RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia law that requires government approval for new or expanded health care facilities is constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a claim that Virginia’s “certificate of public need” program impermissibly interferes with interstate commerce. “While we cannot say whether Virginia’s program is ultimately wise, it most certainly is constitutional,” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote. Virginia requires medical providers to prove to the State Board of Health that proposed new facilities, expansions or major equipment purchases are necessary in a geographic area. According to the appeals court, 36 states have similar programs.
Is health care in America getting safer? This is a question that we all think about as doctors and patients. The answer seems to be not really. A new report found that hospitals have been gaming the system to make their re-admission numbers look good by putting patients who return in a special observation area instead of counting them as readmission. Independently, another report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that nationwide reductions in patient complications have plateaued. Furthermore, part of the reductions was due to creative ways that hospitals code or report complications. Many of us who take care of patients know that health care continues to struggle with endemic variations in quality stemming from poor coordination, misdiagnoses and inappropriate care. While state-of-the-art care is there, delivering it can be messy.
The “Direct” in Direct Primary Care refers to dealing solely with patients by purposefully excluding the insurance contract from the professional relationship. Since Direct Primary Care physicians operate without the restraints and mandates of insurance contracts, they are free to focus on the real needs of their patients; as opposed to representing the insurance network as a “subcontractor”. This direct engagement enables a level of lifestyle-friendly involvement that naturally leads to a more satisfactory patient-doctor relationship and potentially superior clinical outcomes, which are not currently attainable in our third-party controlled healthcare system.
Hackers already managed to compromise the health records of nearly 80 million Anthem customers in a high-profile breach earlier this year, but now analysts expect 1 in 3 patients will be similarly affected in 2016. Cyber attacks will continue to strike the health care industry next calendar year, IDC’s Health Insights group predicts in a new report, and the research firm expects around one-third of patients will be impacted as a result.
This year saw a record number of healthcare data breaches, including Anthem's massive cyber attack where almost 80 million patients' personal information was hacked. As previously reported by Healthcare Dive, an estimated 81% of healthcare executives reported their organizations have experienced a cyberattack in the past two years. These mega-size cyberattacks damage a company's reputation and finances. Furthermore, the attacks may not be included in a hospital's medical malpractice insurance. However, the extent and severity of an attack is key to how it affects credit ratings and analysis. "We do not explicitly incorporate the risk of cyberattacks into our credit analysis as a principal ratings driver," the report authors wrote. "But across all sectors, our fundamental credit analysis incorporates numerous stress-testing scenarios, and a cyber event, like other event risks, could be the trigger for those stress scenarios." In the report, Moody's identifies several key factors to examine when determining a credit impact associated with a cyber event, including the nature and scope of the targeted assets or businesses, the duration of potential service disruptions, and the expected time to restore operations. Healthcare Dive wrote about a report by Accenture last month, which estimated cyber attacks will cost the nation's healthcare systems $305 billion.