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OIG Reports 57% EHR Use

Health Industry Watch reported the following: According to the OIG, 57% of Medicare physicians used an electronic health record (EHR) system at their primary practice location in 2011, based on a sample of 2,000 physicians who provided at least 100 evaluation and management (E/M) services in 2010. Almost one quarter of physicians (22%) first began … Continue Reading

2012 PA MCARE Assessment = 23%

The Insurance Department has determined that the annual assessment to be levied for calendar year 2012 shall be 23% applied to the prevailing primary premium for each participating health care provider. The total assessment cost for 2012 will be $203,824,513. This amount is $26,741,075 more than what was collected form the 2011 assessment to cover claims, … Continue Reading

Oregon State Appeals Court Upholds Constitutionality of Ban on Economic Damages

In Klutschkowski v. PeaceHealth, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that Oregon’s statutory cap on non-economic damages does not violate the state’s constitution remedy and jury trial clauses in an action brought to recover injuries sustained during child birth. Oregon law provides, with certain exceptions, “in any civil action seeking damages arising out of bodily…the amount … Continue Reading

CMS Approves Physician Recruitment Contracts with Restrictive Covenants

In CMS Advisory Opinion AO-2011-01, CMS has issued a favorable advisory opinion allowing the physician recruitment arrangement with a hospital and a physician practice which imposes a restrictive covenant upon the recruited physician. Restrictive covenants and recruitment arrangements had initially been prohibited by the Stark Rules. However, bowing to industry comment, CMS amended the physician recruitment … Continue Reading

Maine Supreme Court Enforces Restrictive Covenant, But Allows Liquidated Damages

Several physicians employed by Court Street Family Practice, a division of the Sisters of Charity Health Systems Inc. (Health System) resigned to join a competing practice owned by a competing health system. The employment contracts included a “Limitation of Practice” clause which “forbade them from practicing medicine with Central Maine Health Care Corporation, its affiliates or … Continue Reading

Medicare EHR Incentive Program Deadline for Hospitals Soon Approaching

The last day for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to begin their 90-day reporting period for this fiscal year for the Medicare EHR incentive program is July 3, 2011.  Hospitals and critical access hospitals must begin their 90-day reporting period by this date if they still want to successfully demonstrate meaningful use and receive … Continue Reading

Physician Restrictive Covenants

There have been many articles written about the negotiation and enforceability of physician restrictive covenants, but there are just a few fundamental concepts crucial to understanding and successfully navigating these issues. 1.         The Myth of Unenforceability. Many physicians either completely ignore or dismiss the significance of restrictive covenants because of the mistaken belief that restrictive covenants … Continue Reading

Deciphering “Meaningful Use” for Electronic Health Record (“EHR”) Technology (Contributed by Lee Kim, Esquire)

The Health Information Technology for Clinical Health Act (the "HITECH" Act) provides economic incentive for the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology and qualified Electronic Health Record systems ("EHR"s). A physician, other professional, or hospital shall be deemed to be a meaningful EHR user if: 1) Certified EHR technology is used in a … Continue Reading

Ultimate EMR Irony: Harvard Study Says No Savings – CMS Issues 556 pages of EMR Incentive Regs

  Thanks to the commenters of the linkedIn Health Innovations Group for highlighting the Harvard study concluding that hospital computing modestly improves processes, juxtaposed with CMS announcement of intent to publish EMR incentive payment  and meaningful use regs in early January. http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2009-31217_PI.pdf http://www.amjmed.com/webfiles/images/journals/ajm/AJM10662S200.pdf… Continue Reading

CBO Projects Minimal Impact of Tort Reform

One component of the ongoing health care reform debate is the cry for tort reform. While tort reform would certainly be welcome in the health care industry, the need for tort reform is more an issue of justice than controlling health care costs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Congressional Research Service provided a report (Medical … Continue Reading

PA 2010 MCare Assessment = 21%

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department published a notice in the Saturday October 24, 2009 PA Bulletin announcing the 2010 MCare assessment to be 21% of the “prevailing primary premium,” which is the Joint Underwriting Association’s (JUA) occurrence rate.  … Continue Reading

The 2010 Limits for Qualified Retirement Plans

  As they do every year, the Internal Revenue Service released the dollar limits that apply to qualified retirement plans. There are three separate charts below that list the limits for 2010. The three charts are separated to identify the limits for: (1) defined contribution plans, (2) defined benefit plans, and (3) both defined contribution and defined … Continue Reading

Employee Benefits Law Alert – “Summary Prospectus” Now May be Used

  "Summary Prospectus" Now May Be Used Under ERISA Section 404(c) in Lieu of Statutory Prospectus  On September 8, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2009-03. This guidance states that a fiduciary may continue to satisfy ERISA Section 404(c)’s requirements by providing a mutual fund’s “summary prospectus” rather than the … Continue Reading

UPMC and WPAHS Battle Over Physician Restrictive Covenants

A recent Allegheny County Court Case clearly establishes that the enforceability of restrictive covenants is not an urban myth; they are enforceable and vigorously litigated.  In Allegheny Specialty Practice Network and the West Penn Allegheny Health System v. Joseph J. Colella, M.D., ASPN and WPAHS obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting Dr. Colella from practicing within … Continue Reading
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