Sunday, December 16, 2007

Medical Futility Blog

I don't know how I missed it, but here (better late than never) is a link to Prof. Thad Pope's estimable Medical Futility Blog, which does a nice job of tracking legal developments and the on-going political and scholarly debate over what to do (if anything) about claims for "futile" treatment.

Health reform: the time for happy chatter is over

Robert Samuelson -- Newsweek columnist and Washington Post op-editorialist -- had a typically fine piece in last Thursday's Post. Here's the nub of his argument:We're told that the uninsured are our biggest health-care problem, but they aren't. Runaway health spending is. although politicians pay lip service to that, what they really enjoy is increasing spending. It's understandable because

Monday, December 3, 2007

ACP publishes advance copy of major health reform policy statement

Intending to be a major player in the 2008 debate over health reform and universal coverage, the American College of Physicians has posted an advance copy of an article that will appear in its January 1, 2008, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine: "Achieving a High-Performance Health Care System with Universal Access: What the United States Can Learn from Other Countries." Full-text is available

Sunday, December 2, 2007

New York City Law Review Issues Call for Papers on Health Care

The New York City Law Review announces a call for papers for its spring symposium, "Critical Condition: What's Ailing Health Care in America?" This event will be held Friday, March 28, 2008, at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's Meeting Hall in Midtown Manhattan.The Symposium will look at two critical questions: (1) Can international human rights frameworks help the United

AHLA Health Lawyers Weekly, Nov. 30

Some interesting stuff in the Health Lawyers Weekly this time around:Top StoriesOIG Takes Back Power To Investigate Employee Criminal Conduct From FDA -- The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) will no longer share responsibility with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for investigating potential criminal misconduct by FDA employees, Inspector General

Informed consent & SCOTUS: A tale of two doctrines

Interesting paper . . .The Constitutional Right to Make Medical Treatment Decisions: A Tale of Two DoctrinesJESSIE HILL Case Western Reserve University - School of LawTexas Law Review, Vol. 86, No. 2, December 2007Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-28Abstract: The Supreme Court has taken very different approaches to the question whether individuals have a right to make autonomous medical

Top Ten Health Law Stories in 2008: FDA

There's no denying either the urgency of the FDA's mess or the bipartisan political appeal of the issue of food and drug safety. Consider this lead from the New York Times' Nov. 29 article on the latest report describing the agency's woes:The nation’s food supply is at risk, its drugs are potentially dangerous and its citizens’ lives are at stake because the Food and Drug Administration is

Friday, November 30, 2007

WSJ: Health policy caps mean catastrophic coverage may not be there when needed

Yesterday's WSJ ran a story that highlights the plight of the insured middle-class in this country: It's possible to max out a health policy with a $1.5 million cap in the metaphorical blink of an eye. The story is here (though it may require a paid subscription to read it).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When hospice patients don't die quickly enough, Medicare comes knocking

Some years ago, the Medicare program proposed to recoup hospice payments if a patient didn't die within 6 months, which was the probable life-expectancy that a physician had to certify for a patient to receive the Medicare hospice benefit. As I recall, that proposal was met with howls of protest and dropped.What Medicare couldn't do directly, however, it is now doing indirectly, as described in

Friday, November 9, 2007

Krugman: Health Care Excuses

Okay, I know he's a liberal (Exh. 1: "The Conscience of a Liberal"), and so am I, so there are times when I suppose Paul Krugman's arguments seem irresistible when they're not. But today's column strikes me as just plain common-sensical.Krugman offers up four common excuses often used to argue against health reform and then refutes them. It is worth a read. Here are the excuses:Excuse No. 1: No

Insurer misconduct alleged in California

From today's Modern Healthcare:Calif. insurance chief probes report of cancellationsCalifornia’s insurance commissioner is investigating a report that Health Net rewarded an analyst more than $20,000 in bonuses tied to canceling individual health insurance policies, thereby saving the company millions in medical expenses. “We certainly view this as a serious breach,” said Byron Tucker, spokesman

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Deputies seize baby to test blood against parents' will

