MASSDEVICE ON CALL — A group of 19 healthcare advocacy groups this week submitted a letter asking the Obama Administration to issue the long-awaited guidelines on the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had promised to issue the Sunshine Act rules before the end of last year, but no rules have yet been unveiled.
Designed to eliminate fraud in Medicare and Medicaid, the Sunshine Act will govern and provide transparency for the relationships between industry and healthcare providers.
"There is a significant consequence for healthcare system costs associated with the ongoing delay in implementation because of the practice by some physicians of over-prescribing certain drugs, or by otherwise prescribing medically unnecessary and expensive treatments," according to the letter, which was signed by the American Association of Retired Persons, the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations and 17 others, Healthwatch reported.
Several groups have in recent months sent letters to the White House Office of Management & Budget, including a December letter signed by medical device maker Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and Pew Chartable Trusts, and another call for action issued earlier this month by the American Medical Assn. and the National Physicians Alliance, among others.
Curbing enthusiasm for electronic medical records
RAND Corp. tempered its own enthusiasm for electronic medical records, which it once credited with a potential $81 billion in healthcare system savings, after a new look at the technology found that healthcare providers had "not achieved the productivity and quality benefits that are unquestionably there for the taking."
Meta-analysis supports prostate removal over radiation therapy for prostate cancer
Traditional and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy beat radiation therapy in cost-effectiveness, quality of life after treatment and patient survival for patients with prostate cancer, according to a review of more than 230 prior studies.
No babies post weight-loss surgery, docs say
Women who undergo weight-loss surgery should wait at least 1 year before getting pregnant, as there may be surgical complications such as band slippage and migration, but pregnancy following bariatric surgery is still safer than pregnancy in morbidly obese women, researchers said.