Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Lawsuit by WV Physician Against Trial Lawyer's Association Dismissed by WV Supreme Court of Appeals

Here is a link to another WV legal blog discussing the WV Supreme Court of Appeals decision to not hear the physician's appeal to overturn the dismissal of her case against the West Virginia trial lawyer's assocation.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Listen to Justice McGraw Ad

Here is a link to a copy of a political ad running in West Virginia regarding Justice Warren McGraw's reelection to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

You can also hear Justice McGraw's full speech at the Racine WV Labor Day event courtesy of the WV GOP website.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Privacy Lawsuit filed over Tort Reform Infomercial in Georgia

Saw this article today regarding a recent lawsuit filed against a group of doctors, Doctors for Medical Liability Reform, charging them with invasion of privacy and breach of confidentiality.

Doctors for Medical Liability Reform is a coalition of more than 230,000 medical specialists who support federal legislation to reform medical liability laws. Last July the group began an "aggressive, multimillion-dollar" public relations campaign including a 30-minute infomercial that aired on both network and cable television. The infomercial makes the case for medical liability reform through interviews with doctors who have left their practices -- or left Georgia -- and through interviews with the patients they've left behind.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Favorite HIPAA Web Links

Earlier this week I spoke at a Lorman Education Services Seminar on "Confidentiality & Privacy of Medical Information in West Virginia" in Charleston, West Virginia. Here is a copy of the brochure from the seminar, including the agenda.

The goal of the seminar was to provide health information specialists and other health care providers with a relatively comprehensive summary of privacy law in West Virginia. In addition we addressed the impact of the Privacy and Security Rules of the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) on West Virginia privacy law.

A number of the participants asked for a list of website that I find useful for gaining knowledge about, interpreting and understanding the new HIPAA laws. Below are some of my favorite web resources on HIPAA.

1. A complete copy of the Privacy and Security Rules (unofficial version). This is a must for any privacy officer.

2. The Administrative Simplification website at DHHS.

3. The HIPAA Privacy section of the Office for Civil Rights website. The FAQ section of this website provides very practical information on the Privacy Rule. Also the OCR has posted various educational materials.

4. The State of West Virginia HIPAA website. This website includes a copy of the State of West Virginia's preemption analysis of various provisions of the West Virginia Code.

5. The Work Group for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) website. In particular I like the white papers section of the WEDI website.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

St. Francis Hospital appeals Thomas Memorial Hospital cardiac catheterization lab certificate of need

An article from today's Charleston Gazette discusses the filing of an appeal to the Circuit Court of Kanwaha County over the certificate of need decision issued by the West Virginia Health Care Authority to allow Thomas Memorial Hospital to construct and operate a $2.5M cath lab.

Below is a copy of the full article:

By John Heys
Staff writer

Administrators at St. Francis Hospital have taken their concerns about a new heart catheterization lab at Thomas Memorial Hospital to Kanawha County Circuit Court.

St. Francis filed an appeal Tuesday of a state Health Care Authority decision, which allowed Thomas Hospital to go forward with a $2.5 million lab to diagnose patient’s heart problems.

Bob Gray, a Thomas vice president, said the South Charleston hospital would continue with plans to open its catheterization lab, currently being built on the first floor of the facility’s new medical office building.

“This is all part of the appeal process,” Gray said. “I feel pretty confident we’ll prevail.”

State regulators approved Thomas’ proposal in February despite the concerns of St. Francis and Charleston Area Medical Center, which already have catheterization labs.

After the authority approved Thomas’ plan, the state’s Office of Judges upheld the decision following an earlier appeal by St. Francis. If the authority’s decision is upheld again, St. Francis can take their case to the state Supreme Court.

The hospital, which is owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tenn., is also challenging the authority’s revised standards for heart catheterization labs.

The appeal calls the new rules “arbitrary and capricious,” saying the authority did not justify allowing larger hospitals like Thomas to apply for labs without taking into account existing providers when calculating the need for a new lab.

Officials from St. Francis and CAMC have argued the area does not need another heart catheterization lab. They said Thomas’ lab would siphon off some of their patients and revenue. CAMC has six such labs. St. Francis has two.

Doctors use catheterization to look at the extent of heart disease in a patient. A thin tube is inserted into the arteries of the heart. Using a television screen, doctors can then see how the heart and blood vessels are working.

Thomas’ 5,000-square-foot lab would only diagnose patients. People will still be sent to labs at CAMC and St. Francis for stents and angioplasties.

Thomas administrators tried three times in the past 16 years to get regulatory approval for their lab. The nonprofit hospital’s fourth request, submitted in January 2003, was helped by the change in state standards.

Sonia Chambers, chairwoman of the Health Care Authority, said on Wednesday the agency’s board members stand behind their decision on both Thomas’s proposal and the revised standards.