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Proposed CMS Medicare Rule Signals New Era of Orthopedics Print E-mail
Written by BDO   
Friday, 04 October 2019 17:27

A recently proposed CMS rule signals that the healthcare industry should brace for another wave of orthopedic-related consolidations-especially those driven by private equity and health systems seeking to enter joint ventures with larger orthopedic practices.

In its 2020 Medicare payment rule, CMS proposed several orthopedic-related changes, including for:

• Ambulatory surgery center (ASC) facilities - Adding knee replacement and repair procedures as approved services
• Hospital outpatient facilities - Adding hip replacements as an approved service, shifting them away from their historical inpatient-only setting

At the same time, CMS has also updated its Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced Model to include an outpatient component of knee replacements. The move from inpatient to outpatient and ASCs began several years ago, but these collective changes from CMS represent a focused push to expedite that trend, which threatens a highly lucrative revenue stream for hospitals.  

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 November 2019 17:45
Steven Ullmann: The Face of UM’s Health Executive MBA Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Monday, 16 September 2019 16:54

Steven Ullmann has become synonymous with The University of Miami Business School Executive MBA in Health Management & Policy program. And well he should be, he’s been with the program for 40 of its 41 years.

Ullmann, who is Department Chair and Professor, Health Management and Policy, has been a big part of its development and overall success, ranking as the No. 1 Health Care Executive MBA program in the U.S.

In its early years, the program attracted those whose jobs were geared toward administration. Hospital CEOs, CFOs and those focused more on the business of healthcare, made up a big part of the student body. But as the industry has evolved and clinicians increasingly deal with the financial complexities of running a practice, more than half of the participants today (53 percent), are healthcare providers.

“Physicians don’t know if they should lease or purchase, how to organize their back-office operations. They don’t understand why they are not getting the reimbursement they should be getting, osteve ullmannr how to see patients more efficiently. Those are some of the aspects of healthcare that we teach,” says Ullmann, who teaches two courses.

The MBA program is a three-day weekend, monthly course taught over 23 months. This allows for participants, most of whom are busy executives and clinicians, to attend from around the country and sometimes from around the world. 

“Students are a microcosm of the healthcare industry,” says Ullmann. “We ask for a minimum of seven years of professional experience; the average is 15 years. We get clinicians, nurses, physicians, veterinarians, dentists, those working in the insurance sector, CIO’s and CEOs and people in finance from healthcare systems. We have people in research, we even have some who are moving to the healthcare system from other sectors.”

Classes are taught by those with real-world experience.

“Most of us do consulting in the field, so we have theoretical knowledge, practical experience and teaching ability,” says Ullmann.

Because the healthcare field is continually evolving, Ullmann says the courses also evolve, so students are assured they are learning information that is relevant to what is happening in the here and now.

“I am constantly updating my lectures weekly, if not more often. This industry is so much in flux, it’s a unique way of teaching,” Ullmann says.

The program is a true MBA being accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and by the Commission for Accreditation in Management Education (CAMHE). It also is a member of the highly prestigious Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM), which is by invitation only.

“Because we are business-school based, students are getting a strong background in all the disciplines of business, but with a focus on healthcare,” Ullmann says.

Teamwork and team building is a big part of the learning process, which continues even after students graduate.

“People come in together, work together and leave together and create a networking cohort that goes on forever,” says Ullmann.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 September 2019 15:26
At least 16 states reject settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Thursday, 12 September 2019 00:00

Laura Strickler reports for NBC News:

WASHINGTON - Top legal officials in 27 states and territories and lawyers for more than 2,000 cities and counties announced Wednesday they had agreed to a tentative multi-billion-dollar settlement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid OxyContin, for its role in the opioid crisis. At least 16 other state attorneys general who are suing the drug company, however, told NBC News they have not agreed to the deal with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, which owns the firm.

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Last Updated on Monday, 16 September 2019 17:51
Federal Judge has ordered a summary judgment finding in favor of Parrish Medical Center (PMC) Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Wednesday, 28 August 2019 00:00

FLORIDA - In a decision with potential implications for hospitals nationwide, a Federal Judge has ordered a summary judgment finding in favor of Parrish Medical Center (PMC) in a lawsuit brought against PMC by seven oncology physicians whose credentials were not renewed after they failed to provide, or cause to be provided, PMC with patient-centered data.

The Court’s published opinion, released August 22, clarifies that hospital bylaws may “...allow issues outside the realm of clinical competence to be considered when evaluating a staff member’s reappointment application,” citing its February 24 order denying the physicians’ motion for preliminary injunctive relief.

“This ruling has implications nationally in favor of hospitals seeking data from physicians applicable to their quality of care initiatives for the benefit of patients,” said Joe Zumpano, who along with law partner Leon Patricios of Zumpano Patricios, handled the matter. “This is one of the largest instances of physician privileges’ non-renewal of which we are aware.

“PMC CEO Dr. George Mikitarian and the Parrish Medical Center Board of Directors should be credited for the successful efforts regarding the matter,” Zumpano said.

