Our clients report that addressing and preventing burnout for their physicians and other caregivers continues to be a critical priority in the aftermath of the pandemic. Healthcare organizations need high functioning, engaged clinicians to provide outstanding care and meet goals for quality patient outcomes. However, many grapple with how to create and maintain a robust organizational culture where physicians feel psychologically safe and well resourced, and in which they report lower rates of burnout. In light of ongoing physician shortages, particularly in primary care and high-demand specialties like radiology, effectively recruiting and retaining physicians is critical to delivering care, maintaining contractual staffing commitments, providing for more consistent revenue, and reducing associated costs. We hear often that physicians feel they are being asked to do more with less and adapt to a rapidly changing environment in terms of clinical care, medical record documentation, patient communication, mid-level supervision, and technological advancements. In response, many of our clients are actively exploring how to support providers, create and sustain a cohesive organizational culture, and reduce burnout rates. In this article, we discuss one piece of that larger puzzle – the importance of promoting psychological safety for physicians through both internal programming and participation in external opportunities.Continue Reading Solving for Physician Burnout: Creating a Culture of Psychological Safety

On July 13, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued its proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) for the 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (“PFS”). The Proposed Rule, which was issued in the Federal Register on August 7, 2023,  includes updated payment rates, changes to reimbursement for services related to health equity and social determinants of health, increases to payment for cancer care support, and changes to enrollment for mental health providers. CMS projects that the Proposed Rule will lead to growth in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”).Continue Reading CMS Announces Proposed Rule for 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

On July 13, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a Proposed Rule that proposes to amend certain regulations implementing the Physician Self-Referral Law, otherwise known as the “Stark Law”. The Proposed Rule proposes to revise once again the definition of “indirect compensation arrangement” (ICA), effectively to revert the meaning of the definition back – for the vast majority of indirect financial relationships between DHS entities and referring physicians – to the definition of that term as it was in place prior to the latest Stark Law rulemaking, “Modernizing and Clarifying the Physician Self-Referral Regulations” (the “MCR Final Rule”), published on December 2, 2020.[1]  The Proposed Rule also proposes to define the term “unit” and the phrase “services that are personally performed”, both for purposes of the ICA definition.
Continue Reading CMS Proposes to Revise, Again, the Stark Law’s Definition of “Indirect Compensation Arrangement”: What Was Old is New Again

We reported, in early 2017, on what was then the latest legislative effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s amendment to the Stark Law’s whole hospital exception, which amendment has effectively prevented new physician-owned hospitals from participating in the Medicare program. (You can visit—or revisit—that post, which explores arguments in favor of and in opposition to the restriction, here.)

While the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2017, introduced in the House in February 2017 and, in May 2017, the Senate, did not pass, recent rumblings suggest that repeal efforts are far from exhausted; rather, proponents of physician hospital ownership may be targeting a new tactic: regulation.
Continue Reading Lifting the Limits on Physician-Owned Hospitals: Can Regulators Prevail Where Legislators Have Stalled?