Physician Practice Roundup—Surgery center that may have exposed patients to HIV faces lawsuit

A New Jersey surgery center faces a lawsuit after lax infection control practices may have exposed patients to HIV and other diseases. (Pixabay / Free-Photos)

Surgery center that may have exposed patients to HIV faces lawsuit

A lawsuit has been filed against a New Jersey surgery center that may have exposed nearly 3,800 patients to blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis because of poor infection control practices.

A former patient filed the first lawsuit against the HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook, according to Reuters news service. More potential victims are joining a class-action lawsuit against the surgery center, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News.

The surgery center notified patients in December that a state inspection of its facilities found lapses in infection control in sterilizing and cleaning instruments and the injection of medications that could have exposed them to blood-borne pathogens. (Reuters), (ABC7)

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AAAHC ‘deemed status’ renewed for accreditation of ASCs

CMS has renewed the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care’s (AAAHC) deemed status for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) for another six years.

That means AAAHC accreditation continues to satisfy the Medicare Conditions for Coverage for ASCs. (AAAHC)

Ransomware, phishing attacks top new HHS list of cyberthreats in healthcare

Email phishing attacks, ransomware attacks and attacks against connected medical devices are among the greatest cyberthreats that health systems need to protect against, according to new cybersecurity guidance for health systems from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Released last week, the Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices were released to help the industry identify ways to reduce its risk from cyberthreats. The result of a two-year effort between HHS and private entities, the guidance fulfills a mandate of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. (Fierce Healthcare)

Task force: Effective pain management needs to go beyond medications

A federal task force is calling for a far more individualized approach to pain management in the wake of the opioid epidemic. 

In a draft report, the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force said effective pain management needs to take into account all aspects of a patient including his or her biology, social ties and psychology. 

That means looking beyond medications to manage pain, instead of simply finding alternatives to opioids, according to the report. Physical therapy, alternative therapies like acupuncture, activities like yoga and tai chi, and cognitive therapy are all components to be considered in a treatment plan. (Fierce Healthcare)

Affordable Care Act to remain in place during appeals to Texas ruling

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas said the Affordable Care Act should remain in place as appeals to his decision to strike down the law weave their way through the appeal process.

On Dec. 14, the federal judge sided with 20 state attorneys general in a lawsuit against the ACA, ruling (PDF) that the ACA is unconstitutional due to zeroing out of the individual mandate penalty, which takes effect on Jan. 1. 

Over the weekend, O'Connor issued a stay and partial final judgment on the ruling, setting the stage for appeals while offering clarity requested by the attorneys general of 17 states following his decision earlier this month. The states said clarification was needed before the beginning of the year when the individual mandate penalty officially ends to avoid "extraordinary disruption."

The ruling is now expected to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It's possible the case could wind up in front of the Supreme Court. (Fierce Healthcare)

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