Legislation Category

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says his agency needs to do more to help stem the opioid-addiction epidemic in the United Sates. For starters, he wants the FDA to impose stricter guidelines for prescribing immediate-release opioid drugs. The first step will be for the agency to expand training for physicians, nurses, and other providers who administer immediate-release opioids. While there is already training available, the FDA says it will now broaden information it provides about nondrug, not just nonopioid, approaches to pain control. Gottlieb promises the agencyRead More
One component of President Trump’s proposed budget could have significant impact on urgent care staffing if it remains part of the final version ultimately approved by Congress. Specifically, Trump’s plan—which is likely to be substantially rewritten as it goes through the House and Senate—would ensure 6 weeks of paid leave for both mothers and fathers after the birth of a baby. Some large employers have already instituted similar policies voluntarily, but smaller companies (eg, many urgent care businesses) maintain leaner staffs, and requiring them to pay employees on leave andRead More
Some California legislators are hoping to push through a single-payer healthcare bill that would cost the state an estimated $400 billion—more than the entire national budget of Honduras (and 116 more countries across the globe). If passed, the bill would in effect eliminate health insurance companies there and provide government-funded health coverage for all residents. If it needs to be said, funding the plan would require “significant tax increases,” according to legislative analysts. On the other hand, proponents say, much of the cost would be offset by existing state, federal,Read More
With an eye toward reducing the heavy economic burden stemming from patients visiting emergency rooms needlessly, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) is pitching legislation that would require the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to pay for care provided to veterans in urgent care centers. Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives. As written, the Veterans Emergency Room Relief Act of 2017 seeks to: Pave the way for veterans to receive care from nationally accredited urgent care facilities that have entered into a contract with theRead More
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