MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Researchers say a "significant percent" of the $3.62 billion that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid spent on orthotics and prosthetics between 2007-2011 went to unlicensed providers. Agency attempts to stem the fraud have only served to strangle legitimate providers in red tape, according to the American Orthotic Prosthetic Assn.
Billions of Medicare dollars went to "providers who Congress specifically intended to exclude from eligibility for payments," according to an AOPA report.
The group further maintained that Medicare has been hushing up the problem, telling Congress incorrectly that the illegal payments have stopped.
"Taxpayers are seeing billions of dollars go to unlicensed providers in direct violation of what Congress has mandated," AOPA president Thomas Kirk said in prepared remarks. "The legitimate orthotics and prosthetics industry is being subjected to a misdirected and entirely arbitrary crackdown via government-sanctioned bounty hunters playing by their own set of rules."
A bipartisan team of House Representatives have teamed up to address the problem, and they’ve introduced legislation that aims to "reduce fraud, protect patients and save money in Medicare’s treatment of a very important and sensitive group of patients," according to a statement by former CMS administrator Thomas Scully. "Keeping out fraudulent providers in the first place is a better way to fight Medicare fraud and abuse instead of ongoing pay and chase methods."
mHealth challenge: Apple wants better medical apps
Technology giant Apple is taking a closer look at its medical apps, reviewing them more stringently and asking developers of mHealth apps to cite their sources of information.
White men more likely to end up with unnecessary stents
Researchers analyzing rates of "inappropriate" PCI reported that men, white patients and the privately insured are slightly more likely to undergo unnecessary stenting, a phenomenon that has gotten a lot of attention in recent years.
Football season brings new brain injury technologies
Companies like MedLogic are kicking off football season by touting technologies that aim to provide mobile, field-side screening devices to provide fast, accurate assessments of traumatic brain injury.
Medical exports still big business in the U.S.
Trade experts say the U.S.’s medical device exports business is still going strong, with annual growth projected in the 7-8% range, out-pacing sales at home.