The board of the Greater New York Hospital Association voted to join a possible legal challenge to President Clinton's line-item veto, a GNYHA spokeswoman confirmed Friday. Last month, the president struck a provision in the balanced-budget bill that would have allowed New York to keep Medicaid payments made from 1992 through 1995 that HCFA says were improper. HCFA estimates about $200 million is in play, but New York Gov. George Pataki pegged the amount at more than $2 billion. The legal effort is being mounted by the city of New York and includes at least one large union, a source familiar with the talks said.
The American Medical Association late last week said it intends to develop ethical guidelines to help shepherd its activities and those of other medical societies. The guidelines will be developed by a panel of ethics experts selected from the business and medical communities, along with AMA members, leadership and staff. The ethics push comes in the wake of the AMA's withdrawal from its controversial deal to endorse Sunbeam Corp. home health products (See related stories, pages 14 and 15).
A new bill would require hospitals, home health agencies, skilled-nursing facilities and clinical laboratories to have annual, independent audits that would replace many of the financial and clinical audits currently mandated. Under a bill introduced late last week by Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), providers would have to pay a fee for the audits based on the time required to complete the review. Among the reviews to be replaced would be those performed by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Food and Drug Administration reform edged closer to reality late last week as the House Commerce Committee approved a three-bill package that would overhaul the agency by speeding product approvals. Two bills deal with drug approvals, and a third concerns medical devices. The three-bill package must first pass the full House and then be reconciled with the Senate's reform bill, which also was passed last week.