Thursday, April 25, 2013

Medscape: New Bill Would Clarify Who Is a Medical Doctor and Who Isn't

Marcia Frellick, April 24, 2013

Sponsors of a bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives aim to eliminate consumers' confusion over who is considered a medical doctor.

Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD, (R-In.) and Rep. David Scott, (D-Ga.) are cosponsors of the bill, called the "Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act of 2013," (HR 1427), which was introduced on April 9 and referred to the Energy & Commerce committee.

The bill would make it illegal for any healthcare professional to make false or deceptive claims in advertisements and marketing materials regarding their training, degree, license, or clinical expertise. Anyone marketing a health provider's services also must clearly state the license the provider holds.

Read the rest at

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

WSJ: The Talking Cure for Health Care

Improving the ways doctors communicate with their patients can lead to better care -- and lower costs

Laura Landro, April 8, 2013

Doctors need to work on their people skills.

It's something patients have grumbled about for a long time. Doctors are rude. Doctors don't listen. Doctors have no time. Doctors don't explain things in terms patients can understand.

It's a familiar litany. But here's what is new: The medical community is paying attention.

Read the rest at

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine Approves Temporary Authorization for Physician Assistants to Practice Pending Board Approval of the “Application for Registration as a Supervising Physician”

At its meeting on March 21, 2013, the State Board of Medicine approved a temporary authorization for Physician Assistants to practice pending formal approval of the "Application for Registration as a Supervising Physician."

Upon submission of the application, Board staff will review the application ONLY for completeness and issue a letter to the supervising physician providing the temporary authorization for the physician assistant to begin practice.

Read the rest of the notice here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Robo-surgery mistakes land physician in hot water

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pharmacy Texas Emergency Physician Sues Hospital in EMTALA Whistleblower Claim

Robert A. Bitterman, MD, JD, FACEP

A U.S. District Court in Texas allows a physician's retaliation claim against the hospital that allegedly terminated his privileges for reporting violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

The Case of Dr. Walter Zawislak v. Memorial Hermann Hospital System1

Memorial Hermann Hospital suspended the medical staff privileges of Dr. Zawislak, purportedly for substandard care, and reported the adverse action to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Consequently, his employer, Team Health, terminated his contract to work at Memorial Hermann.

Dr. Zawislak claimed that the hospital rescinded his clinical privileges in retaliation for disclosing and reporting EMTALA violations committed by the hospital. He alleged that two unstable emergency department (ED) patients were transferred from Memorial Hermann to another trauma center because Memorial Hermann's trauma surgeon on-call was either unavailable or unqualified to manage the patients' injuries. He reported the trauma surgeon's conduct to the ED medical director and the hospital's "Root Cause Analysis Committee."

Read more about this case at

Thursday, April 11, 2013 Court upholds same-specialty expert witness requirement

In addition to ruling that the Arizona law is constitutional, justices defined “specialist” and “board certified” and outlined how courts should apply the law.

Tanya Albert Henry, April 3, 2013

Arizona physicians say a state high court ruling will help prevent frivolous medical liability lawsuits from moving forward.

The Supreme Court of Arizona in March ruled that a law requiring experts in such cases to share the same specialty as the treating physician does not violate state or federal laws that guarantee people the right to go to court.

Read more on the ruling at

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

amednews: Unseen and online: What are the limits for patient care?

With telemedicine expanding, doctors and others are puzzling out if there are acceptable substitutes for an in-person medical visit.

Sue Ter Maat, April 8, 2013

Having clinicians diagnose and treat patients over the Internet, without their ever having seen those patients in person, is making a comeback.

In the early 2000s, a state medical board shut down one attempt to make such online care legitimate. But today, in an age of greater comfort with telemedicine and delivering care over the Internet, the strategy is getting a closer look, as health leaders try to find ways to reduce costs and help expand patient access. Regulations generally don’t declare explicitly that treatment of previously unknown patients over the Internet is wrong. This provides an opening for an activity once associated mostly with online pill mills to be embraced by mainstream medicine.

Read the rest at

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

NAMSS Comments on Proposed CMS Rule

Shortly after CMS issued its proposed rule to "promote program efficiency, transparency, and burden reduction" in early February, NAMSS compiled a volunteer task force to review the proposal and respond to CMS. 

The Task Force specifically responded to five components of the proposal:  dietitian privileges, physician representation on the governing body, medical staff membership criteria, medical staff requirements for individual hospitals, and outpatient service orders from practitioners who are not members of the medical staff. 

Our comments to CMS are posted on the NAMSS website.  We will keep you updated on CMS's final rule, and as always, are happy to answer any questions that you may have. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

HRSA: The NPDB and HIPDB are Merging

Information regarding the merger of the Data Banks (the National Practitioner Data Bank [NPDB] and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank [HIPDB]) was published in the Federal Register, which means the NPDB and HIPDB will merge approximately 30 days from now into one Data Bank (NPDB) on May 6, 2013. The Data Bank system will be unavailable from 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2013 to 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 6, 2013 (Eastern Time) for system maintenance related to the merger. 

Learn more about the merger from HRSA here and here.

Monday, April 1, 2013 Public can see pharma payments to doctors starting in 2014

Revisions in the final transparency rule will give physicians more time to resolve payment amounts and won't require disclosure of indirect pay from accredited education programs.

Charles Fiegl, February 2013

After numerous missed deadlines, new regulations require that data on the payments and gifts that drug and medical device companies make to physicians will become available publicly in a searchable database beginning in September 2014.

The long-awaited final rule for the implementation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act — a 2010 law requiring financial ties between manufacturers and medicine to be disclosed — was released on Feb. 1. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services addressed several issues pertaining to the reporting of fees, meals, travel expenses and other transfers of value. Those issues were raised by the American Medical Association and other organized medicine groups over an earlier proposed version of the rule. For instance, CMS will allow doctors additional time to resolve disputes over any inaccurate data and will not require certain indirect payments from continued medical education programs to be reported on the database.

Read the rest at