Monday, May 11, 2009

FTC Delays Physician "Red Flag" Rules

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has delayed the May 1 implementation deadline of the "red flag" rules for physicians, setting a new compliance deadline of August 1, 2009. The red flag rules require creditors to have written policies for preventing and handing cases of identity theft. Physicians fall under the act because they receive deferred payment through insurers.

The American Medical Association (AMA) and other groups claim that the red flag rules place an unnecessary burden on physicians, especially small practice groups. They also claim that the protections intended under the FTC rules are already addressed under HIPAA.

Source: AMNews

Industry Groups Pledge to Cut Healthcare Costs by $2 Trillion

The White House has announced that several healthcare industry groups have pledged to help reduce healthcare spending by 1.5 percent a year over the next ten years. These groups promised to help reform the healthcare system to make it more cost efficient.

The groups, which include the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American Health Insurance Plans, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, have not outlined a specific plan for how they plan to save the US $2 trillion, despite increasing healthcare costs. They plan to disclose more details after meeting with President Obama.

Areas of focus for reform include: standardization, use of evidence-based best practices and treatments, health information technology, administrative simplification, and the use of quality-based incentives.

Source: The Washington Post

Friday, May 8, 2009

AMA Fifth Pathway No Longer in Effect Starting July 1, 2009

The AMA will discontinue the Fifth Pathway Program after July 1, 2009. The Fifth Pathway allowed students at a foreign medical school to complete their clinical work at a U.S. institution, with eligibility for U.S. residency training and licensure.

The Fifth Pathway certificate, not a U.S. medical diploma serves as the credential for students under this program. The January 2009 entering class will be the last class recognized under the program.

The following four pathways will still be recognized for entry into residency training in U.S. medical schools:

1. Graduation from a U.S. medical school
2. Certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
3. Full and unrestricted licensure by a U.S. licensing jurisdiction
4. Passing the Spanish language licensing examination in Puerto Rico.

Source: AMA