August 28, 2013
Doctors Face New
Scrutiny Over Gifts
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
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
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.
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CVS 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.
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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
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
"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
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.
Debt Drags on
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
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
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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.
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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."
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.
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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
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.
People 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.
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.
|State Society News
CASIPP Plans Fall
The California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians will hold its 4th
Annual Meeting this September 20-22 at the Terranea Resort
Palos Verdes, CA.
Societies of Interventional Pain Physicians Schedule Symposium
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
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
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
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