ACOs Will Face ‘Uphill Battle’ In Qualifying For Exemptions After IRS Ruling
The agency recently denied a tax exemption sought by an accountable care organization that coordinates care for people with commercial insurance, saying the network negotiated agreements with insurers on behalf of doctors — and that is not a charitable activity. The decision could impact ACOs that do not coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries. Meanwhile, The New York Times offers a look at a clandestine meeting that took place with IRS officials over the Affordable Care Act.
The New York Times:
I.R.S. Ruling Is Obstacle To Health Care Networks Promoted By Obama
A ruling by the Internal Revenue Service creates a significant obstacle to a new type of health care network that the Obama administration has promoted as a way to provide better care at lower cost, industry lawyers and providers say. ... In its recent ruling, the I.R.S. denied a tax exemption sought by an accountable care organization that coordinates care for people with commercial insurance. The tax agency said the organization did not meet the test for tax-exempt status because it was not operated exclusively for charitable purposes and it provided private benefits to some doctors in its network. (Pear, 5/29)
The New York Times:
In A Secret Meeting, Revelations On The Battle Over Health Care
On Jan. 13, 2014, a team of Internal Revenue Service financial managers piled into government vans and headed to the Old Executive Office Building for what would turn out to be a very unusual meeting. Upon arrival, the I.R.S. officials, some of whom had expressed doubts that the Obama administration had the proper authority to spend billions of dollars on a crucial element of its health care law, were ushered into a conference room. There, they were presented with an Office of Management and Budget memo laying out the administration’s justification for spending $3.9 billion on consumer health insurance subsidies. (Hulse, 5/30)
In other national health care news —
The Washington Post:
To Cut Wait Times, VA Wants Nurses To Act Like Doctors. Doctors Say Veterans Will Be Harmed.
The Department of Veterans Affairs would dramatically expand the authority of nurses to treat patients without a doctor’s supervision in a controversial proposal by the country’s largest health-care system. The plan, which would allow nurses with advanced training to broaden their responsibilities for patients, is drawing attention to a bitter debate over the relative roles of doctors and nurses. Because of VA’s high visibility, it is likely to be closely watched. The agency, through amended regulations, wants to give vast new authority to its most trained nurses to order and read diagnostic tests, administer anesthesia, prescribe medications and manage acute and chronic diseases — without a doctor’s oversight. (Rein, 5/27)
The Washington Post/ProPublica:
Doctors Fire Back At Bad Yelp Reviews — And Reveal Patients’ Information Online
Burned by negative reviews, some health providers are casting their patients’ privacy aside and sharing intimate details online as they try to rebut criticism. In the course of these arguments -- which have spilled out publicly on ratings sites like Yelp — doctors, dentists, chiropractors and massage therapists, among others, have divulged details of patients’ diagnoses, treatments and idiosyncrasies. (Ornstein, 5/27)