Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bones and tissue stolen by undertakers and sold illegally

This CNN story is just the latest in a long line of exposés of the apparently irremediably corrupt bones-and-tissue market. How long can this business go without significant regulation? USA Today had a good report on the situation in June 2006. The illustration to the right, by the way, shows an X-ray of a corpse whose leg bones were surreptitiously removed and replaced with household PVC pipe,

Monday, October 23, 2006

Porter & Teisberg's "Redefining Health Care" gets raked over the coals

I was impressed by Michael Porter's and Elizabeth Olmstead Teisberg's article-length adaption of their health-care policy book when the article appeared in the June 2004 issue of the Harvard Business Review. Now the book is out, and judging from the lukewarm (at best) response over on the Health Affairs blog, it is either not up to the standards one might expect from one of Harvard's 21

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Widener seeking new director of health law program

Widener School of Law is looking for a director for their health law program. Here are the specs:Widener University School of Law (Wilmington, DE campus) is seeking an experienced teacher and scholar to direct our nationally prominent Health Law Institute. Administrative experience is also desirable, but not necessarily required. The Director will be responsible for working with other health law

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Latest from AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (20 Oct 2006)

From the excellent Health Lawyers Weekly (AHLA member benefit), here's the table of contents from the October 20 issue:Top StoriesOIG Confirms Compliance Guidance Applies To Physician Investments In Medical Device Firms -- Compliance guidance on joint ventures involving physician investors applies to medical device and distribution entities, said the Department of Health and Human Services Office

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If it could happen to Triad, it could happen to you

It's a sign of the times, I suppose: As health insurance becomes more expensive, more employers (especially small businesses and others that operate at the margins of profitability) drop health insurance, throwing more employees into the category of "self-pay" (unless they can afford coverage in the extravagantly priced individual-policy market), thus increasing the percentage of self-pay

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Latest from AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (13 Oct 2006)

From the excellent Health Lawyers Weekly (AHLA member benefit), here's the table of contents from the October 13 issue:Top Stories CMS Reduces Improper Claims By $1.3 BillionImproper Medicare claims payments were reduced $1.3 billion between 2005 and 2006, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said October 12.The Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) error rate has declined from 14.2% in

Monday, October 16, 2006

"The Massachusetts Plan and the Future of Universal Coverage"

That's the title of an upcoming conference (click here) and law review symposium issue (click here) at the University of Kansas School of Law. (Do I see the fine hand of old pal Gail Agrawal in this topic and the great lineup of speakers?) Thanks to Professor Elizabeth Weeks for the heads up on this one.

AHLA, Matyas & Valiant score with new edition of fraud and abuse classic

I wouldn't want to guess how many thousands of health lawyers have turned to one of the first two editions of Legal Issues in Healthcare Fraud and Abuse by David Matyas (who joined in on the 2nd edition) and Carrie Valiant, both of the Washington, D.C., office of Epstein, Becker & Green. Since its publication by AHLA in 1994, LIHFA has served as a primer on fraud and abuse issues for the newly

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Back to the world of the living

I've been away for a little work on my damaged left knee. Sorry for the break in communications. I'll try to make up for lost time tonight and tomorrow. . . .

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Falling into Medicare Part D's doughnut hole

Good editorial in the Oct. 6 N.Y. Times about the Part D Medicare pharmaceutical benefit. It omits one fact and misleadingly states another.1. For some beneficiaries, the effect of the doughnut hole -- which leaves seniors paying 100% of their drug costs between $2250 and $5100 -- will be higher out-of-pocket costs after Part D became effective than before. For some, perhaps many or even most,

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Rationing flu vaccine: WSJ considers the ethics

Good discussion in a FREE online article over at the Wall Street Journal: "If We Must RationVaccines for a Flu,Who Calls the Shots?," by Sharon Begley. Here's the teaser:You have 100 doses of a vaccine against a deadly strain of influenza that is sweeping the country, with no prospect of obtaining more. Standing in line are 100 schoolchildren and 100 elderly people.The elderly are more likely to

Friday, October 6, 2006

Latest from AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (06 Oct 2006)

From the excellent Health Lawyers Weekly (AHLA member benefit), here's the table of contents from the October 6 issue:Top StoriesIllinois Department Of Revenue Denies Nonprofit Hospital's Property Tax Exemption Renewal -- The nonprofit hospital, Provena Covenant Medical Center (Provena), does not qualify for the charitable institution tax exemption provided for under Illinois' property tax

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

GAO: CMS' medical data susceptible to hackers

Here are a few opening paragraphs that ought to startle even the most jaded government bureaucrat:Security weaknesses have left millions of elderly, disabled and poor Americans vulnerable to unauthorized disclosure of their medical and personal records, federal investigators said Tuesday. The Government Accountability Office said it discovered 47 weaknesses in the computer system used by the

SSRN roundup: public health law (September 2006 additions)

Governance, Microgovernance and Health - Temple Law Review, Vol. 77, p. 335, 2004Scott Burris, Temple University Beasley School of LawDate Posted: September 27, 2006Last Revised:September 27, 2006Accepted Paper Series3 downloads Regulatory Paradox in the Protection of Human Research Subjects: A Review of OHRP Enforcement Letters - Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 101, No. 2, 2007, Temple

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

NLRB rules most charge nurses are "supervisors"

In a potentially far-reaching opinion on September 29 (and released today), the NLRB (by a 3-2 vote) ruled that permanently assigned charge nurses are supervisors -- and therefore are a part of managment -- and ineligible for union membership. Here's the "Daily Digest" version of the story from Modern Healthcare:The National Labor Relations Board ruled that certain full-time hospital charge

SSRN roundup: health law (September 2006 additions)

Consolidating Pharmaceutical Regulation Down Under: Policy Options and Practical Realities - Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 06-36, University of Queensland Law Journal, Vol. 26, No. 1, p. 111, 2006Frances H. Miller, Boston University School of LawDate Posted: September 26, 2006Last Revised:September 26, 2006Accepted Paper Series6 downloads Navigating the Social Safety Net: A

Monday, October 2, 2006

More on the Provena tax-exemption case

As previously noted here, Provena Covenant Medical Center last week lost its administrative appeal to the Illinois Department of Revenue of Champaign County's decision to revoke Covenant's tax-exempt status. The Department's September 29 ruling is available here (pdf).For an extremely helpful analysis of all the issues -- prepared by Linda Sauser Moroney, a partner in the Milwaukee office of

Sunday, October 1, 2006

GAO report on emergency medical services post-Katrina

Hurricane Katrina: Status of Hospital Inpatient and EmergencyDepartments in the Greater New Orleans Area. GAO-06-1003, September29. Report; highlights.Summary findings:While New Orleans continues to face a range of health care challenges, hospital officials in the greater New Orleans area reported in April 2006 that a sufficient number of staffed inpatient beds existed for all services except for

Cancer treatment @ $4200 a pop: is it worth it?

Today's NY Times had an article in the Business section on Abraxane -- in the words of the author, "a new version of an old cancer drug has helped make Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong a billionaire":The drug, Abraxane, does not help patients live longer than the older treatment, though it does shrink tumors in more patients, according to clinical trials. And the old and new medicines have similar side