FEDS WIDEN HEALTH COVERAGE FOR OBESITY

Advocacy groups for the obese are applauding a recent directive by the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on obesity treatment coverage.  In a March 20 directive to health plans covering federal employees, OPM’s Director of Healthcare & Insurance ordered the plans to stop excluding coverage of …

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NLRB NEGATES HOSPITAL RULE BANNING NEGATIVITY

The Hills & Dales General Hospital employee handbook required employees to represent the hospital in a “positive” manner.  It also prohibited “negativity,” including negative comments or gossip about fellow workers. An administrative law judge had previously ruled that the policy against negativity …

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PHYSICIAN GROUPS URGE CONTINUATION OF STARK IN-OFFICE EXCEPTION

Thirty-one professional associations of physicians are urging Congress not to end the “in-office ancillary services exception” to the Stark Law’s general prohibition against referring Medicare patients to services when the referring physician has a financial interest in the services.  The coalition, which …

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CONGRESS EXTENDS MEDICARE “DOC FIX” TO 2015 AND NOBODY’S HAPPY

On Monday the Senate approved yet another one-year delay in implementing the scheduled 24% reduction in physician Medicare fees, and nobody’s happy about it.  Last week even the AMA blasted the House for approving the delay. How can a bill pass if nobody likes it?  How can the AMA be unhappy about a delay …

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COURT CALLS SECOND STRIKE ON WHISTLEBLOWER

For a second time the Maryland federal district court has dismissed a whistleblower suit alleging Medicare fraud for off-label use of a medication patch.  A former sales representative for the manufacturer claimed the patch was prescribed for longer than the FDA-approved 14 days.  The first time around, the …

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CRITICISM OF 340B HOSPITALS CONTINUES

Criticism of the hospitals participating in the 340B drug program continues, and it’s a matter of grave concern to safety-net and other qualifying hospitals. Yesterday the Alliance for Integrity & Reform of 340B issued a report titled Unfulfilled Expectations: An Analysis of Charity Care Provided by 340B …

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