In The Know: Stay Informed with Health Care News
- Physicians Petition FDA to Change Narcotic Labeling
- Stolen Computer from Boston Hospital Risks PHI of 3,900 Patients
- Hospital Readmission Rates Remain Steady
- Hospitals Report Only One Percent of Patient Harm Events
- 15 New ACOs to Receive Advance Payments
Physicians Petition FDA to Change Narcotic Labeling
Concern for off label uses of opioid drugs such as Oxycontin and fentanyl has motivated 37 doctors to send a petition to the Food and Drug Administration asking them to change the labeling. The petitioners state that the current labeling on narcotic painkillers is overly broad, simply stating that the drugs are approved for moderate to severe pain without any limit on the time a patient should be taking the medication. The petition calls for changing the labels to eliminate the word “moderate” and to include a maximum of the equivalent of 100 mg. a day of morphine and a time period of no more than 90 days when used to treat non-cancer pain. To read more, click on http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/business/doctors-petition-fda-for-painkiller-limits.html?ref=health.
Stolen Computer from Boston Hospital Risks PHI of 3,900 Patients
A laptop computer was stolen from a physician’s office at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), potentially affecting 3,900 patients. Although BIDMC said the compromised information did not contain patient financial information, such as Social Security numbers, it did include medical information summaries. The personal computer had a tracking device, but it was never activated. Although BIDMC protects company-issued devices, the stolen computer was a personal device. Because of the incident, employees’ devices are now subject to mandatory encryption, including antivirus protection and up-to-date software patches. The process could take up to three months for the 1,500 personal electronic devices that might be used for work by the hospital’s 6,000 employees. To read the article from the Boston Globe, click on http://articles.boston.com/2012-07-21/business/32760508_1_social-security-numbers-patient-names-financial-data.
Hospital Readmission Rates Remain Steady
Despite efforts to reduce the number of hospital readmissions, the rates are not moving, according to Hospital Compare data updated last week. More than one in five Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, The Washington Post reported. The data revealed that 19.7 percent of heart attack patients were readmitted, only a 0.1 percentage point lower than the previous year. Pneumonia readmission actually rose by 0.1 percentage point to 18.5 percent. To read more, click on http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hospitals-readmission-rates-still-too-high-government-says/2012/07/19/gJQAZIqdwW_story.html.
Hospitals Report Only One Percent of Patient Harm Events
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has reported that hospitals reported only one percent of the adverse and temporary harm events that require reporting under state regulations. The OIG acknowledged that the low levels of reporting were most likely due to hospital staff not knowing that patient-safety incidents are reportable events, and not from hospitals failing to report known events. The OIG findings could result in efforts to improve adverse event reporting systems. Patient harm events for one month alone cost the Medicare program $324 million, according to the report. To read a summary of the OIG’s report, click on http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-06-09-00092.asp.
15 New ACOs to Receive Advance Payments
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has announced that 15 of the 89 new accountable care organizations (ACO) to the Medicare Shared Savings Program also will take part in the Advance Payment Model, aimed at physician-based and rural providers. Designed for smaller ACOs with less capital, the program aims to attract providers with payments to be repaid in the future. To read more, click on http://innovations.cms.gov/initiatives/aco/advance-payment/index.html.