Friday, September 29, 2006

Ill. rules against Provena in property-tax case

From Modern Healthcare's Daily Dose:The director of the Illinois Department of Revenue [link] rejected an appeal by Provena Health, Mokena, Ill. [link], in a widely watched property-tax exemption case. [See previous posts here, here, and here.] In doing so, the director overruled an administrative law judge in the department who had sided with the not-for-profit system. Provena said it "will

Latest from AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (29 Sep 2006)

From the excellent Health Lawyers Weekly (AHLA member benefit), here's the table of contents from the September 29 issue:Top StoriesIOM Issues Recommendations For Improving FDA Post-Market Drug Surveillance -- The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) ability to oversee the safety of prescription drugs after they hit the market is undermined by a number of systemic deficiencies--including

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Public hospital governance manual

From the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems comes this handy 94-page guide, authored by three Powell, Goldstein health lawyers: Legal Structure and Governance of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. Good stuff.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Health costs' rate of increase down, but still 'way ahead of inflation, family incomes

Two stories in the New York Times today, both well worth reading. (And I don't have a stable link to take you to them; as soon as I find one, I will insert it here. Until then, the links I do have require a free registration.)"Health Care Costs Rise Twice As Fast As Inflation," by Milt Freudenheim:A widely followed national survey reported yesterday that the cost of employee health care coverage

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Excited delirium": legitimate diagnosis or another name for "police brutality"?

Every so often -- as with the administration of the death penalty, for example -- medical science and law enforcement procedures overlap in interesting ways. So it is with this story -- dateline Dallas, Sept. 25, from the AP (courtesy of MyWay):Police found 23-year-old Jose Romero in his underwear, screaming gibberish and waving a large kitchen knife from his neighbor's porch. Romero kept

Monday, September 25, 2006

Universal access, universal coverage, universal pessimism

Two developments on the access-to-health-care front today:The Congressionally-created Citizens' Health Care Working Group released their long-awaited "Recommendations to Congress and the President." (There appears to be no link to the entire report, only to individual sections and appendices.) As reported by Modern Healthcare:The U.S. should work to ensure all Americans have access to affordable

Is teacher's suicide attempt "an immoral act"?

This is probably a little more of an employment law issue, but mental health lawyers may find interesting this story from the September 20 issue of CDC's Public Health Law News:“Teacher’s suicide attempt prompts morality debate”St. Petersburg Times (09/10/06) Mary Spicuzza month, the Pasco County, Florida, School Board will

Health policy redux

Our reading assignment in Health Law tomorrow is Chapter 7 in the casebook by Furrow et al. ("Health Care Cost and Access: The Policy Context"). The main focus of the reading is a comparison of various ways of expanding access and controlling costs. It's fortuitous that the invaluable journal Health Affairs, has just posted a new article ("U.S. Health System Performance: A National Scorecard") by

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Change in organ allocation rules produce dramatic results

There's a good piece in today's N.Y. Times about the dramatic decrease in waiting times for patients on the lung-transplant waiting list, due in part by changes in allocation policies (from longest time on the list to a combination of medical need and ability to thrive after transplant). Technological advances have helped a lot, too, making it possible for more cadaveric lungs to be preserved for

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Latest from AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (22 Sep 2006)

From the excellent Health Lawyers Weekly (AHLA member benefit), here's the table of contents from the September 22 issue:Top StoriesPhased-In Pay-For-Performance Program Would Encourage Healthcare Quality Improvement, IOM Finds: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) should phase in a pay-for-performance system in order to promote improvements in the quality of healthcare, the

Friday, September 22, 2006

Medicare Part D: appeals process and regulatory oversight

The Kaiser Family Foundation released two issue briefs on the Medicare prescription drug benefit program (Part D) last week:Issue Briefs Examine Medicare Drug Benefit's Appeals Process and Regulatory OversightKaiser released two issue briefs related to the Medicare drug benefit. The first focuses on the appeals process and highlights issues that can affect beneficiaries' access to needed

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Disasters and the law

I just received a copy of Disasters and the Law, the new book by Dan Farber and Jim Chen (Aspen 2006, ISBN 0735562288). It's an interesting read, obviously intended for teaching a course with the same title/focus as the book. It's a really different take on a lot of topics that would otherwise be found chopped up into pieces and distributed to different legal disciplines. To get a flavor of it,

Sunday, September 17, 2006

From the JCT: a handy little black-letter primer on tax-exempt hospitals

For health-law students who are struggling, or who (like mine) are planning to struggle, to understand the federal law of tax exemptions as it applies to hospitals, life just got a whole lot easier. In connection with the Senate Finance Committee's Sept. 13 hearings on the same subject, the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation published "Present Law And Background Relating To The Tax-Exempt

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Latest from AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (15 Sep 2006)

From the table of contents of the September 15 issue of AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly, a free member benefit:Top StoriesGrassley Continues To Examine Nonprofit Hospitals' Provision Of Charity Care -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) took the next step in his effort to examine the nonprofit hospital sector by convening a hearing September 13, Taking the Pulse of Charitable

