In the September 5, 2009 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) reported that it met publicly on August 20 and approved regulations of the PA Department of Labor and Industry on workers compensation appeals. In acting on August 26 on the proposed regulations Special Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board; Special Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedure Before the Workers’ Compensation Judges – Regulation No. 12-84 (#2721), the Independent Regulatory Review Commission approved the proposed regulation that was published in the September 6, 2008 Pennsylvania Bulletin with a 30-day public comment period. The final-form regulation was submitted to the Commission on July 13, 2009. This regulation amends Chapters 111 and 131 to clarify and provide additional guidance for practice and procedure before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board the Office of Adjudication and workers compensation judges. It addresses changes made in workers compensation practice since the Rules were last reviewed and amended including statutory amendments enacted. FMI: See www.pabulletin.com and http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol39/39-36/1669.html. See also http://www.irrc.state.pa.us/.
In the September 5, 2009 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) reported that it received from the PA Department of Health on August 20 the final form regulation #10-184 on Home Care Agencies and Home Care Registries. The regulation is scheduled for review on October 1, 2009. The IRRC public meetings are held at 333 Market Street, 14th Floor in Harrisburg, PA at 10:30 a.m. To obtain a copy of the regulation, interested parties should first contact the promulgating agency. If a copy cannot be obtained from the promulgating agency, the Commission will provide a copy or you can obtain a copy from the IRRC web site at www.irrc.state.pa.us. FMI: See FMI: See www.pabulletin.com and this document.
The next onsite meeting of the PARF-sponsored International Pediatric Rehabilitation Collaborative (IPRC) is scheduled for Tuesday, September 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Good Shepherd Rehab, Hospital Pediatric Unit, 2855 Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem, PA 18017. Phone (610) 807-4247. For those attending the meeting at Good Shepherd, a webinar hosted by IPRC is scheduled to be offered as a part of the meeting and is to be presented from 12 Noon to 1:00 p.m. Those not attending the September 15 meeting in Bethlehem should register now for the webinar by contacting PARF at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information. Dates for the teleconference and meeting to be hosted by IPRC in the coming months are Thursday, October 8, 2009 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a teleconference and on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for an IPRC Meeting On-site at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). FMI: For more information or assistance, please contact PARF at email@example.com.
Mental health professionals, aging professionals, senior center professionals, and consumers may register at no cost for a one day training session sponsored by the Behavioral Health Connection. Understanding and Accessing Medicare Services will be held on October 29 at the Norristown State Hospital, 1001 Sterigere Street, Norristown, Pa 19401 at the Building #33 Multi Purpose Room. The session will also be offered on November 4 at the Centre Crest Nursing Home, 502 East Howard Street Bellefonte, PA 16823 in the 2nd floor Recreation Room. The free training session will also be presented on December 2 at the York County Annex Building, 118 Pleasant Acres Road York, PA 17402 Meeting Room 1. All sessions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This training will be conducted by the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health & Aging Coalition and Behavioral Health Connection. A basic understanding of Medicare will be provided in working with Medicare beneficiaries. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration may be submitted via fax @ 717-541-4217 to PABHAC/BHC. Attn: Lynn Patrone or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please call for further information at 717-541-4219.
President Barack Obama will address the U.S. Congress on September 9 and offer in detail his vision for overhauling health care in the nation. Expectations for what those details may include are varied. Politically, the speech is expected to target moderate Democrats who may not support the plan. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee is continuing efforts to produce a bipartisan overhaul plan before next Wednesday when President Obama addresses Congress. Senate Finance Committee Chair Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has told the White House that he would keep the Finance Committee on track. On July 15, the Senate HELP Committee has produced a bill of its own entitled the Affordable Health Choices Act. In the House, the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees – the three committees with jurisdiction over health policy in the House – have been working together as one committee to develop a single bill. On July 17 the House Ways and Means Committee and the Education and Labor Committee approved America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. On July 31 the Energy and Commerce Committee passed the legislation out of committee. In the coming weeks, the Tri-Committee Members will work together to prepare the legislation for the House floor in September. For a comparison of the three bills that are being considered in Congress, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/health/compare-health-plans-2009/. FMI: For up-to-date news on health care reform see http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Topics/Reform.aspx. For news from Congress, see www.house.gov and www.senate.gov. For information on activity by the Speaker of the House see http://speaker.house.gov/ and http://speaker.house.gov/issues?id=0004. For news on Senate proposals, see http://help.senate.gov/ and http://finance.senate.gov/. FMI: For up-to-date news on health care reform see http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Topics/Reform.aspx.
In an article published online on August 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine researchers and their colleagues at Bridges to Excellence (Newtown, Connecticut) claim that a tested model for bundling payment for episode of care would support collaboration and reduce complications and the associated costs of care. The model (Prometheus Payment Model) is based on the principle of bundled payment for a specific patient episode but incorporates an allowance for complications that are potentially avoidable. Researchers say that the model is not appropriate for reimbursements for all conditions but that there is sufficient evidence to define both typical care and potentially avoidable costs for types of episodes that account for half to two-thirds of health care expenditure. The current pilot sites testing the model are not using prospective payment. Instead, budgets are set prospectively, and payers reimburse providers for all fee-for-service claims submitted. Quarterly actual spending for typical and potentially avoidable care is reconciled against the budgets, and detailed reports are made available. Yet, the authors say, the incentives are the same as they would be with prospective payment: If actual spending is under budget, the difference is paid out as a bonus; if it is over budget, some payment is withheld. The researchers claim that at a minimum their efforts to translate their conceptual model into practice suggest that the tool can effectively provide a bridge from the current fragmented delivery system to an accountable care system. FMI: See http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMp0906121v1.