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August 28, 2013


  1. Doctors Face New Scrutiny Over Gifts
  2. CVS Cracks Down on Prescription Drug Abuse
  3. USDOJ: Therapy Staffing Company Owner and Patient Recruiter Plead Guilty in $7 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
  4. NPs, PAs Trending Away from Primary Care
  5. Debt Drags on China's Growth
  6. Nursing Homes' Drug Use Falls
  7. Senate Hearing Will Examine The Federal Response To Marijuana Legalization
  8. What Happens When Co-Workers Are Nasty to Each Other
  9. Physician Participation in Medicare is Growing, HHS Says
  10. People don't like Obamacare. They like defunding it even less.
  11. State Society News
  12. Physician Wanted

scrutinyDoctors Face New Scrutiny Over Gifts


U.S. doctors are bracing for increased public scrutiny of the payments and gifts they receive from pharmaceutical and medical-device companies as a result of the new health law.


Starting this month, companies must record nearly every transaction with doctors-from sales reps bearing pizza to compensation for expert advice on research-to comply with the so-called Sunshine Act provision of the U.S. health-care overhaul. The companies must report data on individual doctors and how much they received to a federal health agency, which will post it on a searchable, public website beginning September 2014.


Many doctors say the increased disclosures are making them rethink their relationships with industry, citing concerns about privacy and accuracy, and worry that the public will misinterpret the information. Some fear patients will view the payments as tainting their medical decisions, and will lump together compensation for research-related services with payments of a more promotional nature.


Wall Street Journal


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cvsCVS Cracks Down on Prescription Drug Abuse


CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) on Thursday said it has suspended filling prescriptions written by 36 prescribers for high-risk drugs as part of a broader push to combat the abuse of such drugs.

The company is using its database to identify and halt inappropriate prescribing of high-risk drugs such as opioid painkillers.


It evaluated data on prescriptions filled at its pharmacies to identify providers with extreme patterns of prescribing high-risk drugs and then suspended controlled substances for those who it said couldn't justify their prescribing habits.



Wall Street Journal



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usdojUSDOJ: Therapy Staffing Company Owner and Patient Recruiter Plead Guilty in $7 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme


A patient recruiter and a therapy staffing company owner pleaded guilty today in connection with a $7 million health care fraud scheme involving the now defunct home health care company Anna Nursing Services Corp.


Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department's Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI's Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations' Miami office made the announcement.


Ivan Alejo, 48, and Hugo Morales, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. At sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 5, 2013, Alejo and Morales each face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.


Alejo worked as a patient recruiter at Anna Nursing, a home health care agency in Miami Springs, Fla., that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries but in reality billed Medicare for expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided. Morales owned Professionals Therapy Staffing Services Inc., which provided therapists to Anna Nursing.


US Dept. of Justice


npsNPs, PAs Trending Away from Primary Care


Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) are increasingly choosing subspecialty practices and could come up short in helping fill the shortage of primary care physicians, according to the research arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).


"Many nurse practitioners graduate with family, adult, or pediatric degrees but then go on to work in subspecialty offices, similar to the preponderance of physicians entering residency in internal medicine or pediatrics at the end of medical school who go on to further training and practice in subspecialties," the study published Thursday in American Family Physician found.


Researcher Stephen Petterson, PhD, and colleagues at the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, in Washington, reviewed data from the National Provider Identifier file to find out where NPs and PAs are working and if they're practicing with physicians. They found fewer than half of PAs and slightly more than half of NPs were practicing in primary care.


MedPage Today

debtDebt Drags on China's Growth


As worries over China's debt problem mount, the burden of paying off those loans could be the trigger that tips runaway credit into slower economic growth and financial stress.


Few areas illustrate the problems better than the old industrial sector, where state-owned steel plants and cement kilns continue to borrow and expand even as overcapacity grows. With debts high and profits low, some companies, such as state-owned steel giant Shougang Group, are using new loans to repay old ones, according to Dagong Global Credit Rating Co.

