hospitals and health systems

Australia is set to trial a new model of primary health care based on the successful “Health Care Homes” programs in Canada and the United States. Australia’s version of the Health Care Homes scheme was proposed in broad terms in December 2015 by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, in its Better Outcomes for People with Chronic and Complex Health Conditions report.  Key elements of the proposed scheme included:

On March 30, 2016, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by allowing certain eligible practitioners to treat up to 200 patients, as authorized under the Controlled Substances Act.  MAT involves the use of medication in combination with certain behavioral health interventions to provide a comprehensive, individualized approach to opioid use disorder treatment.

On May 5, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued six new examples that provide guidance to Examiners and patent applicants prosecuting claims directed to life sciences subject matter (Subject Matter Eligibility Examples: Life Sciences).  These examples analyze claims that are directed to several of the most contentious areas of patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, including vaccines, methods for diagnosing and treating, nature-based products including mixtures, methods for genetic screening, and machines and processes that are alleged to be founded on a natural law. 

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (“HHSC”) has been actively trying to reach an agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) to extend or renew the Texas 1115 Transformation Waiver (the “Waiver”)since March 2015, when HHSC submitted its first iteration of a transition plan focused on a 5-year renewal. The result was released yesterday, May 2, through publication of CMS’ approval of a 15-month extension at current funding levels. CMS’ approval letter clearly states that if an agreement is not reached between HHSC and CMS, the Waiver will not be renewed beyond December 31, 2017. CMS’ letter further indicates that, absent an agreement, funding for uncompensated care in Texas and funding for Waiver-related projects will be drastically reduced beginning January 1, 2018.