Deputies seize baby to test blood against parents' will - Associated Press -- Here's a nicely framed conflict between public health laws designed to protect newborns vs. parental religious beliefs, in state (Neb.) that doesn't provide a religious exemption for newborn testing. Absent a First Amendment claim (which would fail), the only constitutional argument would be a claimed infringement of

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Iglehart on the House's failure to override Bush's SCHIP veto

John Iglehart, the founding editor of Health Affairs and national corespondent for the New England Journal of Medicine, posted his instant analysis [may require paid subscription] of the House's failure on Thursday to override the President's veto of the SCHIP reauthorization bill, HR 976. Iglehart's provides an excellent overview of the controversy and connects this contretemps to "the larger

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Federeal employees' health plan not much of a model for reform

There's a good analysis of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) by Reed Abelson in The New York Times today. Various presidential candidates are talking about the FEHBP in their stump speeches, suggesting that this country's 47 million uninsured could be covered by the same plan that covers their elected representatives. Bottom line: There's really nothing about the FEHBP that

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Major-party presidential candidates on health reform

Here are links to the major-party presidential candidates' health-policy web pages, which I offer in alpha order and without editorial comment:Joe Biden: Brownback: Clinton: Chris Dodd:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Here's a news post courtesy of FDLI's SmartBrief:White House to face state SCHIP lawsuits -- New Jersey was the first of several states expected to file lawsuits against the Bush administration over rules set in August that limit state coverage of children's health insurance to exclude children in middle-income families. Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and

Friday, September 28, 2007

FDA's oversight of human-subject research: slim to none

That's the bottom line of a report from the Inspector General of DHHS, according to an article in the New York Times. The IG's report (pdf), and a news release (pdf) about its conclusions, were released today. In his typically media-friendly way, Art Caplan colorfully summarized the report's conclusions this way: "In many ways, rats and mice get greater protection as research subjects in the

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Health Lawyers Weekly, September 14

Crowell & Moring partner Art Lerner and counsel Michael Paddock have an analysis of the FTC's recent Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Corp. decision in this week's Health Lawyers Weekly from the AHLA. The decision, in which the Commission held that Evanston's acquisition of Highland Park Hospital violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act but declined to order divestiture, was a rare if not

Vatican reaffirms stance on obligatory nature of ANH

"The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented." And ANH is

Insuring the uninsured: the right thing to do, but what's in it for me?

Today's New York Times has an article on the new round of health-care reform proposals that are being advanced by various presidential candidates. On the dim prospects for any of the proposals to extend coverage to the uninsured and improve coverage for the underinsured, the article makes the following point:In short, altruism has its limits, as does the public’s appetite for trade-offs in their

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Drake Law School looking for health law/insurance law teacher

Faculty opening at Drake:DRAKE LAW SCHOOL seeks applications for a tenure-track position in the area of health law, insurance law and related fields commencing in the 2008-09 academic year. We are interested in both entry-level and experienced candidates with a J.D. degree and strong academic credentials who exhibit the ability to produce excellent scholarship and become outstanding teachers.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Medicare beneficiaries lag in taking advantage of covered screenings and preventive care

From the Wall Street Journal (via AHLA's Health Law Daily [link should be good for about a week]):CMS says Medicare is spending more on prevention efforts. The Wall Street Journal (8/26, McQueen) reported, "Medicare, the federal health-insurance program for older Americans, increasingly is paying for screening tests and immunizations that previously were not covered. But the vast majority of

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tax-exempt hospitals and "community benefit"

This is a bit tardy but well worth noting here and reading the underlying documents as time permits. In July the IRS issued an interim report on community benefit in the hospital industry (news release), based upon responses to its 2006 questionnaire to 500 hospitals. The Service's main finding: "The report contains preliminary findings on how hospitals, one of the largest components of the

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Health Lawyers Weekly, August 10

The AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly features two articles by lawyers from Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.S.C., on the IRS' publication in the July 26 Federal Register of its final rule for 403(b) plans (a/k/a tax-deferred annuity plans) and DOL's simultaneous publication of Field Assistance Bulletin 2007-02 containing guidance on how 403(b) plans can avoid compliance with ERISA.This week's

