Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Washington state courts publish public health emergency bench book

A number of jurisdictions have published bench guides for dealing with public health emergencies. The most recent of which I am aware comes from the courts in the state of Washington. Their Public Health Emergency Bench Book (HTML) (PDF) is a tidy little guide that provides a good checklist for any other court system considering what procedures are available during a public health emergency, as well as the practical considerations involved in providing justice when court personnel are missing or when sanitary conditions cannot be assured. Other bench books have been produced for the Indiana courts (updated July 2006) and Kentucky courts. Other jurisdictions have also prepared materials on courthouse preparedness (Google search).
posted by Tom Mayo, 1:23 PM | link

NY Times article on the pervasive -- and perverse -- presence of IRBs on campus

Today's article is more about nonmedical research that is subject to IRB review and occasional veto, but it is interesting as a cultural marker that shows the spreading influence of the medical model of consent (and the growing pushback thereto).
posted by Tom Mayo, 12:08 PM | link

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Second Champaign hospital loses its exempt status

Health Business Policy has a news flash that the Champaign County (IL) "Board of Review reports that the Illinois Department of Revenue (“DOR”) has revoked the property tax exemption of a second hospital in Champaign-Urbana, the Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign, Illinois, agreeing with the original recommendation filed by the Board of Review to the Illinois DOR in the spring of 2005." There's nothing on the DOR web site about the alleged affirmance.

The Board of Review's letter brief argued that the hospital was guilty of inurement by providing a practice platform for the for-profit physician group that operated it. Granted, this is the position of a single taxing authority (and maybe the state as well), but if that analysis is adopted widely, a lot of multi-specialty physician groups (at least the ones that aren't organized as nonprofits) with an affiliated health or hospital group are going to want to take a close look at whether they are organized and operated for a charitable purpose. Every entity's facts will be a little different, and exempt status is a "facts and circumstances" determination, but counsel for any such organization will want to pay close attention to the County's analysis of the inurement issue, as well as the other facts relied on in their brief.
posted by Tom Mayo, 8:54 AM | link

Monday, February 26, 2007

Everything you always wanted to know about nanotechnology but were afraid to ask

Health lawyer Alan Goldberg alerted me to these nanotech-related publications from EPA:

If you're coming to the nanotech party a little late, a good place to start would be the federal government's National Nanotechnology Initiative:

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a federal R&D program established to coordinate the multiagency efforts in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology.

The goals of the NNI are to:

  • Maintain a world-class research and development program aimed at realizing the full potential of nanotechnology;
  • Facilitate transfer of new technologies into products for economic growth, jobs, and other public benefit;
  • Develop educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology; and,
  • Support responsible development of nanotechnology

Twenty-five federal agencies participate in the Initiative, 13 of which have an R&D budget for nanotechnology. Other Federal organizations contribute with studies,
applications of the results from those agencies performing R&D, and other collaborations. (See NNI Participants and NNI Structure and Strategies)

posted by Tom Mayo, 8:45 AM | link

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lethal injection: what does the physicians' non-role portend?

Sunday's NY Times Magazine had an article by Elizabeth Weil on the boomlet of public and official opinion that is starting to cohere against the administration of the death penalty, in states that still have it, by lethal injection. Two articles in the past year by Atul Gawande (one in the New England Journal of Medicine and one in Nature) focus specifically on the role of physicians in such killings and are particularly worth reading.
posted by Tom Mayo, 2:31 PM | link

AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly (Feb. 9)

From the 9 February issue of AHLA's Health Lawyers Weekly:

Top Stories

Articles & Analyses

Current Topics

(c) 2007, reprinted with permission of AHLA

posted by Tom Mayo, 1:01 AM | link

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Texas' HPV vaccination mandate: upon further reflection . . . .

The Saturday Times printed some interesting reactions to that paper's editorial support for the executive order by Texas Gov. Rick ("The Haircut") Perry that requires girls to receive HPV vaccinations before they would be allowed to enter sixth grade:
posted by Tom Mayo, 12:29 PM | link

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hospice - rethought and revised

There's a nice article in today's NY Times about hospice care and the ways in which it's being reimagined and revised to encourage its use by more patients and at an earlier stage in their illness. The key change is the option of continuing curative treatments while enrolled in hospice, which (i) makes hospice available to those who aren't ready to give up such treatments and (ii) reduces the incentive for such patients to opt for expensive hospital care -- often in the ICU -- at the end of life.
posted by Tom Mayo, 12:47 PM | link

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter