Legislation Category

Massachusetts’ secretary of Health and Human Services is on record as saying urgent care is ideally suited to help reduce overcrowding emergency rooms, at least in Boston. As a guest on Herald Radio’s Morning Meeting program, Marylou Sudders referenced a recent report that patients are waiting nearly an hour to be seen, on average, in the EDs at Boston Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her proposed solution would be to have more urgent care centers specifically designed to get people with behavioral or addiction issues in and outRead More

Posted On April 25, 2017By JUCMIn Legislation

Why the Need for a Certificate of Need?

Despite progress in recognizing the need for cost-efficient, readily available care like that found in the urgent care setting—and data demonstrating that they don’t help mitigate healthcare costs anyway—certificates of need (CONs) continue to exist. Typically, states view urgent care centers as “physician offices” that would not be subject to a CON. As healthcare markets become more saturated (ie, competitive), however, there is growing concern that those threatened by the boom in urgent care could seek to erect entry barriers like CONs to discourage further growth. Since their inception atRead More
A lot of Republicans are angry that their elected officials have failed, thus far, to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) with something more to their liking. There may be an equal number of Democrats railing about the prospect of Congress doing exactly that. Senators and Congresspersons can expect to get an earful from both over the 2-week spring recess. Healthcare providers are likely to make their wishes known, too. Some legislators have already planned town-hall meetings to hear their constituent’s views, with healthcare expected to be aRead More
Texas legislators and the Dallas Morning News have both joined the chorus of voices calling for greater regulation of how freestanding emergency rooms present themselves and bill patients.  Recent news articles and editorials in the newspaper warn consumers about the high cost of mistaking a freestanding emergency room for an urgent care center, citing a $3,000 bill for out-of-network emergency room services vs a $200 charge for the same services at an urgent care center. As urgent care insiders and healthcare experts know, many insurance companies balk at paying highRead More
The College of Healthcare Information Management (CHIME) has joined 15 other organizations in asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to delay implementation of Stage 3 Meaningful Use and Certified EHR Technology requirements indefinitely. In a February 17 letter to Price, they stressed the importance of reducing regulatory burdens for physicians while “ensuring patients benefit from the best technology…and that the goal of a truly interoperable healthcare system comes to fruition.” The letter singled out Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program as being detrimental to attainment of that objective,Read More
As President Trump and members of both houses of Congress work to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”), the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) has revealed several health reform principles it will use to evaluate emerging legislative alternatives to the ACA. UCAOA says it will support policies that recognize urgent care should be treated as an essential health insurance benefit and included as an important element of value-based care, as well as those that pay for performance initiatives. The principles also state: Site-appropriate delivery of care shouldRead More
A federal judge in Texas granted a temporary restraining order against federal health officials who may seek to enforce rules that ban discrimination by physicians and hospitals against transgender patients. The judge says he based his decisions on the grounds that compelling doctors to support patients who have either completed or are currently transitioning could equate to forcing doctors to violate their own religious beliefs. Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wisconsin joined Texas in the suit, as did the Christian Medical and Dental Association and the Franciscan Alliance, an Indiana networkRead More
New guidelines from The Joint Commission clarify what clinicians are allowed to convey via text messages. Urgent care providers should especially be aware that clinicians are allowed to text each other using a HIPAA-compliant platform as long as they don’t do so to send patient care orders.  The new guidance, drawn up in consultation with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also stipulates that all healthcare organizations should have policies prohibiting the use of unsecured text messaging; that computerized provider order entry (CPOE) should be the preferred method forRead More

Posted On December 23, 2016By JUCMIn Legislation

FDA: Wave Goodbye to Powdered Exam Gloves

We told you months ago the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was assessing the viability and wisdom of banning use of powdered gloves in operating rooms and, more applicable to urgent care operators and clinicians, exam rooms. Now the agency says it has gathered sufficient evidence to publish a final rule banning the gloves, as well as absorbable powder for lubricating rubber gloves, due to “present an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury. The ban, effective as of January 18, 2017, covers not only sale of the gloves,Read More
The Texas Association of Business—the state’s chamber of commerce, essentially—is pushing lawmakers to come up with a bill that would allow more patients to use telemedicine. The TAB says the move is necessary after a decade of rising healthcare premiums and deductibles, which has increased the burden both on its members and their employees. Loosening restrictions on telemedicine has seen opposition from the physician-led Texas Medical Board, whose efforts have seen to it that the Lone Star State has some of the toughest rules against remote doctor visits in theRead More