NY Times editorial on why the U.S. doesn't have the world's best health system

The Times' editorial looks at the Commonwealth Fund's recent international report card that compared the U.S. with Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the U.K. In the words of the Commonwealth Fund:the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. The U.S. is the only

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

DC Circuit (en banc) reverses panel decision in Abigail Alliance case

The much-anticipated en banc decision of the D.C. Circuit came down today. The court ruled, 8-2, that dying patients do not have a fundamental right of access to drugs that have either just completed Phase I testing or are in Phase II. The big surprise to me was that no-one on the court joined the two judges -- Chief Judge Ginsburg and Judge Rogers -- who comprised the majority in the original

Friday, August 3, 2007

Security issues for hospitals

Scary words: "Hospital = Target"In this week's Health Lawyers Weekly, Mark Rogers analyzes hospital-security issues in a post-9/11 world. The risk is anything but speculative, as this list demonstrates:Several incidents since the attacks of 9/11 have highlighted this risk. Considerthe following:November 2002: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued an alert to hospitals in San Francisco

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Washington pharmacists sue to block "morning after pill" law

From AHLA's Health and Life Sciences Law Daily:Washington pharmacists sue state over requirement of morning-after pill. The AP (7/28) reported, "Pharmacists have sued Washington state over a new regulation that requires them to sell emergency contraception, also known as the 'morning-after pill.' In a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, a pharmacy owner and two pharmacists say the rule that

Transplant surgeon charged in patient death

In what is reported to be the first ever such prosecution, a California transplant surgeon has been charged with prescribing excessive doses of morphine and Ativan to hasten the death of a disabled patient in order to harvest organs for transplant. The story is here (AP/Washington Post). I suppose the fact that this sort of case has never been brought before won't stop it from being hyped in the

Monday, July 30, 2007

Medical tourism: Mexico for cost, quality, access

Today's Dallas Morning News has an article about the great medical care available south of the border for a fraction of the cost of comparable care here in Texas and without the delays and hassles. This is just the latest wrinkle in the unfolding story of medical tourism, which has already established India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand as "go to" destinations for patients seeking

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

States get health care report card from Commonwealth Fund

There's a good article in the current Modern Healthcare (may require paid subscription) about the recent state-by-state analyses of cost, quality, and access from the Commonwealth Fund and (looking at quality alone) AHRQ. The Commonwealth Fund web site has a fabulous interactive map and lots of features as well as downloadable report, executive summary, PowerPoint chartpack, and data tables.

Monday, June 25, 2007

AMA urged to oppose retail health clinics

According to a story in today's Chicago Tribune, "several doctors groups" are urging the AMA to oppose the propagation of health clinics in retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and Walgreen. An AMA committee took testimony on Sunday and will be weighing its options for a recommendation to the full House of Delegates, which is in Chicago for its annual meeting, over the next two days. The groups are in

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Health Lawyers News, June 22

From the folks at American Health Lawyers Association comes this week's issue of Health Lawyers News:Top Stories OIG Finds Sale Of Part Of Physician-Owned ASC To Hospital Could Trigger Sanctions. The sale of part of an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) to a nonprofit hospital could potentially generate prohibited remuneration under the Anti-Kickback Statute and could lead to the imposition of

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bush vetoes stem-cell-funding bill

As promised, the President dropped S. 5 into the trash today.S. 5, the “Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007"President's veto messagePresident's comments about his vetoAs predicted, Bush made adult-stem-cell research the linchpin of his argument.Amazing. Or not.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Orleans grand jury moving in on Memorial Medical Center doctor

Disturbing news from CNN out of New Orleans:(CNN) -- Two nurses accused in the post-Katrina deaths of four patients at New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center have been offered immunity to testify before a special grand jury, sources close to the investigation tell CNN.Sources also told CNN the grand jury has been told as many as nine patients may have died after being administered what Louisiana's

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Pain treatment and the fine line between therapy and felony

