It only comes around once every four years, and when it does, it can mean significant changes are on the horizon. 2016 is a presidential election year, and with this comes changes in legislation, policy, and legal process. Keeping up-to-date with healthcare news always has importance, but during a presidential election year, keeping legal issues on your radar is especially important.
Staying aware of ideas and proposals relating to healthcare legislation that can affect your practice is no easy task. On both the national and state level, countless plans, bills, and proposals constantly circulate. To help you stay in-the-know, I’ve summarized a few articles on health reform and healthcare legislation.
Under authority from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare will test whether or not equalizing the financial incentives of prescribing drugs affects which drugs are prescribed. Currently, specialty practice providers receive a bonus of six percent of the drug’s cost. Medicare’s query involves lowering that percentage to two-and-a-half percent plus a flat fee not impacted by the drug’s price. They plan to gather data to find whether reducing incentives affects a doctor’s likelihood to prescribe the more expensive drug.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is working toward the new payments to be budget neutral, which will affect doctor earnings. Notably, doctors who prescribe more expensive drugs will make less, and doctors who prescribe less expense drugs will make more.
A study led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College assessed reporting efforts of four types of medical practices: primary care, cardiology, orthopedic, and multi-specialty. 250 practices of each type were surveyed, bringing the sample size to 1,000 random practices.
Researchers found that reporting quality measures costs each physician 785 hours per year. Translated to dollars, each practices spent around $40,000 per physician each year. Study-wide, costs totaled 15.4 billion dollars. These numbers have brought questions about the relevance and value of these current measures. Additional scrutiny questions whether current reporting measures improve patient care.
After nearly two weeks of deliberation, the senate passed legislation authorizing the Attorney General to award grants (not funds) to address two national epidemics: prescription opioid addiction and heroine addiction. As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services will develop a task force to establish best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication and develop a plan for disseminating said practices.
Remaining aware of new information, policy shifts, and legislative changes prevents you and your practice from being blindsided by healthcare reform. Educating yourself shouldn’t be exhaustive, that’s why HIS is committed to bringing you relevant, timely industry updates. To receive healthcare updates directly to your inbox, sign up for our eNewsletter below.