Physician Practice Roundup—Canadian doctor under scrutiny for not hiring any women doctors in 16 years

Doctors talking
The hiring practices of a prominent Canadian doctor have come under question after he failed to hire any women physicians in 16 years running emergency departments. (Getty/wmiami)

Canadian doctor under scrutiny for not hiring any women doctors in 16 years

A well-known Canadian doctor is under scrutiny after it was revealed he failed to hire any female doctors in 16 years running departments at two hospitals until a newspaper investigation raised questions about his hiring practices.

Ontario emergency room chief Marko Duic, M.D., did not hire any doctors who are women to work in his departments until October, weeks after The Globe and Mail raised questions, the newspaper said. A group of eight women doctors hired a lawyer and launched a formal complaint about Duic’s hiring practices after a physician posted concerns in a closed Facebook group for female doctors earlier this year, the newspaper said. (Article)

Long legal path remains after Texas judge strikes down ACA as unconstitutional

A federal district judge struck down the Affordable Care Act on Friday evening, ruling the entire law is unconstitutional and setting up a lengthy legal battle that could ultimately bring the law back to the Supreme Court once more. 

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas sided with 20 attorneys general in their lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the individual mandate is "essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA."

"Congress stated many times unequivocally—through enacted text signed by the President—that the Individual Mandate is 'essential' to the ACA," O'Connor wrote in a 55-page decision (PDF). "And this essentiality, the ACA’s text makes clear, means the mandate must work 'together with the other provisions' for the Act to function as intended."

By bringing its associated penalty down to $0, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act stopped the individual mandate from functioning as a tax, rendering the mandate unconstitutional, the conservative AGs argued. 

The ruling also effectively wipes out Medicaid expansion, premium tax credits or protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions. (FierceHealthcare)

DaVita drops price of Medical Group to $4.3B in sale to UnitedHealth

Dialysis giant DaVita is lowering the price of its Medical Group to UnitedHealth Group's Optum unit to $4.3 billion, DaVita officials announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday.

DaVita and UnitedHealth originally agreed to a sale price of $4.9 million for DaVita Medical Holdings.

But officials said they were reducing the price because of underlying business performance, as well as an effort to speed up Federal Trade Commission approval—the final OK needed from regulators—for the deal. In November, California regulators gave their blessing to the transaction.

The new figure reduces the purchase agreement from $73.5 million to $65.1 million. It also cuts DaVita’s aggregate liability for losses arising out of or resulting from claims from $367.5 million to $325.5 million. (FierceHealthcare)

About 100 patients will use Colorado’s medical aid-in-dying law this year, group estimates

At the second anniversary of Colorado’s medical aid-in-dying law, an advocacy group estimates that 90 to 100 people will use the law in 2018.

The law, which authorizes mentally capable, terminally ill adults to request a prescription for medication they can choose to take to end their lives, took effect in December 2016. In the first year, doctors wrote prescriptions for 69 patients and 50 of them filled the prescriptions for life-ending medications.

The group Compassion & Choices said the state will see a 25% to 30% increase in prescription requests in 2018 based on inquiries to its organization. The group said implementation is usually gradual and the law is working well since it took effect. (Announcement)