Institute. The Annual Update provides an overview of the most significant Michigan-specific health law developments from the past year, many of which have been covered on this blog. This article will summarize the highlights from this year’s Annual Update. Read More ›

Categories: Hospitals, Insurance, Licensing, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events, Privacy

Hospital Mergers Continued to Climb in 2014

hospital mergersSince the approval of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, hospital consolidation has been on the rise and according to a report detailed in a recent Chicago Tribune article, 2014 followed suit with a “flurry of mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.” The article features findings from a report issued by healthcare consulting firm Kaufman Hall, including that in 2014 95 deals were announced, down slightly from 98 in 2013 but up from 66 in 2010.

Passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 increased pressure on hospitals to operate more effectively and efficiently, which has driven industry consolidation. The ACA favors a service model that rewards organizations for producing quality outcomes – not quantity – and many providers believe that compliance will be easier with the greater scale and integration enabled by mergers. Through consolidation, many also hope to be better positioned to attract new patients with expanded services and medical specializations.

Additionally, the ACA’s introduction of a massive wave of new patients into the healthcare system, combined with diminishing Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, means that the business of healthcare is becoming increasingly expensive, especially for independent hospitals. Another challenge – and driving force behind consolidation – has been the need to upgrade IT systems and facilities to comply with rules and regulations beyond the ACA. Read More ›

Categories: Health Care Reform, HIPAA, HITECH Act, Hospitals, News & Events

And Then There Was One: Economic Pressures Squeeze Metro Detroit Hospitals into Consolidation

Reduced reimbursements. A shift toward global payment. A demand for integration, quality of care and medical specializations. In order to compete amidst today’s healthcare market pressures, independent hospitals in Michigan and around the nation are increasingly deciding that they cannot go it alone. A recent Detroit News article reveals how this trend is playing out in Metro Detroit, with one of the region’s last two independent hospitals poised for acquisition.   

Observers of Detroit’s healthcare environment are reportedly not surprised by the news that Crittenton Hospital Medical Center has signed a letter of intent to join St. Louis-based Ascension Health, the largest Catholic and nonprofit health system in the nation. With Monroe-based Mercy Memorial Hospital announcing on January 6 that it is joining the ProMedica health care company, the Crittenton deal will leave Doctors’ Hospital in Pontiac as the region’s last remaining independent hospital.

Laura Wotruba, spokeswoman for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, said that this is not a Michigan issue, but rather a widespread pattern. “[It is] a national trend [and] something we’ve been seeing around the country.” Read More ›

Categories: Electronic Health Records, Health Care Reform, HIPAA, HITECH Act, Hospitals, News & Events, Regulatory

"Right to Try" Becomes a Reality in Michigan

PrescriptionOn Friday, October 17, Governor Rick Snyder signed the Right to Try Act, which allows patients to try experimental drugs and other treatments before they have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The law gives patients with advanced illnesses access to drugs that successfully cleared Phase 1 of an FDA approval. Phase 1 testing seeks to establish a drug's safety and profile and evaluates possible side effects. It involves 20-80 volunteers and lasts approximately one year. Read More ›

Categories: Hospitals, Insurance, Physicians, Providers

Hackers Declare War on Health Care and Industry Fights Back

health care hackers"It's a war we're in." That's how John Halamka, the chief information officer of Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, described the current state of affairs between the health care industry and the hackers and identity thieves who are trying to steal patient records.

A recent Boston Globe article detailed the threat and provided some interesting - and sobering - statistics and information:

  • There is high demand for health records, and a single health record may be worth $50 according to the FBI
  • Criminal intrusions into health care systems have risen 100 percent in the past four years
  • Of 614 total identity theft breaches in 2013, 269 (43.8 percent) were in health care (the most of any industry)
  • Despite being the subject of the most attacks, a recent study by BitSight Technologies found that health care providers are the slowest in any industry to respond to data breaches.

Hackers are motivated to target health records in order to facilitate identity theft, financial fraud and illegal drug use. The Boston Globe article, in particular, highlighted two recent incidents involving cyber-security breaches:  (1) Chinese hackers seized the personal information of 4.5 million patients at a Tennessee-based hospital network, and (2) federal officials disclosed on September 4 that a hacker managed to install malicious software on HealthCare.gov. Read More ›

Categories: Electronic Health Records, Hospitals, Privacy, Providers

New requirements for tax exempt hospitals imposed by the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, enacted on March 23, 2010, has established a number of new requirements that nonprofit hospitals must meet to maintain tax exemptions. Some of these new obligations, all codified in Section 501(r) of the Internal Revenue Code, include community health needs assessment and implementation, financial assistance and emergency care policies, limits on charges, and billing and collection restrictions.

In June 2012, the IRS released proposed regulations offering guidance to tax-exempt hospitals relating to certain provisions of Section 501(r). Although, the proposed regulations do not have the force of law, hospitals may rely on these to assist in implementing the requirements.

Below is a brief summary that highlights some of the new requirements for tax-exempt hospitals. Please refer to the full rule, Section 501(r) or contact us, to explore the extent of the new requirements in more detail.

Community health needs assessment and implementation (CHNA)

Effective for tax years beginning after March 23, 2012, hospital facilities must conduct a CHNA and adopt an implementation strategy at least once every three years. Read More ›

Categories: Health Care Reform, Hospitals