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June 22, 2017
              FHIweekly               
Volume VIII |  Issue 25   
Florida Supreme Court Overturns Med Mal Damage Awards Cap
Matt Gracey

The Florida Supreme Court's recent overturn of the caps on non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice cases is the final nail in the coffin of tort reforms enacted in 2003. The frequency of lawsuits against doctors and correspondently the premiums for malpractice insurance in Florida since 2003 have dropped on average about 65% and the market has become healthy with many insurers competing for doctors' business. As the premiums have steadily dropped over the last decade and a half many insurers' loss ratios have now increased up to and in many cases over the 100% combined loss ratio mark so most insurers have been needing rate increases to stop mounting losses or thin profit margins. This court action will hasten the anticipated hardening of the marketplace and doctors are sure to see higher prices for their coverage and fewer insurers bidding on their malpractice insurance in the near future.

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10 Takeaways from the 2018 MACRA Proposed Rule
Gabriel Perna | Physicians Practice

This week, CMS released the proposed rule which outlines the 2018 performance year requirements of its Quality Payment Program (QPP), under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

For small practices, it should be seen as a major win, early observers of the rule say. CMS created a number of flexibilities in the QPP that will allow practices with 1 to 15 physicians (its definition of small) to either skip participation altogether or have an easier time adhering to the guidelines.

The American Medical Association (AMA) praised the rule shortly after it was released.
FHIcommunications
After weeks of secrecy, Senate to unveil healthcare bill

S usan Cornwell and Richard Cowan reporting from Washington, D.C. via Reuters yesterday:

U.S. Senate Republicans plan to unveil the text of their draft healthcare bill on Thursday as senators struggle over issues such as the future of the Medicaid program for the poor and bringing down insurance costs.

Republicans in the chamber have been working for weeks behind closed doors on legislation aimed at repealing and replacing major portions of the Affordable Care Act, former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, popularly known as Obamacare.

The effort has been plagued from the start by tensions between moderates and conservatives, which surfaced again on Tuesday. Democrats have also criticized the behind-the-scenes meetings, staging a protest on the Senate floor on Monday.

"Republicans are writing their healthcare bill under the cover of darkness because they are ashamed of it," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer charged.
 
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One in five Medicare patients returns to the hospital after 'observation stays'
YaleNews

As many as one in five older Medicare patients returns to the hospital after an observation stay, or short-term outpatient stay, a Yale-led study found. This high rate of revisit to the hospital points to a hidden vulnerability among these patients, and suggests changes in care might be needed, the researchers said.

The study was published online June 20 in The BMJ.

Observation stays are a relatively new category of hospital care. These stays typically follow an emergency department (ED) visit and last less than 24 hours before patients are discharged. The most common conditions treated during an observation stay are cardiovascular, such as chest pain or arrhythmia.

While observation stays have increased in recent years as alternatives to inpatient stays, little research has been done to assess their associated outcomes for patients, said first author Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, assistant professor of medicine.
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