Provider Spotlight: Dr. Mandel, ER Maverick & Locum Tenens Physician

In the Interim: Following 2023 Healthcare Trends in AI, Telehealth Prescription Limits & Washington’s Workforce Reduction

“In the Interim” is a snapshot of the latest and most relevant news in the locum tenens industry. No repeats, less scrolling, more knowledge. Check out the articles we found most interesting for February’s roundup.   

1. Healthcare Chatbot Explosion on the Way?

Chatbots are coming to healthcare. Believe it or not, many providers turn to these AI-powered tools to improve patient engagement and streamline administrative tasks.

The article notes that chatbots have the potential to enhance patient care and reduce healthcare costs but highlights the need for healthcare organizations to evaluate and implement these tools carefully. Security is essential, after all. After HIPAA is properly accounted for, chatbots are likely to become increasingly prevalent in healthcare as technology continues to develop. 

(Healthcare IT Today, February 3, 2023)

2. Three-quarters of Hospitals Failed to Comply with Price Transparency Rule

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report revealing that only 25% of hospitals examined have complied with a key price transparency rule implemented on January 1, 2021. This regulation requires hospitals to publicly disclose the standard charges for all their services and items in a machine-readable format.

According to the report, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been unable to enforce the rule effectively due to the lack of penalties for non-compliance. CMS is considering modifying the rule to ensure compliance. 

(Fierce Healthcare, February 6, 2023)   

3. Top Healthcare Trends 2023

The healthcare industry is expected to experience a significant transformation in 2023, driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, increasing focus on health equity, and technological advancements.  

Key trends include the expansion of telehealth and digital health solutions, increased adoption of value-based care models, and a greater emphasis on data analytics and population health management. Additionally, healthcare organizations are expected to prioritize cybersecurity to improve patient data protection and operational efficiency.

(Healthcare Dive, February 8, 2023) 

4. CMS Testing 3 New Ways to Lower Drug Prices

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is testing three new approaches to lower drug prices, according to an announcement made by the agency. The pilot programs aim to address the issue of high drug prices in Medicare by encouraging competition and increasing consumer transparency. 

(Health Exec, February 15, 2023)   

5. Half of Washington Healthcare Workers Likely to Quit, Poll Finds

The article discusses the results of a poll conducted by the Washington State Hospital Association that found nearly half of the healthcare workers across the state are considering leaving their jobs. The poll identified pandemic burnout, stress, and concerns over personal safety as critical factors. Unfortunately, this issue is not unique to Washington state; healthcare organizations need to address their employees’ well-being and job satisfaction.

(Healthcare Finance, February 16, 2023)      

6. Does Ageism Lurk Behind Mandatory Retirement for Physicians?

The issue of mandatory retirement for physicians is under scrutiny in a recent article, which raises questions about ageism in the medical profession. The author argues that when determining retirement for physicians, age should not be the only criterion used and that cognitive and physical ability should also be considered. 

As a result, mandatory retirement policies for physicians should be re-evaluated to ensure they are not unfairly targeting older physicians and that patient safety is still prioritized. 

(KevinMD, February 25, 2023)   

7. Restrictions on Telehealth Prescriptions for ADHD Drugs, Painkillers 

The Biden administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration announced new regulations that require patients seeking addictive painkillers, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications, and a few other drugs to meet with a physician in person first. This comes after concerns that the current rules may have led to overprescribing medications such as OxyContin and Adderall via telehealth. 

Refills will still be allowed through telehealth, but the initial prescription will require an in-person visit. The new rule seeks to balance patient safety with the benefits of telehealth, particularly for rural communities, and will take effect before May 11. After that, patients have six months to comply with the regulation.

(Becker’s Hospital Review, February 27, 2023) 

8. Medicare Advantage Patients Account for Fewer Avoidable Hospitalizations – Here’s Why

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that Medicare Advantage (MA) plans had lower rates of avoidable hospitalizations for acute conditions than traditional Medicare fee-for-service plans.  

MA plans can shift patients to other sites of care, such as emergency direct discharges and observation stays. These findings suggest that MA plans may more effectively coordinate care and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.

(Fierce Healthcare, February 28, 2023) 

That’s it for this month’s edition of In the Interim. Stay tuned for next month’s roundup of newsworthy articles for locum tenens providers. To stay in the loop on future news, follow us on LinkedIn and sign up for our monthly email newsletter for monthly news and job search tips.