In this morning's NY Times Magazine:When Is a Pain Doctor a Drug Pusher?By TINA ROSENBERGPublished: June 17, 2007Those treating pain make subjective choices about dosage. When a doctor gets it wrong, is it a mistake or a felony?For a variety of reasons, and for a variety of patients (not only patients who have chronic and severe pain) and their doctors, the article includes some important facts,

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ellen Goodman on stem cells

Ellen Goodman's column on the stem-cell breakthrough (a "breakthrough" if you're a mouse anyway) today in the Boston Globe hit just the right notes:Congress' bill to increase federal funding for stem-cell research (S. 5) is heading to the President, who -- if he keeps his promise, and who thinks he won't? -- veto the bill in order to protect the embryos that would otherwise be destroyed for their

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In health care, high cost not necessarily the same as high quality

Just an excellent article in today's NY Times about a study that shows significant disparities between health care charges and health care quality. This is a must read for teachers of health care law survey courses. Here's a bit from the early paragraphs:Stark evidence that high medical payments do not necessarily buy high-quality patient care is presented in a hospital study set for release

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

SCOTUS: Home health workers not entitled to overtime pay

The Supreme Court has held that home healthcare workers are not entitled to overtime pay (Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke).Here's AHLA's excellent media review of the Court's decision:In a unanimous decision in Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke (pdf), the Supreme Court found that home healthcare workers employed by a private company or employer are not covered by laws on overtime pay

Monday, June 11, 2007

"Boarding" in EDs on the rise, according to survey

The number of uninsured (and underinsured) continues to rise. Where do these patients go for their health care? The most obvious answer is emergency departments, which are required by Medicare to screen for emergency conditions and to stabilize any they find, regardless of ability to pay. Even those without an emergency condition may get their sore throat and fever treated, or perhaps they will

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New dispute over frozen embryos

Just in time for Monday's 4th Bioethics class, here's a Dallas Morning News article on the dispute in Austin over the disposition of frozen embryos, involving a divorcing couple and their interrupted plans for an IVF pregnancy. (The article exemplifies one of my pet peeves about journalists' tangential (at best) understanding of legal process. In its last paragraph, the article states, "Arguments

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Health Lawyers News, June 8

From the folks at American Health Lawyers Association comes this week's issue of Health Lawyers News:Top Stories More Questions Surface About FDA's Response To Avandia RisksThe House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing June 6 to probe the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) role in evaluating the safety of the diabetes drug Avandia. Full Story House Passes Stem Cell

Thursday, June 7, 2007

On the day before the House passed the stem-cell funding bill (S. 5 passed in the Senate on April 11), which Pres. Bush has promised to veto, there was interesting, potentially revolutionary (but potentially not) news on the stem-cell science front: Skin cells from mice have been reprogrammed to act as stem cells. If that carries over to humans and the results are consistently reproducible, we're

Monday, June 4, 2007

TB quarantines are usually a local matter, rarely federal

That's what last night's AP story on Drew Speaker reported. True enough, and this case illustrates that local authority is still pretty much hit-or-miss. Maryland officials claimed not to have the authority to detain or quarantine him, but as the AP reports, many state and local jurisdictions do. Speaker was being kept in quarantine pursuant to a federal order -- the first in 44 years -- but that

Top SSRN downloads in public health law

Here are the top 10 SSRN downloads in public health law as of the end of May:Why Evolutionary Biology is (So Far) Irrelevant to LawU of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 89, U of Texas Law, Law & Econ Research Paper No. 81Brian Leiter and Michael Weisberg , University of Texas at Austin - School of Law & Department of Philosophy and University of Pennsylvania DatePosted: March 23, 2006Last

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Groopman on medical error: it's not all about systems

There's an interesting blog post by Rob Cunningham over at Health Affairs, ostensibly about Jerome Groopman's new book, How Doctors Think. Here's a sample:[T]he subtlety of the cognitive biases associated with diagnostic error in Groopman’s work and other studies suggests a daunting re-education challenge. Greater reciprocity in doctor-patient relations is a part of the answer that is consistent