Shougang Group declined to comment.



Wall Street Journal


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nursingNursing Homes' Drug Use Falls


Officials at AG Rhodes Health & Rehab of Cobb, in Georgia, say the number of residents on antipsychotics has fallen to nine from 30.


A two-year effort by the federal government and the nursing-home industry has reduced the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs among elderly nursing-home residents, but the decline fell short of the program's goal, according to U.S. officials.


The percentage of patients receiving antipsychotics fell to 21.7% in the first quarter of 2013 from an average of 23.9% in the last quarter of 2011-a 9% decrease, according to data the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expected to release as early as this week.



Wall Street Journal


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senateSenate Hearing Will Examine The Federal Response To Marijuana Legalization


Today Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he will convene a hearing on September 10 to examine "conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws." He has invited Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify. Leahy, who said last December that he planned to hold a hearing on the issue this year, wants the Obama administration to let the legalization experiments in Colorado and Washington proceed:


"It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal. I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government."




nastyWhat Happens When Co-Workers Are Nasty to Each Other


Employees who have been on the receiving end of workplace incivility say it was a major factor in their decision to seek work elsewhere.


Companies may be reluctant to admit their offices are anything less than pleasant, but incivility-think belittling barbs or gruff responses-can lead to lost productivity, creativity and talent. As employees who are forced to do more work with fewer resources become more stressed, the rudeness is ramping up. So firms are urging staffers to play nice.


Uncivil behavior can "spread like a virus across teams," says Elizabeth Holloway, a professor of psychology at Antioch University and civility consultant.


Wall Street Journal


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medicarePhysician Participation in Medicare is Growing, HHS Says


As Congress prepares to take further action to create a new Medicare physician payment system, the Department of Health and Human Services says physician participation in Medicare is growing.


HHS Aug. 22 said the percentage of office-based physicians who report accepting new Medicare patients has not changed significantly - from 87.9 percent of physicians in 2005, to 90.7 percent in 2012. In addition, the number of physicians who have agreed to accept Medicare continues to grow--from 705,568 in 2012 to 735,041 in 2013, HHS said in a brief. The Department said the percentage of physicians who report accepting new Medicare patients is similar to, and in recent years slightly higher than, the percentage accepting new privately insured patients, and beneficiary access to care remains high and has remained stable over the past five years.



Bloomberg BNA

obamacarePeople don't like Obamacare. They like defunding it even less.


Two things are true about Obamacare. First, the law has been broadly unpopular for the last several years. Second, the idea of defunding it - as some conservative Republicans are pushing - is even less popular.


The new August tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is the resource for public opinion on the law, makes that case definitively.


Let's start with overall approval of the law. Forty-two percent of those tested have an unfavorable view of it while 37 percent view it favorably, numbers that have been consistent since late 2011. Even the party breakdowns inside the main question are remarkably steady; roughly six in 10 Democrats, one in three independents and 15 percent (or so) of Republicans approve of Obamacare.



Washington Post

State Society News



CASIPP Plans Fall Meeting
The California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians will hold its 4th Annual Meeting this September 20-22 at the Terranea Resort  in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
Interested physicians can register online at www.casipp.com



NY/NJ Societies of Interventional Pain Physicians Schedule Symposium


Registration is now open for the Pain Medicine Symposium, 2013, which is set for Thursday, November 7, 2013-Sunday, November 10, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency, Jersey City.


Following the great success of the 2012 program, this program again will be a joint effort between the New York and New Jersey Societies of Interventional Pain Physicians. The curriculum is presented by Course Directors: Sudhir Diwan, MD and Peter Staats, MD.


Speakers will be Sanjay Bakshi, MD, Sudhir Diwan, MD, and Peter Staats, MD.


Click here to register for the NYNJSIPP Pain Symposium.


Click HERE for more information.




* Please send in your State Society meeting news to:
 Holly Long at hlong@asipp.org

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