Officials confirm fungus in steroid product; post sample patient notices   10/19/2012
The Food and Drug Administration last night confirmed the presence of fungus in unopened vials from one of three lots of injectable epidural steroid medication recalled by the New England Compounding Center on Sept. 26. The laboratory confirmation further links steroid injections from these lots of methylprednisolone acetate to the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and joint infections. On Oct. 6, NECC recalled all of its products, and on Oct. 15, FDA notified providers that two of the other recalled products may be contaminated. Testing continues on the other two implicated lots of methylprednisolone acetate and other NECC injectables. For more information, including the affected lot number, see the FDA statement. On Oct. 15, FDA advised providers to contact patients who received any injectable medication made by NECC, or any cardioplegic solution sold or made by NECC after May 21, and ask them to contact a provider immediately if they experience any symptoms of infection. To aid in that process, FDA last night posted a sample patient notification letter. Public health officials in Massachusetts and Tennessee also have issued sample patient notification letters in collaboration with hospital associations in those states. To view the state letters and an AHA Special Bulletin on the outbreak sent to members this week, visit
AHA call series on Stage 2 meaningful use continues Oct. 24   10/19/2012
AHA will host an Oct. 24 member conference call to summarize and answer questions about the final rules for Stage 2 "meaningful use" of electronic health records, information that will help hospitals prepare for Stage 1 and plan for Stage 2. The call, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, will focus on the rules for hospitals working with affiliated physicians. To register for the 90-minute call, the second in a two-part series, click here. On Sept. 4, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a final rule defining Stage 2 meaningful use, while the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology published a final rule setting certification criteria, standards and implementation specifications for EHR technology in 2014.
CMS renews deeming authority of hospice accreditor   10/19/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved the Community Health Accreditation Program for continued recognition as a national accrediting organization for hospices that wish to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid programs. The reapproval is effective for six years. Providers accredited by CMS-recognized accrediting organizations are deemed to meet the Medicare conditions of participation.