Here are seven recent legislative changes that affect ASCs.
Senate passes Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015
The Electronic Health Fairness Act protects physicians practicing in an ASC from possible penalties under the Medicare meaningful use program until a certified electronic health record technology is available for ASCs. The legislation authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to certify an EHR system for ASCs.
Legislation that would have enabled 72 hour stays at Florida ASCs died in the state senate earlier this month
The legislation was passed in the state House, but met opposition from hospitals and died in the Senate. However, the legislation may be revived and State Rep. Jason Brodeur (28th District) chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, plans to propose the 72-hour stay measure again.
FTC issues first-ever guidelines on unfair competition
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission released guidance on a section of business antitrust law that bars unfair competition. The FTC's policy details the basic principles the commission will use to decide whether to go after businesses for unfair competition under Section 5 of the 1914 FTC Act, which says "unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce" are illegal.
Call for HRAs for all small businesses
IRS imposed a policy charging $100 each day per employee for small businesses that offer traditional Health Reimbursement Accounts. The Affordable Care Act outlawed HRAs for small businesses with 49 or less employees who did not fall under the employee mandate and did not meet the law's "Essential Health Benefit" requirements. Many small businesses contested this policy as discriminatory, and legislators in the House and the Senate are working on The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act.
Medical liability coverage limits remain at $500k in Pennsylvania
Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller decided medical liability coverage limits will remain at $500,000 for the next two years rather than increasing to $750,000. Her decision affirms Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's administration's support of the physician community.
CVS to pay $450k to settle prescription dispute
CVS Health, based in Woonsocket, R.I., will pay $450,000 to settle allegations that several of its Rhode Island stores filled invalid prescriptions and kept deficient records. Despite paying the $450,000 civil settlement, CVS denies wrongdoing in this case.
DOJ probe of Aetna-Humana deal extended
Aetna will refile its premerger notification with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to give the regulatory agencies more time to review its proposed acquisition of Humana. Aetna expects the transaction will be completed in the second half of 2016.