In The Know: Stay Informed with Health Care News
- HHS Issues New Rules for Electronic Health Care Payments
- CDC Issues Revised Guidelines for Treatment of Gonorrhea
- FDA Approves Lucentis for Treatment of Macular Edema
- CMS to Begin Issuing Penalties for Readmissions
- List of Hazardous Drugs Updated
- Hepatitis C Outbreak Result of Poor Security and Lack of Infection Control Practices
- Physical Inactivity Should be Treated a Medical Condition, Says Mayo Clinic
HHS Issues New Rules for Electronic Health Care Payments
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had issued new rules governing electronic health care claim payments. The new rules eliminate administrative obstacles to electronic claim payments and adjustments. Insurers will be required to offer standardized online enrollment for electronic fund transfers and remittance advice transactions. The interim final rule, “Administrative Simplification: Adoption of Operating Rules for Health Care Electronic Funds Transfers and Remittance Advice Transactions,” is posted on the Federal Register, with a compliance date of Jan. 1, 2014. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 9. To read HHS’ Press Release, click on http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/08/20120807a.html.
CDC Issues Revised Guidelines for Treatment of Gonorrhea
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued revised guidelines aimed at delaying the emergence of complete drug resistance to gonorrhea. The revised guidelines say that the oral drug, Suprax should no longer be used as first-line treatment for gonorrhea, and instead the injectable drug Rocephin should be used, coupled with either azithromycin or doxycycline. The new guidelines are an attempt to help preserve the effectiveness of ceftriaxone, which is the last remaining drug for treatment options. The bacteria the causes gonorrhea is already resistant to all but the cephalosporins and it’s likely some day to acquire resistance to them as well. Details of the revised guidelines appear in the August 10 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To read more, click on http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/.
FDA Approves Lucentis for Treatment of Macular Edema
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the drug Lucentis for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), a sight-threatening eye disease that occurs in people with diabetes. An injection administered one a month by a health care professional is intended to be used along with good diabetic blood sugar control. According the CDC, diabetes affects about 26 million people in the United States, and is the leading cause of new blindness among people ages 20 to 74 years. The drug’s safety and effectiveness was studied in two clinical trials involving 759 patients who were treated and followed for three years. Results showed that between 34 percent and 45 percent of those treated with Lucentis gained at least three lines of vision compared with 12 to 18 percent of those who did not receive an injection. To read more, click on http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm315130.htm?source=govdelivery.
CMS to Begin Issuing Penalties for Readmissions
Beginning in October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin recouping about $280 million in payments from about 2,200 hospitals for Medicare and Medicaid patients who are readmitted with 30 days of a prior hospital admission. Under the penalty guidelines, hospitals could face a one percent loss of their base Medicare payments. To read more, click on http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2012/August/13/medicare-hospitals-readmissions-penalties.aspx.
List of Hazardous Drugs Updated
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has updated the health care list of hazardous drugs. The list was last updated in 2010 and identifies drugs that could pose an occupational threat through various routes of exposure to workers, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and housekeeping staff. Since posting the list in 2010, NIOSH has reviewed approximately 70 new drugs that received FDA approval and approximately 180 drugs that received new special warnings. NIOSH has added 26 new drugs to the list, and 15 were eliminated because they no longer met the hazardous drug definition or were no longer available. The updated list is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-150.
Hepatitis C Outbreak Result of Poor Security and Lack of Infection Control Practices
Following investigations into the “serial infector” who allegedly started a hepatitis C outbreak, a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revealed that Exeter hospital failed to secure narcotics and lacked a policy for cleaning glucose monitors. Thirty patients and one hospital employee had been infected with the same strain of hepatitis C. CMS detailed how the traveling lab technician stole syringes filled with the painkiller Fentanyl, injected himself, then refilled the contaminated needles with saline for other patients to use. To read more, click on http://news.yahoo.com/hepatitis-tests-start-hampshire-hospital-faulted-225127657.html.
Physical Inactivity Should be Treated a Medical Condition, Says Mayo Clinic
The Mayo clinic published a study in The Journal of Physiology, saying that a sedentary lifestyle is a medical condition and should be diagnosed and treated as such. Researchers noted that physical inactivity affects both obese patients and patients who are not overweight, and is linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, and joint damage. Researchers encouraged providers to consider prescribing exercise before the default of prescribing medication for many conditions. To read the study, click on http://jp.physoc.org/content/590/15/3413.