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tax-exempt hospitals & Sen. Grassley's Finance Committee

The Senate Finance Committee's web page for the Sept. 13 hearing on tax-exempt hospitals is fully populated with witness statements, as well as the Senator's opening and closing remarks, including the words on the subject of charity care:Turning now to charity care, particularly discounted care and free care for low-income uninsured, there actually seems to be some agreement that nonprofit

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Latest from the law reviews

From the Marian Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington:FOOD AND DRUGHareid, Jonathan A. Comment. Testing drugs and testing limits: Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd. and the scope of the Hatch-Waxman safe harbor provision. (Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I. Ltd. [Integra II], 125 S. Ct. 2372, 2005.) 7 Minn. J.L. Sci. & Tech. 713-756 (2006). [L][W] Ma, Jonathan. Note.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Senate Finance Comm. hearings scheduled on nonprofit hospitals and community benefit

From AHLA's Tax and Finance Practice Group comes this e-mail alert:To: Tax and Finance Practice Group MembersFrom: Linda S. Moroney, Chair; John B. Beard, Vice Chair, Membership; James R. King, Vice Chair, Educational Programs; Stephen P. Nash, Vice Chair, Publications; Thomas J. Schenkelberg, Vice Chair, ResearchDate: September 8, 2006 Under the leadership of Chairman Chuck Grassley, the Senate

Sunday, September 10, 2006

DEA and proposed controlled-substances rules

From the Federation of State Medical Board's weekly "BoardNet News" (Friday, September 8, 2006):DEA Seeks Comment on New Proposed Controlled Substances RulesThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is seeking comment on a policy statement and a proposed rule regarding the issuance of multiple prescriptions. The documents, “Dispensing Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain” and “Issuance

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Latest from AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (8 Sep 2006)

From the table of contents of the Sept. 8 issue of AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly, a free member benefit:Top Stories CMS Reports On Ongoing Improvement Of QIO ProgramThe Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program is an essential component of initiatives in transparency and performance-based payment of providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said in an August 31 report to

Friday, September 8, 2006

New article documents higher brain activity in vegetative patient

The N.Y. Times reports today that the journal Science has published an article [abstract; pdf (requires subscription)] in which British researchers performed a functional MRI (fMRI) scan on a post-traumatic-brain-injury patient diagnosed to be in a vegetative state and got back scans that would be indistinguishable from results obtained from subjects without brain injury. According to the Times

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Health law positions at Georgia State

Georgia State is looking for a couple of good public-health law profs:Georgia State University’s College of Law seeks highly qualified applicants for three or more full-time faculty positions beginning with the 2007-2008 academic year.Areas of special interest include criminal law and procedure, and it is anticipated that a successful candidate would be hired at the rank of assistant or associate

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

SSRN roundup: health law (August 2006 additions)

Here are last month's postings to the ever-useful SSRN:Being Specific About Race-Specific MedicineHealth Affairs, Vol. 25, 2006Jonathan D. Kahn and Pamela Sankar, Hamline University - School of Law and University of Pennsylvania - School of MedicineDate Posted: August 30, 2006Last Revised: August 30, 2006 Accepted Paper Series Counterfeit Drugs: The Good, the Bad and the UglyAlbany Law Journal of

Monday, September 4, 2006

Krugman: Why is health policy malpractice a conservative disease?

You can't read today's (or any day's) op-ed piece by Paul Krugman (or any other columnist in the N.Y. Times) unless you are a TimesSelect subscriber, so this link to his column, "Health Policy Malpractice") won't work for many of you. More's the pity. He compares the VA health care system (which by most measures appears to be working well -- excellent outcomes, low costs per patient) with

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Post-grad opportunity at Harvard

From I. Glenn Cohen, a fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics (Harvard Law School):The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School2007-2009 Post-Graduate and Mid-Career Fellowship ProgramCall for Applications: Deadline October 16, 2006The Petrie-Flom Center is an interdisciplinary research program at

Will Christian Science health plan count in Massachusetts?

As recently reported by the AP (courtesy of the Portsmouth (NH) Herald), health care regulators in Massachusetts are beset by a bevy of difficult issues in the wake of the Bay State's passage of a universal health care law:When Gov. Mitt Romney signed the Massachusetts' health care law in April, it was hailed as a watershed moment. Under the new law, Massachusetts is the first state to require

AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (Sept. 1)

Here's the table of contents from Friday's "Health Lawyers Weekly," a free member benefit from the American Health Lawyers Association (and reprinted here with their permission):September 1, 2006 Vol. 4, Issue 34 Top StoriesSpecialty Hospitals Associated With Increased Utilization, MedPAC FindsPhysician-owned heart hospitals are associated with a significant increase in the rate of cardiac

U.S. research: running on empty?

Today's N.Y. Times has a piece ("The State of Research Isn't All That Grand") discusses the implications for the U.S. economy of reduced R&D expenditures in both the public and private sectors. The balanced conclusion:In global R.& D. rankings, the United States is still the clear leader in spending, with 34 percent of the total. In fact, about half of all such spending comes from just two