Smart physicians are not immune from making highly regrettable mistakes when it comes to employment contracts. And unlike in medicine, you don't get the option of trying a new treatment plan if the first one doesn't work. Physicians are educated, and intellectually sophisticated. This means that, even though you weren’t trained to read legal contracts in medical school, courts expect that you have read and fully understand the terms of the contracts you sign. That means that, both during and even after your employment, you're stuck with the contract you sign, so make sure you avoid these common pitfalls.
On January 9, the 2019 General Assembly Session will convene, and there are several bills that are set to be introduced that may have an impact on Virginia healthcare providers. We will update this post with additional legislation as session progresses.
On December 12, 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill (The “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018” or the “Bill”), which includes provisions that exempt Cannabis plants with lower than 0.3% THC content (also called “Hemp”) from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Once signed into law, the Farm Bill effectively legalizes the production, commercialization, and interstate shipment and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products like cannabidiol or “CBD”. Each state (including Indian Tribes and U.S. Territories) will eventually be able to regulate hemp production like any other agricultural commodity, as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves its plan to monitor and regulate the plant’s production.
Beginning January 1, 2019, physicians and other Qualified Healthcare Providers (“QHCPs”) eligible to independently bill for E/M services can obtain standalone reimbursement for Interprofessional Internet Consultations using CPT Codes 99446-99449, 99451, and 99452.
The final 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (the “Rule”), released on November 1st, creates three new codes in the category of Chronic Care Remote Physiologic Monitoring (“CCRPM”) for (1) initial set-up and patient education, (2) initial device supply, and (3) monitoring data and interacting with patients or caregivers.
The final 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, released by CMS on November 1, 2018, includes a new code that physicians may use to bill for remote evaluation of images to determine whether or not an in-person office visit is necessary. Learn more about HCPCS Code G2010 and how it can be used in medical practices.
In its Final Rule for the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule released on Friday, CMS introduced a new code, HCPCS G2012, allowing physicians and other qualified healthcare professionals (“QHCPs”) to be reimbursed for “virtual check-ins” with patients who aren’t sure whether or not their symptoms warrant an in-office visit. Learn more about virtual check-ins and how they can be used by practices.
On September 27, 2018, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for the first time announced its own “road map” guiding voluntary self-disclosures and cooperation with government investigations of fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry. By encouraging self-disclosure, the government is incentivizing healthcare entities to come forward early with reports of violations in the hope of negotiating reasonable settlements, avoiding exclusion from Federal healthcare programs, and reducing the severe civil and criminal penalties that would otherwise be imposed for such violations.
“Do I really need a healthcare attorney? The Board is simply asking me to answer some questions and provide some documentation. Of course, a Board complaint is a big deal, but this part seems harmless/easy enough. I will just respond and tell them what happened, right?” The reality is that an effective response is not as straightforward as it may seem. Hiring a healthcare attorney to assist in the preparation of your response to a complaint investigation can improve your chances of resolving the complaint at the investigation stage, incidentally saving you money in the long run.
On September 25, 2018, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy met in closed session for more than five hours before awarding five conditional permits to five separate companies who will likely become the first Pharmaceutical Processors of Medical Cannabis in Virginia. Following this exciting announcement, these conditional license permittees will undergo background checks and, upon satisfactory results, will begin the arduous process of creating Virginia’s first vertically integrated Medical Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and retail facilities. The state’s program started in earnest in 2015, and due to the advocacy of Virginia patients, caregivers, legislators, and healthcare providers, expanded to its current state in just three short years.
In Virginia (and in many other states), NPs who do not have an autonomous practice must practice under the direct supervision of a physician as part of a patient care team, pursuant to what is called a “Practice Agreement,” or, “Collaborative Practice Agreement.” A Practice Agreement is an agreement between an NP and the NP’s supervising physician that describes the relationship between the parties, including the procedures to be followed and acts to be performed by the NP in the course of providing care to patients.
CMS recently released a Proposed Rule suggesting significant changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program, aimed at accelerating the path for providers participating in a Medicare ACO to take on risk for the cost and care of their patient populations. The following is a summary of key changes proposed to the MSSP.