MASSDEVICE ON CALL — FDA weighs in on electroshock therapy devices. The Food & Drug Administration is studying whether to downgrade the risk classification of electroshock devices, reinforcing what many psychiatrists consider a deepening acceptance of electroshock in modern therapy, reports The New York Times.
FDA proposes stricter regulations for AEDs. The FDA wants stricter regulations for companies that make automated external defibrillators amidst increased reports of malfunctions, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Dick Cheney to decide on heart transplant. In an interview last on the Today Show, former vice president Dick Cheney revealed that at some point he’ll have to make a decision about whether to seek a heart transplant, wrote The Wall Street Journal. He might be too old and six months ago, he was implanted with a left ventricular assist device. "We’ve got more and more experience of people living with this technology," he said during the interview.
BCBS Massachusetts CEO gets tough on docs. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts CEO Andrew Dreyfus is calling on hospitals and doctors to step up efforts to contain health care costs, warning that those insisting on traditional fee-for-service contracts will face level or reduced payments from his company, reported The Boston Globe.
Feds took back $2.5 billion in healthcare fraud cash in 12 months. Federal agents recovered $2.5 billion from healthcare fraud judgments through the False Claims Act in the 12 months ending September 2010, a record-breaking amount they credit to whistle-blowers and a renewed effort from the Obama administration, USA Today reported.
Drug development, sponsored by the feds. The Obama administration will increase the federal government’s R&D budget as the big drugmakers continue to scale back: a billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines.
The job of the new center, to be called the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, is akin to that of a home seller who spruces up properties to attract buyers in a down market. In this case the center will do as much research as it needs to do so that it can attract drug company investment.
That means that in some cases, the center will use one of the institutes’ four new robotic screeners to find chemicals that affect enzymes and might lead to the development of a drug or a cure. In other cases, the center may need to not only discover the right chemicals but also perform animal tests to ensure that they are safe and even start human trials to see if they work. All of that has traditionally been done by drug companies, not the government.
’None of this is intended to be competitive with the private sector,’ Dr. Collins said. ’The hope would be that any project that reaches the point of commercial appeal would be moved out of the academic support line and into the private sector.’
Latest healthcare reform strategy. Sen. Charles Schumer said Democrats plan to require Republicans in the Senate to “to vote on the individual protections in the bill that are very popular and that even some of the new Republican House members have said they support. So in the end, their repeal bill is going to be so full of holes it looks like Swiss cheese.’
Healthcare: The jobs brightspot. Healthcare added 36,000 jobs in December — more than one-third of the total gain and second to the leisure and hospitality sector.
Arizona seeks Medicaid exemption. Arizona will try to request a federal waiver to cut Medicaid from 280,000 citizens.
Meet The Super Angels. Via The Boston Globe: “An idea that first began in California’s Silicon Valley, super angels get involved in promising new companies when they are still too small and untried to attract venture capital. But super angels take a more aggressive and systematic approach than plain angels, investing more money, more often. Where a traditional angel might back one or two start-ups a year, super angels will get behind as many as 20, investing anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000 in each one.”
Paul Levy’s cushion. The former Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO received a $1.6 million severance.
Material from MedCity News was used in this report.