Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend update

Congress remains in session this coming week.

On the health care quality front, Thomson Reuters announced its top 100 U.S. hospitals -- the chart breaks down hospitals into teaching hospitals and community hospitals by size. Also, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that results from a "national survey that asks patients about their experiences with Medicare-certified home health agencies are now available on the agency’s Quality Care Finder ( website."

On the health care fraud front, the Justice Department announced on Friday a settlement of a False Claims Act case against the Walgreen's pharmacy chain.  Walgreen's was offering a $25 gift card to customers who transferred a prescription from another pharmacy. The program expressly excluded customers with coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs. The government alleged that Walgreen's did not enforce this exclusion thereby permitting violations of the Medicare-Medicaid anti-kickback act. Walgreen's agreed to pay the government $7.9 million to settle the case without conceding liability.
“The law prohibits pharmacies from using their retail clout to lure patients whose prescriptions are subsidized by the government,” said Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.  “Continuity with a pharmacist is important to detect problems with dosages and drug interactions.  Patients should make decisions based on legitimate health care needs, not on inducements like gift cards.”  

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