Healthcare Authority Newsletter - September 2023 #1

Arnall Golden Gregory LLP

News Briefs

Feds Propose New Nursing Home Minimum Staffing Requirements

The nation's most thinly staffed nursing homes would be required to hire more workers under new rules proposed by the Biden administration, the greatest change to federal nursing home regulations in three decades. The proposal, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would require all facilities to increase staff up to certain minimum levels, but it included no money for nursing homes to pay for the new hires.

(Source: The New York Times, 2023-09-01)


Proposed SNF Staffing Rules Draw Criticism Opposed by AHCA

The federal government will, for the first time, dictate staffing levels at nursing homes, the Biden administration said. The proposed rules, which now enter a public comment period and would take years more to fully take effect, call for staffing equivalent to 3 hours per resident per day, just over half an hour of it coming from registered nurses. The rules also call for facilities to have an RN on staff 24 hours a day, every day.

(Source: PBS, 2023-09-01)


Judge Strikes Down Several No Surprises Act QPA Provisions

The District Court for the Eastern District of Texas' ruling on striking down several regulatory provisions related to the qualified payment amount (QPA) calculation is yet another win for providers. This is the third time the court ruled to set aside certain regulations pertaining to the No Surprises Act, but this ruling specifically aimed at QPA calculations will help ensure providers have a fair fight with payers.

(Source: HealthLeaders Media, 2023-09-01)


Commission Issues Guidance on Patient Safety After Cyberattack

The Joint Commission, a healthcare accreditation organization, issued guidance on preserving patient safety after a cyberattack in its latest Sentinel Event Alert. In this issue, the Joint Commission stressed the importance of having plans and processes in place to ensure that patient care can be delivered without interruption in the wake of a cyber event.

(Source: HealthIT Security, 2023-09-01)


Analysis Looks at Why Physicians Sell Practices to Hospitals

A recently released analysis of 10 years of data on physician practice arrangements sheds light on the growing shift from private practice to physician employment in the U.S., including what's driving the decision for many doctors. The AMA Policy Research Perspective -- "Recent Changes in Physician Practice Arrangements: Shifts Away From Private Practice and Towards Larger Practice Size Continue Through 2022" -- looks at changes in employment status, practice ownership, practice size, and practice type, as well as differences between private and hospital-owned practices.

(Source: AMA Wire, 2023-08-29)


ATA's New Health Data Privacy Principles Include Six Components

Amid rising concerns about data privacy within the telehealth arena, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) released a set of principles to ensure patient data is protected during telehealth utilization. The ATA's Health Data Privacy Principles include six components: consistency, the definition of consumer health data, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, consumer rights, consumer consent, sale of data and opt-out, and enforcement.

(Source: mHealthIntelligence, 2023-08-31)


Hiring, Retaining Talent Lessening Concerns for Healthcare Execs

In assessing the biggest risks to their business, most healthcare executives say that the risk landscape is starting to ease, with recessionary fears not as prevalent as they once were and the overall picture improving for talent acquisition and retention -- although cyberattacks and uneven economic growth remain top concerns. The findings, from PwC's latest Pulse Survey, suggest that many executives are rethinking their traditional workforce and business models by investing in technology and innovation, with some even kick-starting their own schools for clinical staff training and development.

(Source: Healthcare Finance News, 2023-08-30)


Little Impact of Medicare Drug Price Negotiations Likely at First

Depending on who you ask, the first-ever Medicare drug negotiations will either mean huge pocketbook relief for seniors or the demise of America's pharmaceutical industry -- but the immediate impact will likely be relatively small, experts told Axios. There are still questions about how the Biden administration will arrive at what it thinks is a fair price for the drugs and how much of the savings from lower prices will ultimately be passed on to seniors.

(Source: Axios, 2023-08-30)


Regulators Boost Interest in P.E. Physician Practice Investments

Private equity firms have reportedly invested more than $750 billion in U.S. healthcare in the last 10 years alone, and while some of this investment has been in large systems or ancillary services, a significant amount has been targeted toward physician practices. With an increase in private equity funding and ownership comes a corresponding uptick in attention from federal regulators.

(Source: Medical Economics, 2023-08-30)


Study Finds ChatGPT 72% Accurate in Making Clinical Decisions

A new study from Mass General Brigham researchers testing ChatGPT's performance on textbook-drawn case studies found the AI bot achieved 72 percent accuracy in overall clinical decision making, ranging from identifying possible diagnoses to making final diagnoses and care decisions. AI could ultimately improve both the efficiency and the accuracy of diagnosis as healthcare in the U.S. gets more expensive and complicated as individuals live longer, and the overall population ages.

(Source: Axios, 2023-08-29)


Google Cloud Teams Up to Deploy Emergency Department AI

Earlier this year, HCA Healthcare launched a pilot program that equipped 75 emergency room physicians at four hospitals with Google's AI technology, utilizing an ongoing partnership with Google Cloud and Augmedix, a tech company specializing in ambient medical documentation. Now, the national provider is weighing up further expansion of the collaboration to incorporate the tech giant's generative AI tools in more hospitals later this year.

(Source: FierceHealthcare, 2023-08-29)


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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