Art Caplan on Dr. Death's release and legacy

I'm glad Art sees this guy the same way I do. Here are some nuggets:I believed Kevorkian was a very dangerous killer [in 1994], and I still believe it now. He helped dozens of depressed and disabled people die without trying very hard to convince them to live. Kevorkian believes in suicide on demand. He thinks that doctors have an obligation to help anyone who decides that their life is not worth

SSRN: Top health law downloads

End-of-month (or beginning-of-month) recap of the top 10 SSRN downloads in health law (look for public health law rankings tomorrow):Safe Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and CrimeYale Law School, Law & Economics Working Paper No. 237John R. Lott Jr. and John E. Whitley , State University of New York - Department of Economics and University of Adelaide - School of EconomicsDate

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tubercular lawyer's world-wide travel raises public health questions

"Drew" Speaker, and every public-health office and official he encountered in the past couple of weeks, are now at the center of a serious controversy. The best single story that summarizes what we know so far appeared in this morning's New York Times. In addition to a full account of Speaker's travels and discussions with public-health officers, John Schwartz asks all the right questions:"Why

Dr. Death out of prison

I can't let the moment pass without acknowledging the release -- after 8 years in the Michigan prison system -- of Jack Kevorkian, a former pathologist who performed active euthanasia (a/k/a "murder") on a patient, filmed it, and allowed "60 Minutes" to air the event (AP, courtesy of Forbes). ("60 Minutes" will broadcast an interview with Mike Wallace this Sunday.)He's a ding-bat, to be sure.

Dutch reality tv program -- "Big Donor Show" -- a hoax

Wouldn't you know: One of the stories that lured me out of semi-retirement and back to HealthLawBlog -- the one about the Dutch tv network that was about to air a show featuring a terminally-ill patient interviewing three candidates in kidney failure to decide which one would get her kidney -- turns out to be a hoax by the network, designed to pressure government officials to reform

Friday, June 1, 2007

Health Lawyers News, June 1

From the folks at American Health Lawyers Association comes this week's issue of Health Lawyers News:Top StoriesCMS Implements New Marketing, Education Requirements For PFFS PlansAbby L. Block Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) Center for Beneficiary Choices sent a memo May 29 to Medicare Advantage (MA) Private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans reminding them that CMS

Thursday, May 31, 2007

NIH creates and confers new AID research awards

This is a little late in hitting the usually up-to-the-moment HealthLawBlog (!), but it's still worth noting. NIH has created the NIH World AIDS Day Awards to recognize truly brilliant, trail-blazing work by researchers and program managers whose contributions to AIDS research have probably saved the lives of millions. One of the recipients this past year was Bob Yarchoan (who, I am proud to say

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

China's ex-regulator of food and drug gets death penalty

And I thought we took food and drug regulation pretty seriously over here! This is from the AP (courtesy of The Boston Globe), and thanks for the tip to Peter Leibold, the EVP at American Health Lawyers Association:China's former top drug regulator was sentenced to death Tuesday for taking bribes to approve untested medicines, as the country's main quality control agency announced its first

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dutch reality tv: who will get my kidney?

According to AP this morning (courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times), the BNN television network in The Netherlands plans to go forward with its reality program, "Big Donor Show," in which a terminally ill 37-year-old woman will interview and choose from among three transplant candidates. The network says they intend the show to serve as a public-service message about the number of Dutch patients (

Monday, May 28, 2007

Emergency research protocols expand

It was controversial when the FDA amended its version of the Common Rule (21 CFR Part 50) in 1996 to add a provision that allows for emergency research when true informed consent isn't possible (§ 50.24) -- the first time human subjects could be legally enrolled in research without their consent. The FDA defended the move as a modest exception for the relatively rare instances in which research

Saturday, March 31, 2007

California health reform

Ned Spurgeon (Utah and visiting distinguished chair at McGeorge this semester) has done a really nice piece on California health reform. It's been posted by Elizabeth Ann Weeks (Kansas) on the Jurisdynamics blog page.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Living with an incurable genetic disease

