On March 14, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration and the EPA announced a proposed rule for regulating public drinking water called the PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR). If finalized, this rule would be the “first-ever national drinking water standard” by regulating chemicals in drinking water. Although many supporters praise the proposed rule, critics wonder whether the federal government is providing public water systems and municipal utilities with enough resources to implement the rule and succeed.
From October 2022 to January 2023, there was a nationwide Adderall shortage. This recent shortage is no surprise since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced several Adderall shortages since 2019. Although the recent shortage has ended, researchers fear there will be more Adderall shortages in the coming year as prescribing rates continue to rise. More importantly, the recent shortage has made patients worried about future shortages and concerned about why the federal government has not done more to prevent drug shortages.
On January 18, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a new rule for regulating non-compete clauses. The proposed rule, which has been named the “Non-Compete Rule,” could potentially ban employers from entering into, or attempting to enter into, a non-compete clause with employees and independent contractors collectively referred to as “workers.” The proposed rule has recently sparked several discussions on the scope and constitutionality of the rule. One concern is how the proposed rule, if finalized, would impact the healthcare industry and especially non-profit hospitals.
In June 2022, a nonprofit news site called The Markup released a report stating that hospitals using Meta Pixel may be releasing patient data to Meta Platforms, Inc. (previously Facebook, Inc.). Since this report was released, many of the hospitals identified in the report removed pixel technology from their websites. In addition, some hospitals have released public breach notices and reported potential data privacy breaches to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Most recently, on October 20, 2022, Advocate Aurora Health, a large health system located in the Midwest, released a notice publicly announcing its potential pixel breach, which may affect as many as three million patients.
As the number of hospital mergers and acquisitions increases, legal, compliance, clinical, and administrative staff should be aware of the challenges of consolidating hospitals. One challenge often overlooked is the consolidation of hospital policies and procedures.
Thanks to a new FDA final rule, published in August of this year, Americans can soon purchase specific hearing aids over-the-counter (OTC) without a hearing exam, prescription, or fitting. Although this rule will improve access to hearing aid devices and lower the costs for those with hearing impairments, many critics are convinced the rule will do more harm than good.