Over-reach of RACs highlighted at AHA briefing   05/21/2013
Leaders from four hospitals and health systems briefed congressional staff Friday on the problems they face due to inappropriate payment denials by Medicare recovery audit contractors. For example, Steven Hanks, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, described the types of inpatient hospital services being denied by RACs – and the patients who need the services. He noted that despite medical need, RACs are denying payment for these services on the grounds that the care should have been provided in the outpatient setting. However, he said the hospital has appealed 96% of the denials and 94% were successfully overturned. “We want bills to go out correctly the first time and we agree that any payer should be assured accuracy,” Hanks said. “We also agree that fraudulent and abusive practices should be rooted out and vigorously prosecuted. RACs have nothing to do with fraud and abuse. It’s not a level playing field when RACs are paid on commission to indiscriminately deny claims.”
Tornado damages Oklahoma hospital   05/21/2013
A tornado ripped through Moore, OK, yesterday at about 3 p.m., striking homes, two schools and Moore Medical Center, part of Norman Regional Health System. No hospital patients or staff were injured in the storm, according to the health system, which today was treating at least nine patients from the severely damaged hospital and more than 100 patients with storm-related injuries at its two hospitals in Norman, OK. Twenty patients were admitted to the Norman hospitals for injuries from the storm and were in fair or good condition. Physicians at the Moore hospital were working on a plan to continue their care at a new location. “Norman Regional Health System will continue to work around the clock to help any and all affected by the storms and the immediate aftermath,” the health system said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to these people, their loved ones and the emergency workers doing incredible things to save lives.” As of press time, at least 24 people were confirmed dead, according to news reports. Hundreds are reported injured and are being treated at multiple area hospitals.
Foundation accepting donations for Moore hospital employees   05/21/2013
The Norman Regional Health Foundation, part of Norman Regional Health System, is accepting online donations for employees of Moore (OK) Medical Center who suffered losses from a 2-mile-wide tornado that struck the community yesterday. Donations, which are tax deductible, also may be mailed to: Norman Regional Health Foundation, P.O. Box 1665, Norman, OK 73070. To benefit the employees, online donations must be made in honor of employees for Moore Medical Center and checks should note “Employees – Moore Medical Center.” AHA will contribute $50,000 to the fund.
FDA expands alert to all NuVision sterile products   05/21/2013
Health care providers should not use any sterile products made and distributed by NuVision Pharmacy of Dallas due to concerns about a lack of sterility assurance, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday. The agency advises providers to immediately quarantine the products and report any adverse reactions or quality problems to the MedWatch program. In April, NuVision voluntarily recalled methylcobalamin and lyophilized injection products due to FDA concerns about sterility and quality control. FDA received reports of fever, flu-like symptoms and injection-site soreness associated with the methylcobalamin product.
Task Force recommends primary care fluoride treatment for young children   05/21/2013
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force yesterday issued a draft recommendation to prevent tooth decay in children from birth through age 5. The panel recommends primary care providers prescribe fluoride supplements starting at 6 months to children whose water supply is deficient in fluoride, and apply fluoride varnish to the primary teeth of infants and children to age 5. The panel assigned a "B" grade to the recommendation, which means all copays and deductibles for providing the recommended services would be waived under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The task force will accept comments on the draft recommendation through June 17. The prevalence of tooth decay in children has been increasing, particularly between ages 2 and 5, according to the panel. An estimated 42% of children aged 2 to 11 years have tooth decay in their primary teeth.