The N.Y. Times ran a remarkable story last Sunday describing the life changes that occur when a person chooses to learn whether she has the genetic condition -- Huntington's Disease (or HD) -- that killed her grandfather and afflicts her cousin. Is it a good idea to find out, or is it an invitation for sorrow, stigmatization, and loss of insurability? The issues are explored sensitively and in

Fen-phen lawyers defrauded plaintiffs, court rules

Physicians, other health care professionals, hospitals, and other health-care entities take their lumps here with some regularity, so it is perhaps only fitting that I should note this story from yesterday's N.Y. Times:W. L. Carter knew there was something fishy going on when he went to his lawyers’ office a few years ago to pick up his settlement check for the heart damage he had sustained from

Federal bill prohibiting genetic discrimination analyzed by Congressional Budget Office

H.R. 493 (the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007") would broadly prohibit genetic discrimination by employers (including states and their political subdivisions), unions, employment agencies, and insurers. It has 221 co-sponsors, which is more than enough (assuming they all vote for the bill in the form in which it hits the floor and after amendments, if any) to pass in the House.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

From CMS today (see new COP in Friday's Federal Register (I'll supply the link when it's available tomorrow)):NEW MEDICARE HOSPITAL CONDITIONS OFPARTICIPATION FOR TRANSPLANT CENTERSThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule today setting forth the requirements that transplant centers must meet to participate in the Medicare program that moves Medicare covered

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

IRS releases "Good Governance Practices" for charitable organizations

I meant to post this earlier, but the posts have been few and far between this month, and Davis & Tremaine beat me to the punch, so I have to give them credit for this one: The IRS has announced the release of a staff discussion draft of "Good Governance Practices for 501(c)(3) Organizations." Major sections of the draft include these topics: Mission Statement, Code of Ethics, Due Diligence, Duty

Monday, March 5, 2007

GAO testimony on DOD/VA care problems for injured soldiers, vets

GAO released the text of its testimony today before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The witness list and links to testimony and related documents are here. What is fairly clearly emerging is a sense that the problems with outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Hospital -- described in a series of articles in The

To be middle-class and uninsured

Robert Pear has an interesting front-page article today in the N.Y. Times ("Without Health Benefits, a Good Life Turns Fragile") on the growing phenomenon of employees and independent contractors whose arrangements don't include health insurance. The main focus is about a 50-year-old real-estate agent with Century 21, Vicki Readling, who makes about $60,000 but can't afford a health-insurance

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Washington state courts publish public health emergency bench book

A number of jurisdictions have published bench guides for dealing with public health emergencies. The most recent of which I am aware comes from the courts in the state of Washington. Their Public Health Emergency Bench Book (HTML) (PDF) is a tidy little guide that provides a good checklist for any other court system considering what procedures are available during a public health emergency, as

NY Times article on the pervasive -- and perverse -- presence of IRBs on campus

Today's article is more about nonmedical research that is subject to IRB review and occasional veto, but it is interesting as a cultural marker that shows the spreading influence of the medical model of consent (and the growing pushback thereto).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Second Champaign hospital loses its exempt status

Health Business Policy has a news flash that the Champaign County (IL) "Board of Review reports that the Illinois Department of Revenue (“DOR”) has revoked the property tax exemption of a second hospital in Champaign-Urbana, the Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign, Illinois, agreeing with the original recommendation filed by the Board of Review to the Illinois DOR in the spring of 2005."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Everything you always wanted to know about nanotechnology but were afraid to ask

Health lawyer Alan Goldberg alerted me to these nanotech-related publications from EPA:EPA's Science Policy Council's Feb. 15 white paper (pdf);EPA fact sheetEPA's nanotech web pageIf you're coming to the nanotech party a little late, a good place to start would be the federal government's National Nanotechnology Initiative:The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a federal R&D program

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lethal injection: what does the physicians' non-role portend?

