Health System Review – October 17th, 2012

Insurers Denied Coverage to 1 in 7

New Scrutiny of Company That Made Tainted Drug
NYT – October 17, 2012
As the national meningitis outbreak linked to a contaminated steroid continues to grow, health officials are now confronting the possibility that some of the more than 100,000 shipments of other drugs from the same company that made the steroid may have caused other types of infections.

Insurers Denied Coverage to 1 in 7
WSJ – October 12, 2012
The four largest U.S. for-profit health insurers on average denied policies to one out of every seven applicants based on their prior medical history, according to a congressional investigation released Tuesday.

Telemedicine is Set to Grow as Demand Increases for Remote Services
Healthcare Informatics online – October 16, 2012
The telemedicine industry is becoming one of the most in-demand approaches for providing patient care, according to a study by Frost & Sullivan. The report examined the five leading telemedicine markets in North America and predicted that telemedicine could generate more than $1.9 billion in revenue. Among the biggest telemedicine markets are home health monitoring, disease tracking, video consultation and remote access to specialists.

AMA, Physician Groups Outline Payment Reforms to Finance Committee
Bloomberg – October 17, 2012
The American Medical Association along with more than 100 additional medical groups representing states and specialties sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee outlining principles the societies said are needed to craft a new Medicare physician payment system. Initial steps include repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula followed by a series of reforms in delivery system, payment updates and physician rewards, the groups stated.

GSK Will Open Up Drug Data; Information Includes Patient Data on Failed Trials
MedCityNews – October 11, 2012
GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty announced last week that researchers can now access information related to the company’s clinical trials, including anonymized patient-level outcomes for trials of failed and approved treatments. Witty also pledged to pursue publication of the outcomes of clinical tests of his company’s drugs in peer-reviewed scientific journals, regardless of the results of the trials.

Amplion Research Unveils Biomarker Base
Pharmaceutical Business Review Online – October 11, 2012
Amplion Research has unveiled BiomarkerBase, a database consisting of all biomarkers in active clinical use. The database will aid drug and diagnostic test developers, market analysts and technology transfer professionals, among others.

EarlySense Gets FDA Clearance for an Upgrade to Its Bedside Monitoring Device
The Boston Globe/Business Updates blog – October 17, 2012
The FDA has cleared an upgrade to EarlySense’s bedside monitoring system, which captures motion, heart and respiratory data using a sensor placed underneath the patient’s mattress. The device, designed for use at rehabilitation facilities and hospitals, will now include capabilities for measuring oxygen saturation.

Medtronic Lands Patent for Implant Recharger that may Fit in Blankets, Clothing or Memory Foam Pads.
MassDevice – October 11, 2012
Medtronic has secured a U.S. patent covering a passive charging system that could be used to simultaneously and wirelessly recharge the batteries of various medical device implants, including pacemakers and drug infusion pumps. The company envisions the charger to be in the form of coils that could be incorporated into memory foam products, blankets, chair pads or clothing.

HIT Policy Committee to Study EHR Overbilling
Health Data Management – October 17, 2012
The advisory HIT Policy Committee has been asked by National HIT Coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari to determine whether providers are leveraging EHRs to overbill Medicare, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Mostashari said in an interview that he wants the committee to investigate whether cutting and pasting when a physician is updating an EHR could trigger higher billing codes.