HB 21, signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on March 19, 2018, imposes a number of legal requirements on health care practitioners who prescribe controlled substances, particularly opioids. This new law encompasses 205 pages and imposes new obligations on practitioners that carry penalties for noncompliance. The purpose of this article is to provide a summary of the provisions of HB 21, and provide practitioners with the information they need to comply with the new law. Unless otherwise noted, the provisions of this law go into effect on July 1, 2018.
As deductibles rise and co-pay amounts get higher, the number of people leaving the country to have lower cost surgery elsewhere continues to grow. This “medical tourism” has previously been mostly limited to cosmetic surgery and and dental work that is not generally covered by insurers, but now more and more people are looking for other types of surgeries internationally, either to save costs, find a shorter waiting list or to get access to treatments not approved by the FDA.
As one of over 750,000 practicing physicians in the United States, it seems impossible that you could influence the field by advocating for change on your own. Think of what you might accomplish though, if you were to add your name to the roster of a more powerful force, a medical association with thousands of members? Wouldn’t that lend your voice real power and strength?
Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. This is a shocking number, especially considering that many of these opioids were prescribed by a doctor. The misuse of and addiction to opiate painkillers is a major crisis in our country that has reached epidemic proportions. Not only does it affect the health and wellness of our citizens, it impacts the social and economic welfare of our communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is about $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and involvement by the criminal justice system.
Accountable care. Healthcare Infomatics. Value-based reimbursement. As medical professionals, it seems we are called on more and more to also become insurance experts. The language and logistics of health insurance grow increasingly complicated, but in order to understand the wellness and treatment options our patients may have at their disposal, we need to be educated in the terminology and vocabulary of the insurance industry.
As promised, the the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in more than 30 years, commonly known as The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, arrived on President Donald Trump’s desk before Christmas and on the 22nd of December, he signed it into law. We have all heard that this is a major overhaul that may limit or end many deductions we currently use. How much is really changing though? And how will it affect us as medical providers?
While everyone wants to find a cure for cancer, the next best thing is early detection. There is exciting news on the cancer detection front, researchers have developed a new blood test that can detect eight common types, including the notoriously elusive liver and pancreatic cancers.
We had a very insightful and meaningful meeting on Wednesday night. Our physician community has been inundated with word soup for the past few years and just recently with the term “clinically integrated network”. Chris Emper flew in from out of town to give us very helpful definitions of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Independent Physicians Associations (IPAs), and Clinically Integrated Networks (CINs). He then further discussed what each entity means for us as physicians. For those of you unable to attend, I wanted to provide an overview of the discussion as this topic is extremely important to our practices.
From smart refrigerators to door locks you control with your phone, virtually every aspect of our lives has gone digital. Our healthcare is no exception. Medical devices such as insulin pumps and implantable cardiac pacemakers are going “online” which means that just like computers and their networks, these devices can be vulnerable to security breaches.
Medicare Advantage plans, with their reduced or free premiums and low out of pocket costs, have been a great help to many people. According to new data, the Advantage program looks ready to have another positive year of growth in 2018.