Recent news from American Medical Association

| April 26, 2008

Specialty hospitals measure rightly removed from farm bill
After vocal objection from the AMA, federal lawmakers abandoned a proposal to insert a provision into already-passed agriculture legislation that would ban physicians’ referrals to specialty hospitals in which they have invested.

The AMA has strong policy opposing limits on specialty hospitals because they offer an innovative way to provide patients with high-quality care, and because patients consistently report high satisfaction with the care provided at these hospitals. “Access to care for Medicare patients is already at risk because of looming Medicare physician payment cuts,” said AMA Immediate Past President William G. Plested III, MD. “Taking away a venue in which patients receive high-quality care is antithetical to the goal of improving seniors’ access to care. Keep the farm bill for the farmers—and let’s have an open discussion about access to health care and the importance of specialty hospitals in the light of day.”

Further attempts to enact limits on specialty hospitals are expected in this Congress, and the AMA will continue to oppose such limits.

AMA Web conference to cover financing EMR systems
In August 2006 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) passed federal rules making it possible for hospitals, health systems and health plans to donate health information technology (HIT) to physician practices. Given this recent trend, it’s important for physicians and practice managers to understand the details associated with HIT donation agreements and Stark law and anti-kickback statute requirements. That’s why the AMA is hosting the Web conference, “Financing electronic health record (EHR/EMR) systems: Should your practice accept a donation?”

All physicians and practice staff are invited to participate in this live, hour-long session from 1 to 2 p.m. CST on May 14. The program—featuring Heidi Echols of McDermott Will & Emery and Physician Health Partners’ Jay Want, MD, and Jeff Archambeau—is designed to help physicians comply with subsidized EHR and electronic prescribing technology regulations, recognize regular components of donation agreements and general information technology contracts, and prepare more effectively for any HIT selection. In addition, the program is open for all physicians and their staff and offers continuing medical education credit.

Category: General Healthcare News

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