In his order, U.S. District Court Judge Roy B. Dalton noted, with respect to the case brought by the seven physicians affiliated with Health First - and who had privileges at PMC - “ bottom, this dispute revolves around the thinly veiled effort of Health First to flex its muscle in the long running, heavily litigated, ‘scorched earth’ turf war for Brevard County’s health care business.”

The seven physicians “...have been employed as foot soldiers in the intractable hostilities,” the Judge said.

“Whether Health First has any concern for the reputation of their employee physicians, or the unfettered delivery of health care services to Brevard County citizens, or simply disregards this as unfortunate but necessary collateral damage is unclear. No sacrifice is too great when it’s not yours,” Judge Dalton wrote.

“The patient-centered data PMC sought from the seven physicians was essential for the hospital’s quality improvement initiatives,” said Chris McAlpine, PMC senior vice president.

“Information timely provided is important in any environment, and particularly in health care,” Zumpano said.

“Hospital quality initiatives matter and no one should be exempt from doing their part to contribute the appropriate supporting data,” Zumpano said. “We live in an age where patient-centered data and hospital quality initiatives are inextricably tied to patient well-being. That Parrish Medical Center's Board, CEO and managed care officers, stood firm for that principle - despite the fierce opposition faced from other interests - is both inspiring and comforting to our community.”

The summary judgment was granted in PMC’s favor on all claims brought by the physicians - for violation of procedural due process, breach of Bylaws, and violation of substantive due process.

In ruling for PMC on the procedural due process claim, the Court held that through the hearing process provided by PMC, followed by plaintiffs exhausting the appeal process, the seven physicians received, “the full panoply of due process protections,” citing the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals standard on such legal issues.

The physicians alleged that in the case of their privileges non-renewal, hospital bylaws had been breached. However, the Court found that PMC was entitled to invoke statutory immunity, given that PMC’s bylaws allow consideration of issues outside of clinical competence when evaluating physician reappointment.

The Court also found that Dr. Mikitarian’s representations to the PMC Board, that PMC had requested the data, were truthful and supported.

Wrote the judge, “...all Plaintiffs admitted in their depositions that they had been informed and/or asked about Health First providing PMC data for accreditation purposes before the December Board Meeting.” The Court further ruled that Dr. Mikitarian’s statements that PMC’s accreditation was in jeopardy (due to the missing data) were also accurate.

PMC asserted that the patient-centered data was necessary for the re-accreditation process with the Commission on Cancer (CoC): “...PMC fought tooth and nail to gain re- accreditation and succeeded despite this missing data. PMC worked with the CoC’s surveyor to brainstorm and create workarounds to get at this missing data from another angle, via records it could obtain,” the opinion stated.

The Court further complimented PMC for its tenacity and perseverance in obtaining its re-accreditation despite the lack of the patient-centered data.

“Plaintiffs’ evidence shows that PMC didn’t take no for an answer and still endeavored to obtain accreditation. But PMC’s success does not mean the refusal to provide data didn’t undermine and obstruct this process,” the Judge wrote.

Finally, the Court ruled in PMC’s favor in that the hospital satisfied substantive due process principles in its decision to not renew the physicians’ privileges. The Court found that PMC’s grounds for denial of the renewal of privileges were “reasonably related to the operation of the hospital,” “fairly administered,” “geared by a rationale compatible with hospital responsibility,” and relevant to the seven physicians’ applications for the renewal of the privileges.

“I want to congratulate George Mikitarian, Chris McAlpine, Joe Zumpano and Leon Patricios for this great outcome,” said Herman Cole, PMC board chairman.

The federal district court order can be read here:

About Parrish Medical Center
Parrish Medical Center (PMC), a Parrish Healthcare integrated care partner, is located at 951 N. Washington Ave., Titusville, Florida.The 210-bed, not-for-profit, public medical center has served Brevard County for more than 60 years. PMC is the first in the nation to be Integrated Care certified by The Joint Commission and is nationally recognized as One of America’s Finest Healing Environments®. PMC maintains top-tier national rankings for clinical outcomes, safety and patients’ experiences according to CMS, The SafeCare Group, The LeapFrog Group, The National Patient Safety Movement Foundation and The Joint Commission. PMC is also nationally recognized among the best places to work in healthcare. For more information, visit

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2019 15:54
4 Former Staffers Face Charges Over Nursing Home Deaths After Hurricane Irma Print E-mail
Written by Brakkton Booker & Greg Allen | NPR   
Tuesday, 27 August 2019 17:21

Three people turned themselves in to police Monday to face criminal charges in connection with the deaths of a dozen patients at a South Florida rehabilitation facility days after Hurricane Irma in 2017. A fourth person was arrested by authorities in Miami-Dade County. Those charged all worked at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills when the storm knocked out a transformer that supplied power to the facility's air conditioning system. Eight people died on Sept. 13, 2017. And though the center was evacuated that same day, four more deaths occurred in the ensuing weeks. A total of 14 nursing home residents died.

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