Massachusetts radiation therapy DON applications to be accepted October 1

At its July meeting held last week, the Massachusetts Public Health Council approved revisions to the Determination of Need guidelines for radiation therapy, finding need for an additional eight units.  This finding is based on population growth since the guidelines were last revisited, about seven years ago, and projected further growth.  The guidelines permit hospitals […]

Medicare rates to increase for nursing facilities

CMS announced on July 27: Medicare payments to nursing homes will increase by approximately $560 million in 2007. . . .  The 3.1 percent increase will be reflected in Medicare payment rates to nursing facilities that furnish certain skilled nursing and rehabilitation care to Medicare beneficiaries recovering from serious health problems. For further information, please […]

Universal Health Care, Wal-Mart, Maryland and Massachusetts

Since the passage of the Massachusetts Universal Health Care Law, many folks have been wondering "what about ERISA pre-emption?"  (OK, maybe not that many.)  In a nutshell (and with apologies to ERISA lawyers), Federal ERISA law pre-empts state law that relates to insurance in the context of employee benefits.  Richard Bales, among others, has opined […]

Whither the retail-based clinic?

Over the years, various non-traditional models of health care delivery have sprung up and, more often than not, disappeared a short while later.  Sometimes market forces bring about changes in traditional healthcare settings, such as same-day appointments in medical practices.  Sometimes they create new settings. One of the most powerful market forces in this field […]

No (patient) parking

CMS posted Survey & Certification Letter 06-21 on July 13.  The official summary reads as follows: CMS has received reports from hospital emergency departments concerning patients being left on stretchers for extended periods of time with emergency medical service personnel in attendance, possibly in violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. CMS recognizes […]

Does HIPAA work?

Development of a National Health Information Network (NHIN) — a uniform system of electronic health record architecture and interoperability — has been underway for a year or so under contracts awarded by U.S. HHS (see, e.g., last November’s award), and progress is monitored and reported through the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS). […]