MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Alleged Biotronik chicanery prompts calls for feds: German cardiac device maker Biotronik is under the spotlight in Nevada after a New York Times probe of a Las Vegas hospital’s allegedly purchased preference for the company’s pacemakers and defibrillators.
Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) asked the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services to look into whether patients were put at risk or if improper billings had been made after the April 2 Times article raised questions about whether the cardiologists who implanted the devices had improperly accepted consulting fees from Biotronik.
Last year, 95 percent of the pacemakers implanted at UMC were made by Biotronik, according to the Times. The devices dramatically rose in popularity (NYT graph) at UMC in mid-2008 after Biotronik hired several cardiologists as consultants, according to the article. The physician consultants were paid as much as $5,000 a month, according to the article.
Study: Medical error rates higher than expected. About one in three people in the U.S. will experience a mistake during a hospital stay, according to studies published this week in Health Affairs. The new data, which is based on a new method for measuring hospital errors, is about 10 times higher than estimates using older methods, writes Reuters.
Ryan Medicare plan would boost costs for many. The House Republican plan for overhauling Medicare would fundamentally change how the federal government pays for health care House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s solution is to end the current Medicare program for people born in 1957 and after. Starting in 2022, when those Americans begin turning 65, they would no longer get their medical bills paid directly by the government, writes The Wall Street Journal.
Berwick explains why we’re lagging on EMRs, tries to rally docs. The reasons for not adopting electronic medical records are relatively simple: "those on the sidelines think the systems are expensive, that they won’t produce a return on investment and that they’ll cut productivity even after they’re fully implemented," writes The Wall Street Journal. A new survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association that covered 4,588 health-care organizations, including independent practices, hospitals, integrated systems and others, backs that up.
"So if electronic health records are so great, why aren’t we there yet? And the answer is that it is hard to do. It means new hardware, new software, new skills," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid director Donald Berwick said in a video meant to rally the country around electronic medical records. At the time this article was published, Berwick’s two minute video had 86 views on YouTube.