Friday, February 18, 2011

Late week update

The AP reports that the Justice Department yesterday filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Vinson to clarify his ruling the the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. The Government wants the Judge to state that States should continue to implement the law while the case is on appeal. The plaintiffs reported will file a response today.

There's a lot going on up on Capital Hill but the FEHBlog will review that on Sunday.

The AMA News reports on a new study with another take on the correlation between hospital costs and mortality. This new study of California admissions suggests the existence of a correlation between more intensive /expensive care and lower mortality which is music to the ears of the hospital industry. Other studies disclaimed such a correlation. Another researcher cautions that
Part of this research riddle could be explained by looking at what happens to patients when they leave the hospital, said Amber Barnato, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Dr. Barnato wrote a study published in the February 2010 Medical Care that examined the intensity of end-of-life care among more than 1 million patients at Pennsylvania hospitals from 2001 to 2005. She found that hospitals with high "treatment intensity" had better survival rates than those that deployed fewer interventions near the end of life. However, the mortality gap waned after six months and disappeared after one year."Perhaps patients going to high-intensity areas are getting some more days or months of life, but they're not on average living 15 more years," Dr. Barnato said.
Yesterday, the Justice Department announced a large number of arrests and indictments for health care fraud. Among those indicted in Miami were
Victor Ramon Castillo [who] was charged with five counts of health care fraud, in connection withVida Group Services, Inc., in Miami, Florida. The indictment alleges that Castillo incorporated Vida Group, submitted an application to Blue Cross on behalf of Vida Group, opened a bank account, and submitted approximately $1,118,854 in fraudulent claims to Blue Cross, of which Blue Cross paid $298,038. The indictment alleges that many of the fraudulent claims were for Federal employees receiving health benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Luck.

No comments: