Health System Review – October 10th, 2012

Authorities charge 91 in $430 million Medicare fraud

CDC: Tainted steroid shots could put thousands in danger
Washington Post – October 8, 2012
Up to 13,000 patients across 23 states were treated with steroid shots linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak, CDC officials announced on Monday, but it’s not clear how many of those shots were contaminated. The number of cases reached 105 on Monday, including eight deaths. Symptoms have surfaced one to four weeks after patients were treated with the shots.

Report finds wide variation in hospitals’ use of blood transfusions
HealthLeaders Media – October 9, 2012
Hospitals could save 802,716 units of blood and reduce their costs by $165 million a year while maintaining outcomes for patients if the blood-utilization practices of the top 25% of hospitals were adopted across the board, according to a study from Premier in its Economic Outlook. The report recommends six measures, including the establishment of multidisciplinary blood stewardship teams and reliance on evidence-based transfusion guidelines.

FDA clamps down on Internet pharmacies selling harmful drugs
Reuters – October 4, 2012
The FDA took action against more than 4,100 online pharmacies for selling fake, unapproved or potentially unsafe treatments, including Genentech’s antiviral Tamiflu. The FDA said it removed offending websites, brought civil and criminal charges and seized drugs worldwide.

Authorities charge 91 in $430 million Medicare fraud
Reuters – October 4, 2012
Authorities charged 91 people in seven cities with defrauding Medicare after a federal investigation uncovered practices such as doctors allegedly writing unnecessary prescriptions. Such instances of fraud “drive up health care costs and jeopardize the strength of the Medicare program,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Cerner, Nuance partner to integrate voice recognition, EHR services
Healthcare-Informatics – October 10, 2012
Nuance and Cerner are collaborating in an effort to integrate Nuance’s cloud voice recognition service and Cerner’s mobile EHR platforms. The partnership will enable providers to use their voices to control applications and complete patient records, according to the firms.