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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on March 5th, 2014

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


McAllen Hospitals v. Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Hospitals denied Medicaid reimbursements challenged the state’s administrative ruling that the services were unnecessary and could have been performed on an outpatient basis. The trial court granted the state’s plea to the jurisdiction, concluding that the hospitals had not established a constitutional takings claim necessary to confer it jurisdiction. The Austin appellate court agreed that the hospitals interest in the payments at issue were not yet vested and could not support a takings claim. It also concluded that the administrative decision did not involve a “contested case” subject to judicial review. It found the trial court may have jurisdiction to consider the hospitals’ request for mandamus relief that would compel the state to consider appeals involving cases denied due to insufficient documentation.


Stethoscopes More Contaminated Than Doctors’ Hands
Researchers in Switzerland found that stethoscopes tend to be more contaminated with bacteria than the hands of the doctors using them, with the exception of the physicians’ fingertips. The study’s authors noted there are no official guidelines that detail how frequently stethoscopes should be cleaned.

CBO: Republican Health Law ‘Fix’ Would Cost Billions
A proposal by Congressional Republicans to fix the federal health law would cost as much as $74 billion and cause one million people to lose work-based insurance, according to Congressional Budget Office projections. The proposed fix would change the definition of a full-time employee from someone working 30 hours per week to someone working 40 hours.

President’s Budget Recommends Billions for Physician Training
President Barack Obama’s proposed budget recommends a $14.6 billion expansion of health-care and medical-training programs for fiscal year 2015. The funding would be used to increase the number of medical residents and encourage health care providers to provide services in rural areas with limited access to health care.

Study: Medical Homes Haven’t Saved Money or Substantially Improved Care
A pilot program intended to improve health care quality and reduce costs has not yielded substantial results. Patient-centered ‘medical homes’ involve team-based practices in which providers actively manage patients’ chronic conditions. An early study of the largest medical-home pilots found that after three years, patients’ health improved in only 1 of 11 measures.

Study: Primary Care Physicians More Likely to Misdiagnose Cardiac Disease in Women
Primary care physicians are more likely to misdiagnose cardiac disease in women and are sued more frequently than physicians practicing in other fields, according to a recent analysis of 41 lawsuits in California. Primary care doctors were defendants in 50% of the lawsuits evaluated, 22% were cardiologists, 17% were emergency medicine physicians, and 6% were orthopedists.

Health Law’s Small Co-Ops Experience Mixed Success
Nonprofit health cooperatives intended to drive down insurance prices in areas with little competition have experienced mixed success so far, with critics predicting that many will ultimately default on the federal loans they received. About 300,000 of the 4 million people who signed up for health care coverage in state and federal exchanges so far joined a health co-op, and in some areas supporters report the co-ops have succeeded in lowering prices.

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