ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bloomberg BNA today released its 2016 outlook on the top health law issues facing health lawyers, compliance officers and health-care organizations. The members of Health Law Reporter's editorial advisory board — consisting of over two dozen leading health lawyers with extensive experience in dealing with the challenges facing health law practitioners, health plan and provider compliance officers, and business leaders — outline the issues that will be front and center this year. A complimentary copy of the outlook is available here.
"This outlook offers a succinct analysis of the legal issues that will shape the health-care industry landscape and includes advice on how practitioners and health-care organizations should approach the significant regulatory, litigation, and operational challenges in 2016," said Peyton M. Sturges, Bloomberg BNA's Managing Editor for Health Law News. "The implications of continuing provider realignment, stepped-up fraud and abuse enforcement, health information technology adoption, frequent data breaches, and telemedicine growth are just a few of the issues Health Law Reporter's editorial advisory board members identify in this unique publication."
Highlights of the report include:
Hospital/physician realignment initiatives, which contributed to a near record number of mergers, acquisitions and other affiliations in the health-care industry in 2015, are anticipated to continue unabated as providers respond to the Affordable Care Act-driven changes to reimbursement, quality of care standards and information technology utilization priorities. As deals continue to be made to leverage economies of scale, state and federal antitrust and fraud enforcers are poised to ensure compliance with myriad — and in many cases hard to decipher — legal constraints.
Corporate governance, once a relatively arcane and overlooked practice area, is now front and center as the ability of health-care organizations to meet their many compliance obligations increasingly depends on the extent directors are engaged in understanding, overseeing and ensuring a corporate culture that prioritizes compliance. Despite the extreme complexity of financial, fraud and operational issues that health-care organizations face, enforcement guidance that suggests individual directors and corporate officers may be held individually liable for compliance lapses make this a huge health law practice focal point.
Telemedicine makes its inaugural appearance on this year's list of top health law issues as the need to extend health care to more people in more locations at lower cost makes remote treatment methods an attractive option for both providers and regulators. Adoption still faces regulatory hurdles, related mostly to state licensure issues, but is being spurred by consumers who enjoy the convenience, provider organizations that see telehealth as a viable way to maximize access to a limited number of provider professionals, and investors who see it as an opportunity for financial growth.
Health information technology (HIT) will demand extensive attention from practitioners, health plans and provider organizations as they wrestle with the gargantuan challenge of purchasing and implementing HIT systems that will meet both their, and regulators', needs. The risk that data will be accessed by unauthorized individuals continues to grow and, with it, the liability exposure — estimated in the billions — associated with investigating data breaches, fixing them, and managing predictable claims and lawsuits.
Bloomberg BNA's Health Law Reporter provides weekly coverage of health law news and litigation spanning the broad spectrum of legal practice areas that have an impact on hospitals and health-care providers. A complimentary copy of the outlook is available here.
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