Sunday's NY Times Magazine had an article by Elizabeth Weil on the boomlet of public and official opinion that is starting to cohere against the administration of the death penalty, in states that still have it, by lethal injection. Two articles in the past year by Atul Gawande (one in the New England Journal of Medicine and one in Nature) focus specifically on the role of physicians in such

AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (Feb. 9)

From the 9 February issue of AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly:Top StoriesPresident Bush Issues FY 2008 Budget, Calls For Substantial Medicare, Medicaid ReductionsPresident Bush issued his fiscal year (FY) 2008 budget proposal this week, calling for roughly $101 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid over five years. Full Story CMS Reports More Medicare Part D Beneficiaries Using Generic

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Texas' HPV vaccination mandate: upon further reflection . . . .

The Saturday Times printed some interesting reactions to that paper's editorial support for the executive order by Texas Gov. Rick ("The Haircut") Perry that requires girls to receive HPV vaccinations before they would be allowed to enter sixth grade:Although you note the “opt out” approach taken by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas in which vaccination is required but parents can seek an exemption for

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hospice - rethought and revised

There's a nice article in today's NY Times about hospice care and the ways in which it's being reimagined and revised to encourage its use by more patients and at an earlier stage in their illness. The key change is the option of continuing curative treatments while enrolled in hospice, which (i) makes hospice available to those who aren't ready to give up such treatments and (ii) reduces the

Monday, January 29, 2007

Health Care for the 21st Century: a call to action Does anyone know what John Kitzhaber's been up to since he stopped being governor of Oregon? The Archimedes Movement. Check it out.

Monday, January 15, 2007

AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (12 Jan 07)

From the January 12 issue of Health Lawyers Weekly (reprinted with AHLA's permission):Top StoriesHouse Passes Bill Requiring Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation; Bush Threatens VetoPresident George W. Bush has threatened to veto a bipartisan bill that would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices on

Sunday, January 14, 2007

GAO reports from November

Last week the Government Accountability Office listed its November 2006 health-related reports:End-Stage Renal Disease: Bundling Medicare's Payment for drugs with Payment for All ESRD Services Would Promote Efficiency and Clinical Flexibility. GAO-07-77, November 13, 2006 (35 pages). Renal Disease: Medicare Payments for All ESRD

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Health Affairs' 25 most-read articles of 2006

Here's an offer that's too good to pass up:Health Affairs’ 25 Most-Read Articles From 2006To celebrate the start of Health Affairs’ 25th anniversary year, we list here the 25 most frequently viewed articles published in 2006. In 2006, Health Affairs’’ Web readership grew to 12 million pageviews.The paper on nurse staffing in hospitals by Jack Needleman and colleagues took the top spot for a paper

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

AHLA's Health Lawyers News (5 January 2007)

From the January 5 issue of Health Lawyers Weekly (reprinted with AHLA's permission):Top StoriesMedicaid Commission Issues Final Report On Medicaid ReformThe Medicaid Commission said "fundamental reform" is needed to shore up the long term sustainability of the federal-state Medicaid program in a final report issued December 29 that details its recommendations for achieving that end. Full Story

Monday, January 8, 2007

Another angle on middlemen

As noted here before (and before), middlemen have the potential to increase the efficiency of the health care system, but they can also be a drag on the system. Paul Krugman last week* noted that the privatization of Medicare, including (but not limited to) the use of pharmacy benefits managers in the Part D pharmaceutical benefit, has not worked out so well. As an example, he notes that the

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

HIPAA privacy rule: Is it time for (re)reform?

Kaiser's Health Policy Daily has a nice summary of a Wall Street Journal article (link good for 7 days) on HIPAA's privacy loopholes that appeared the day after Christmas:"[I]ncreasingly complex confidentiality issues" in federal medical privacy rules "are affecting patients and their insurance coverage," the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the Journal, complaints of privacy violations

Monday, January 1, 2007

Krugman touts single-payer system

This is definitely a dog-bites-man story, but it's a new year, so I suppose it's appropriate that Paul Krugman should start 2007 with a theme that was one of his favorites in 2006 [link; it's a TimesSelect item, so unfortunately it's available only for subscribers):The U.S. health care system is a scandal and a disgrace. But maybe, just maybe, 2007 will be the year we start the move toward