AUSTIN, Texas — There are numerous legislative and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels as well as the federal health care reform law that are affecting the medical community, panelists told attendees at the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.
Keeping track of all the changes is “getting challenging. It's honestly tougher each year” to keep up with the activity and its effect on hospitals and other medical professionals, Daniel P. Groszkruger, a principal at Solana Beach, Calif.-based consulting firm rskmgmt.inc, said Monday during a legislative update at the Austin, Texas, conference.
More than half of state legislatures have passed laws concerning abortion, with only California, Hawaii, New York and Washington state expanding access, he said.
On a separate front, more than 60 suits have been filed challenging the contraceptive mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Federal courts have split on the subject and many say the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will have to decide the mandate, Mr. Groszkruger said.
A series of issues — including disability, mental health, gender identity, racial disparity and even refusing to hire smokers — also pose discrimination-related risks for the medical community, he said.
Paul English Smith, vice president and general counsel of Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., said the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act was supposed to “cure all ills and save us money in the process.” Instead, it has resulted in major fines against various health care providers.
Now, HIPAA also applies to “business associates” of health care providers, who are “on the hook the same as the public entity” should personal health information be exposed, he said.
On the subject of health care reform, Mr. Smith said Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont currently have reform efforts underway. Massachusetts, credited with inspiring the federal health care reform law, is “the most expensive state in the country for health care spending — by a long shot,” he said.
Coverage is up, Mr. Smith said of the Massachusetts law, but so are wait times to see a doctor.
Business Insurance's digital coverage of the 2013 ASHRM Annual Conference & Exhibition is sponsored by Travelers. To view all the Digital Daily news and related content in its ideal form, use a nonmobile browser to visit www.businessinsurance.com/ASHRM2013.