MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The False Claims Act gives federal authorities broad power to open an investigation for Medicare and Medicaid billing fraud, but a new bill would give hospitals an extra layer of protection.
The bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week would set up several procedural steps before the U.S. Justice Dept. or another federal agency can charge for fraud, shielding hospitals from costly legal consequences for honest billing mistakes.
Reid calls GOP request to delay insurance mandate ‘insane’
Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) shut down a Republican-led attempt to delay the individual insurance mandate, calling the proposal "insane." The bill, which would postpone the individual mandate, requiring all Americans purchase some form of insurance, until 2015, passed the House last month. Minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued that the delay for employers means there should also be a delay for individuals.
Massive loophole in an ethical patient referral practice
A well-intentional law, the Ethics in Patient Referrals Act, means that doctors can’t refer patients to any medical facility partially owned by the doc. But more and more physicians are taking advantage of a loophole for "ancillary services," including radiation. A new report from the Government Accountability Office details harm to patients and millions of wasted medical dollars. The American Society for Radiation Oncology hopes to pass a newly introduced bill that addresses the loophole.
CMS faces harsh questions over HC law implementation
Over the course of 2 House committee meetings in Washington, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the IRS took a series of difficult questions about verifying consumer incomes under the Affordable Care Act. Republicans slammed agency officials over the practical implementation of a verification system, specifically how the government will verify low incomes before doling out subsidies. Agency officials also fielded questions about a pending Independent Payment Advisory Board, a still-hypothetical board to control Medicare spending.
High-risk patients might benefits from kidney ultrasound after surgery
Kidney injury is a common side-effect for weak or unstable patients after major surgery. A new study found that such high-risk patients might benefit from an ultrasound therapy targeting this vital organ. A simple, drug-free treatment was shown to improve kidney function in mice, with the study’s authors recommending further investigation for post-surgical patients.