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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on December 31st, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


United States of America v. McKenzie
The owner of a medical supply company convicted of Medicare fraud appealed a court order requiring him to pay $3 million in restitution. An expert for the defendant had testified that it was not possible to determine how much the restitution figure should be reduced to reflect payment adjustments by Medicare. The 5th Circuit affirmed the restitution amount, noting that the defendant had the burden of introducing evidence regarding any offsets. The court reversed the order requiring an immediate lump sum payment, finding that the defendant did not have the financial resources to pay restitution immediately.


Hospitals, Unions Clash Over Flu Shot Mandates
A growing number of hospitals are requiring health care workers to get vaccinated against the flu and other infectious diseases to protect patients. Unions in several states have opposed these requirements and in some instances have obtained injunctions to prevent employees who refuse to be vaccinated from being terminated.

Study Casts New Light On Blood Pressure Levels
According to new guidelines, patients who are 60 or older can have their blood pressure reach 150/90 before medication is necessary rather than 140/90. However, doctors caution that these new guidelines do not apply across the board and are not applicable to some patients with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease.

Pharmacy Owners Agree To Settlement Over Meningitis Outbreak
The owners of a compounding pharmacy linked to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak have agreed to a preliminary settlement that would create a $100 million fund for victims. More than 700 illnesses and 64 deaths have been attributed to injections prepared at the pharmacy.

Feds Approve St. Luke’s, Baylor Partnership
The Federal Trade Commission has approved a joint venture between Baylor College of Medicine and St. Luke’s Health System. The institutions signed a letter of intent in October to enter into negotiations to create a clinical partnership.

Survey Suggests Patients Prefer Physicians For Medical Care
A recent survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians reflects that almost 75% of respondents would prefer to take a loved one to a physician over a nurse practitioner. The poll contradicts findings by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, which reported last month that there is widespread, national support among the general public for legislation and policy proposals increasing access to nurse practitioner care and services.

Few Residency Programs Teach Cost-Conscious Care
Fewer than 15% of residency programs teach new physicians to practice cost-conscious care, according to a new research letter published by the Journal of American Medical Association. The American College of Physicians has called for high-value, cost-conscious care to become a critical competency for physicians and about 85% of medical programs surveyed have agreed that medical education has a responsibility to help curtail the rising costs of health care.

US Ranks Near Bottom on Efficiency of Health Care Spending
The United States ranks near the bottom among industrialized nations in the efficiency of its health care spending, according to a new study by researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Researchers noted that every additional $100 spent on health care in the United States translates to less than half a month of increased life expectancy, compared to an additional four months of increased life expectancy in Germany.

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