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celebrating our 10th anniversary

October 24, 2012


  1. CDC Responds to Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak
  2. FDA: 1,279 facilities received other products from pharmacy linked to meningitis
  3. The Latest: Drug Recall Information for Meningitis Multi-State Outbreak
  4. State Alleged Problems With Pharmacy in '02
  5. Romney Takes a Swipe at ACA in Third Presidential Debate
  6. Doctors Who Go Digital Provide Higher Quality Healthcare
  7. Survey: Potential Medicare cuts to affect physician EHR adoption
  8. Influx of Newly Insured a Prompt for Practices to Rethink Patient Flow
  9. Liability premium relief good for doctors, unsettling for insurers
  10. State Society News
  11. Physician Wanted  

cdcCDC Responds to Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak


  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with state and local health departments and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is investigating a multistate fungal meningitis outbreak among patients who received contaminated steroid injections. Several patients suffered strokes that are believed to have resulted from their infections. The investigation also includes fungal infections associated with injections in a peripheral joint, such as a knee, shoulder or ankle.


CDC and public health officials are referring any patients who have symptoms that suggest possible fungal infection to their physicians, who can evaluate them further. Patients who received injections in peripheral joints only are not believed to be at risk for meningitis, but they could be at risk for joint infection.


About the Investigation:

  •  CDC and FDA have confirmed the presence of a fungus known as Exserohilum rostratum in unopened medication vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml) from one of the three implicated lots from NECC (Lot #08102012@51, BUD 2/6/2013). The laboratory confirmation further links steroid injections from these lots from NECC to the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and joint infections. Testing on the other two implicated lots of methylprednisolone acetate and other NECC injectable medications continues.
  •  As of October 17, 2012, a total of 47 patients have laboratory-confirmed fungal meningitis. This form of fungal meningitis is not contagious. CDC's laboratory has confirmed Exserohilum rostratum in clinical specimens for all but two patients of these patients. Of the other two patients, one has been found to be infected with Aspergillus fumigatus and one with Cladosporium. These fungi are common in the environment but rarely cause meningitis.
  •  CDC continues to work with states to determine if there may be other fungal infections caused by exposure to NECC products beyond the three lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml) from NECC that were recalled on September 26, 2012. CDC does not have firm evidence that fungal infections have been caused by exposure to other NECC products.
  •  CDC and state health departments estimate that approximately 14,000 patients may have received injections with medication from the three implicated lots of methylprednisolone and nearly 97% have now been contacted for further follow-up.
  • Patients and clinicians need to remain vigilant for onset of symptoms because fungal infections can be slow to develop. In this outbreak symptoms typically have appeared 1 to 4 weeks following injection, but it's important to know that longer and shorter periods of time between injection and onset of symptoms have been reported. Therefore, patients and physicians need to closely watch for symptoms for at least several months following the injection. See updated Patient Guidance for more information, and contact your physician if you are concerned you may have become ill from your injection.
  •   Information about the investigation and guidance for clinicians, including interim treatment guidelines, is available at http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html. CDC recommendations are subject to change as more information becomes available.

fdaFDA: 1,279 facilities received other products from pharmacy linked to meningitis


Federal regulators are asking more than 1,200 hospitals, clinics and doctors nationwide to follow up with patients who may be at risk of infection because they received injectable medications made by the New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy whose tainted steroid shots are linked to the growing fungal-meningitis outbreak.


In the Washington area, about 40 facilities, including several major hospitals and physician groups, are listed as having bought these injectable medications. Some said they were able to warn all affected patients about possible infection


Washington Post

allegedState Alleged Problems With Pharmacy in '02


Massachusetts regulators a decade ago alleged there were serious issues with the production of pain medication by the specialty pharmacy recently implicated in the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak, according to newly released state documents.


But the state pharmacy board backed off a proposal to issue a formal reprimand and a three-year probation after the firm's lawyer complained in a letter that the action could "destroy their business."



Wall Street Journal

romneyRomney Takes a Swipe at ACA in Third Presidential Debate


BOCA RATON, FL - To the surprise of some, healthcare wound its way into Monday night's debate - though the matter only garnered a brief mention by GOP nominee Mitt Romney.


The topic of discussion was foreign policy, after all. But that didn't stop the candidates from returning homeward, and talking about education, teachers, jobs, the economy and balancing the budget - and that is where Romney pointed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).



Healthcare Finance News

digitalDoctors Who Go Digital Provide Higher Quality Healthcare


The use of electronic health records is linked to significantly higher quality care, according to a new study¹ by Lisa Kern and her team, from the Health Information Technology Evaluation Collaborative in the US. Their work appears online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine², published by Springer.


Electronic health records (EHRs) have become a priority in the US, with federal incentives for 'meaningful' use of EHRs. Meaningful use entails tracking and improving specific patient outcomes, as well as gathering and storing information.




surveySurvey: Potential Medicare cuts to affect physician EHR adoption


According to a new survey by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), physicians are worried about potential Medicare cuts that will go into effect if Congress does not act by January 1, 2013. The cuts would drastically affect physician revenue by reducing reimbursement for the treatment of Medicare patients by 27%.


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the branch of the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for overseeing Medicare and Medicaid, administering benefits for approximately 90 million Americans. CMS also decides what reimbursements physicians should receive for treating Medicare patients, which include the elderly and disabled.


EHR Intelligence

infulxInflux of Newly Insured a Prompt for Practices to Rethink Patient Flow


The crunch that physician practices, especially those in primary care, are likely to feel once the insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act is in full force won't be as much about the sheer numbers of newly insured who will walk through the door. Instead, odds are it will be more about the intense level of care and service patients are likely to need when they arrive.


A report from PwC's Health Research Institute notes that the 30 million Americans expected to get insurance under the ACA are, compared with the current insured population, poorer, older, less likely to have full-time employment, less likely to have a college degree and more likely to speak a language other than English. Only a quarter have had previous health insurance.



AMA news


liabilityLiability premium relief good for doctors, unsettling for insurers


Small but persistent declines in medical liability insurance premiums have many insurers concerned about the future of their industry. Yet doctors are benefiting from lower rates and rising competition among insurers vying for their business.


Nearly 60% of premiums nationwide held steady in 2012, and about 26% decreased, according to the Medical Liability Monitor Annual Rate Survey. Only 15% of premiums increased.


AMA news




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