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Showing 5 posts in Physician shortages.

More on the AMA’s Guiding Telemedicine Principles

Posted In Health Care Law, Physician shortages, Telehealth

On Tuesday, we began to discuss the AMA’s new guidelines for telemedicine. These guidelines indicate the growth and increased comfort level of telemedicine’s use in day-to-day practice. The AMA’s report does not approve or disapprove of any specific technology, but does make the following recommendations for the delivery of health care services via telemedicine: More >

AMA Releases Guiding Principles on Telemedicine

Posted In Affordable Care Act, Health Care Law, Physician shortages, Telehealth

The American Medical Association (“AMA”) recently approved “guiding principles” regarding the provision of medical services through telecommunications technologies, i.e. telemedicine. These principles stem from a previous policy report developed by the AMA’s Council on Medical Service and address major issues in telemedicine, including: More >

FTC: Don’t Limit APRNs Crucial Role in Health Care

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently released a policy paper suggesting that state legislators should be cautious when evaluating legislative proposals to limit the scope of practice of Advance Practice Registered Nurses (“APRNs”). The FTC is concerned that by imposing more stringent physician supervision requirements, APRNS are effectively being restricted by another type of health care professional (the physician) thereby denying consumers the benefits of greater competition. This is especially troubling in light of the significant shortage of primary care practitioners in the U.S. By allowing APRNs to practice without heavier regulatory burdens, access to health care can be increased and possibly lead to “lower costs, better care, and more innovation,” according to the FTC. More >

Addressing the Physician Shortage: Recruit Early and Recruit Often

In my last blog post, I discussed the serious physician shortage in Kentucky which will only continue to get worse as more persons become insured and the population ages and needs more health care services.  To address the physician shortage, many hospitals and health systems are stepping up their physician recruitment efforts and are recruiting physicians while they are still in residency programs rather than waiting until the physician has completed residency or fellowships training.  Early recruitment benefits both the hospital or health system and the medical resident.  The hospital or health system obtains a firm commitment from the resident to establish a practice at a definite future date to address the future health care needs of the community, while the resident essentially has a guaranteed position and income upon successful completion of residency or fellowship training.

The recruitment transaction between the hospital or health system is fairly straightforward but generally requires three written agreements between the hospital or health system and the medical resident.  The first is a resident stipend agreement in which the hospital or health system pays the resident a stipend to cover educational and living expenses during the residency conditioned upon the resident's continued satisfactory performance in the residency program and timely completion of the residency program.  In exchange, the resident commits to becoming employed by the hospital or health system upon successful completion of the residency program and agrees to remain employed by the hospital or health system for a fixed period of time, usually 3-5 years.  A draft employment agreement between the parties is also prepared and referenced in the residency stipend agreement.

The sums advanced to the resident as stipend payments are secured by a promissory note executed by the resident, essentially making the stipend payments a type of forgivable loan.  Once the resident completes the residency program and becomes employed by the hospital or health system, the stipend payments are forgiven over the period of the physician’s employment by the hospital or health system.

Recruiting physicians while they are still in residency is particularly useful to address future community health care needs due to physicians planning to retire from medical practice at a future date.  More importantly, however, a hospital or health system must address both the current and future shortage of physicians in order to fulfill its mission in the community it serves, and early physician recruitment is a useful tool to address community needs for health care providers.

Chris Shaughnessy

Christopher J. Shaughnessy is an attorney at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC.  Mr. Shaughnessy concentrates his practice area in health care law and is located in the firm’s Lexington office.  He can be reached at cshaughnessy@mmlk.com or at (859) 231-8780. 

This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law activities and does not constitute legal advice.

Squeezing Blood from a Turnip: Health Care Reform & Kentucky’s Physician Shortage

Deloitte Consulting, a technology firm helping to establish the new Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange mandated by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), recently completed a review that paints quite a grim outlook for the future state of health care in the Commonwealth. According to the review, Kentucky needs 3,790 additional physicians (including primary care doctors and specialists), 612 more dentists, 5,635 more registered nurses, 296 more physician assistants, and 269 more optometrists to meet current demand. The numbers are stunning on their own, but in light of health care reform and Medicaid expansion, they are downright staggering. More >

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