This blog is written by Mr. Steven C. Schurr, Esq. and focuses on health care law matters that pertain to food and drug law, regulatory compliance, privacy rights, insurance coverage, state and federal disability coverage, patient advocacy issues, and mental health coverage and treatment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Obamacare Regulations

Three key sets of regulations needed to implement the Affordable Care Act have been issued. Insurers, consumer groups and the public have 30 days to weigh in with comments on two of the proposed rules {essential benefits and premiums) and will have until Jan. 25 for the third, which outlines how employers can structure wellness programs that offer discounts to workers who participate. The contents of the laws which authorize these regulations are summarized in my October 23, 2012 blog "Contents of Obamacare - Part 2". Here is a good article from Kaiser that summarizes the proposed regs:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Contents of Obamacare - Part 11- Elders

The Elder Justice Act.This law, among other things, establishes forensic centers to determine elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. “Elder” is defined “an individual who is 60 years old or older!”. The law offers grants to the states to promote “adult protective services.” There will be a study on the usefulness of a “nurses aide registry”. (Each year, 5000,000 to 5,000,000 elders are abused, neglgected, or explited. Last year, financial exploitation robbed seniors of $2.9 billion dollars, per a MetLife Mature Market Institute study. 77 million baby boomers are now approaching retirment and old age. In Illinois, Financial exploitation is the most common type of elder abuse in Illinois. Improving Access to Innovative Medical Therapies. The law allows for FDA approval of “biosimilar” biologics, which are analogous to generic drugs, which are less expensive than proprietary drugs. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with implementing an abbreviated pathway to the market for biosimilars. A “biologic” is a “virus, therapeutic serum, toxin, antitoxin, vaccine, blood, blood component or derivative, allergenic product or analogous product, or arsphenamine or derivative of arsphenamine (or any other trivalent organic arsenic compound), applicable to the prevention, treatment, or cure of a disease or condition of human beings.” NEXT: FUNDING FOR OBAMACARE

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Contents of Obamacare -Part 10 - Fast Food and Dental Care

Prevention of Chronic Disease and Promotion of Public Health: The law authorizes a “National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, headed by the Surgeon General. The committee includes the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Education, Federal Trade Commission, Transportation, Labor, Homeland Security, environmental Protection Agency, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and others. The purpose of the committee is to promote coordination among the federal agencies for the promotion of health-care related goals. The law also creates an “Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.” The purpose of the committee is to establish policy and program recommendations on life-style based chronic disease and management. School-based health centers. The law provides grants to schools to establish these centers. Oral care. Not much is said about oral disease (dental care) in regards to health reform. The beloved state of Illinois recently cut adult dental care for Medicaid recipients, except for tooth extractions and emergency care. Indiana provides adult dental services under Medicaid under limited circumstances. The federal Affordable Health Care Act (”Obamacare”) doesn’t say much about dental care either. It approves a few grants to study the problem and intends to publish related studies. The New “Wellness” visit under Medicare includes the following: determination of medical history, a list of current health care providers and medications, determination of cognitive impairments, determination of a screening schedule, a list of personal risk factors for disease, and counseling as how to reduce the risk. The law then goes into particular details as to how funding under Medicare for mammograms, and immunizations. Fast-Food Restaurants: There is now a federal definition of a “food restaurant chain”: it is one that is part of a chain “with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name… and offering for sale substantially the same menu items”. These “chains” must now include caloric information on their menus. Federal regulations shall ensue as to standard menu items that come in different flavors, varieties, or combinations, but which are listed as a single menu item, such as soft drinks, ice cream, pizza, doughnuts, or children’s combination meals. The law goes on to strengthens public health surveillance systems through grants, including pain management and research and childhood obesity.