February 1, 2015 Recent News





Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the CMS, has offered her resignation effective the end of February.  Her temporary replacement, probably until the end of the current administration. will be Andy Slavitt, a newbie at CMS.  It is doubtful that anyone appointed could be confirmed.

Some sanity returns to pharmaceuticals.  The age old Colchicine, a great drug for Gout, can now be sold generically again.  Takeda had an exclusive on the drug and hiked the price without any reason except greed. They were granted this exclusivity by the wonderful FDA. The US Ct. of Appeals in DC ruled that West Ward pharmacy could sell the drug.

Aetna has signed up with Gilead for their Hep C drug.  This is the fourth straight victory for Gilead over AbVee for the medication.  I bet AbVee wishes they did not start the fight.

The feds have again started their propaganda regarding the Obamacare enrollment.  They state that just over 9 million have enrolled in the combined federal and state plans.  These are not the new enrollees but are all enrollees.  Of course how many are actually enrolled will depend on how many actually pay premiums.  Last year 15% did not pay after being enrolled.  87% get subsidies of the most expensive health insurance ever.

The VA is reorganizing.  They are going from 9 areas to 5 and simplifying their websites.  

AOL has another article I don't understand.  They state in their article that insurers are gouging patients under Obamacare by making the sickest patients pay more.  Then they go on to talk about the cost of drugs and the putting of the expensive HIV, cancer and other drugs in a higher tier.  That is not under Obamacare but under Medicare Part D.  All do that.  They put the generic and low cost drugs on the lowest which costs the patient the least.  Those high cost drugs or non-competitive ones are all on the highest rung costing the patient the most out of pocket.

Kaiser Health Network has an article on why people do not sign up for Obamacare.  They point out the obvious.  It is the most expensive healthcare insurance ever or they do not qualify for Medicaid under their states rules.        Top


Almost 80% of hospitals that are eligible for Meaningful Use 2 attested that they were ready.  About 40% of professionals that ere eligible attested.  However, this is only about 4% of the total hospital and professional population.

CMS pays hospitals bonuses if they qualify on quality as defined by patient satisfaction, death rates and cost to Medicare.  This year 55% of the hospitals earned the bonus but many will have it taken away due to their having too many infections or patients returning to the hospital within thirty days.  The hospitals also get docked if they do not seem up to snuff on the dreaded EHR.  

A man upset with the care of his mother decided not to sue the hospital or physician but instead came to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, asked to speak to the physician and shot him to death then killing himself.  Dr. Michael Davidson, a CV Surgeon is dead.  A tragic loss.

Hospitals are usually insistent that their physicians are of high quality.  That apparently doesn't apply to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.  They allowed a 17 year old boy to pose as a physician for a month before he was caught.  He was able to walk around the facility without entering patient rooms fooling all those who saw him.  He was finally caught when he accompanied a patient to an OB office.

San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center has notified over 800 patients that their medical records have been compromised.  A pharmacist illegally accessed the information.  The pharmacist has been fired.        Top


Physicians and physician organizations are finally getting backbone to fight against the maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements of the ABMS.  These are expensive, time consuming and not necessary as all know that board certification does not make a better physician.  The rival National Board of Physicians and Surgeons has a cheaper and shorter certification process.  This is only important because some hospitals erroneously believe that MOC is necessary for being on their staff.  Guess what?  Hospitals, your s**t stinks just like all the others.  Physicians should work toward removing this requirement for hospital medical staff continued admittance

Physicians are also fighting the stupid electronic medical record meaningful use requirements.  They want to decouple EHR certification from meaningful use, and make certification more transparent and flexible.  

Student health clinic physicians at the University of California who belong to the Union of Physicians and Dentists have staged the first strike in 25 years.  The one day walkout was because the university in the bargaining sessions would not share financial information.  More need to happen ala 1975.        Top


 DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.