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Senate Vote Delayed on Obamacare Repeal 
Attempts by the U.S. Senate to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a/k/a Obamacare, with the proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), have been unsuccessful after nine Republican senators (of the 52 Republicans in the Senate) expressed discontent with the bill in its current form. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) June 26th scoring of BCRA found that 22 million people would become uninsured by 2026, largely due to both Medicaid spending cuts of up to $772 billion over the next decade and the revocation of insurance mandates and penalties. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) originally announced that the Senate would vote on BCRA before the July Fourth recess; however, to date, Republicans have been unable to garner support from at least 50 senators, which is the requisite threshold to pass the bill. Senator McConnell has since announced his intention to bring the bill to a vote prior to the August 2017 recess. Upcoming issues of Health Capital Topics will feature ongoing coverage of major milestones and policy changes affecting healthcare reform, including negotiations surrounding BCRA in the Senate and other ACA repeal and replace efforts.

On May 27, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1107, which sets forth guidelines for telemedicine and telehealth service delivery within the State of Texas.  Upon the governor's signature, Texas became the last state to grant physicians the ability to establish a physician-patient relationship via telemedicine platforms. Texas is not the only state experiencing a shift in its telemedicine landscape. In 2016, 44 states introduced over 150 pieces of legislation addressing a wide array of telemedicine-related issues. Specifically, states have passed laws relating to telemedicine reimbursement and standards of care for telemedicine service delivery. As Texas and other states experience increases in telemedicine utilization, lawmakers will likely continue to introduce and revise laws centered on regulating its standard of care and reimbursement policies.  (Read more...) 
One of the main objectives of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to decrease the rapid growth of healthcare expenditures. One of the steps taken by the federal government to address these concerns was to implement Accountable Care Organization (ACO) models. Through these models, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) encourages hospitals and physicians with financial incentives (e.g., bonus payments, cost-savings, risk-sharing, and other financial penalties) to improve the quality and efficiency of care, in part through provider collaboration. These initiatives were intended to be an experiment in health policy; however, their viability has been recently questioned by both health professionals and policy makers. Specifically, multiple studies have analyzed ACO data in examining their sustainability and financial viability. In this Health Capital Topics article, the practicality of ACO models, as well as alternative options to promoting sustainable payment and delivery models, are addressed.  (Read more...) 
On April 18, 2017, the District Court of the Middle District of Florida found that BayCare, a Florida health system, did not violate the Stark Law (Stark), Anti-kickback Statute (AKS), or the False Claims Act (FCA), in providing free parking access to its physician subtenants. In the 2014 case entitled, U.S. and State of Florida ex rel. Bingham v. BayCare Health System, the plaintiff, Thomas Bingham (Bingham), brought a FCA lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government (also known as a qui tam action, or a whistleblower suit) against BayCare Health Systems (BayCare), a community-based health system consisting of ten not-for-profit hospitals. In BayCare's Motion for Summary Judgment, the court considered whether offering access to free parking by a health system to physicians, staff, and patients amounted to illegal remuneration by the health system to referring physicians.  (Read more...)
In an ever-evolving healthcare industry, the utilization of innovative technologies is essential to ensure the provision of quality patient care while simultaneously sustaining the financial health of the organization. Artificial intelligence (AI) already has the ability to supplement the work of healthcare providers by acting as an "advisor" to reduce human error in prescribing and diagnosing.  In addition, AI has the capacity to improve patient care, by reducing the burden of maintaining chronic conditions. This third installment of a four part series on AI reviews recent technological trends in AI innovation in the healthcare industry, including the benefits of AI to providers and patients, as well as the potential future implications of AI.  (Read more...)
Advanced Distance Education to Launch in 2017

The Institute for Healthcare Valuation (IHV) & Consultants' Training Institute (CTI) are pleased to announce premier healthcare valuation training through a distance education program, the Certificate of Educational Achievement (CEA) for Advanced Education in Healthcare Valuation. The program will launch in the summer of 2017 and will bridge the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare valuation to include: the Four Pillars of Healthcare (regulatory, reimbursement, competition, and technology); the market forces shaping the U.S. healthcare industry; and the valuation of healthcare enterprises, assets, and services. Legal professionals and healthcare providers, as well as those wishing to expand their scope of activities in healthcare valuation engagements and those seeking to enhance their current healthcare valuation service lines, will gain comprehensive knowledge through completing the expansive program. The program has been developed and is being presented by industry thought leaders Robert James Cimasi, MHA, ASA, MCBA, FRICS, CVA, CM&AA, Chief Executive Officer, and Todd A. Zigrang, MBA, MHA, FACHE, ASA, President of Health Capital Consultants, alongside a blockbuster faculty of healthcare subject matter experts from the legal, federal regulatory, and valuation professions.
HCC CEO Bob Cimasi Recognized as a "Pioneer of the Profession
under NACVA's "Industry Titans" Awards

HCC CEO Robert James Cimasi, MHA, ASA, FRICS, MCBA, CVA, CM&AA, has been
named a "Pioneer of the Profession," by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) and Consultants Training Institute (CTI) as part of their Silver Anniversary recognition luncheon of valuation "Industry Titans," which distinguishes those whom have had the greatest impact on the profession.  Mr. Cimasi joins valuation profession luminaries, including: Dr. Shannon P. Pratt, Chris Mercer, James R. Hitchner, Roger J. Grabowski, Richard Wise, Jay E. Fishman, Nancy Fannon, Honorable Judge David Laro, Howard Lewis, and Mel H. Abraham, along with fourteen others, in receiving this honor. Congratulations to Bob Cimasi and his fellow "Pioneer of the Profession" honorees from the HCC Team and Topics Staff!