Cuban fraud fugitive arrested after landing in Miami; new bill aims to include nurse practitioners and physicians assistants in drug payment reporting

News From Around the Web

> A Cuban national, wanted since 2013 for his role in a multi-million fraud scheme, was arrested on Friday after flying to Miami. Ubert Guillermo Rodriguez served as the president and owner of G.R. Services Equipment & Supplies Inc, and investigators allege Rodriguez submitted more than $2.5 million in fraudulent claims tied to durable medical equipment. Announcement

> A new bill proposed by two U.S. senators aims to close a loophole allowing drug and medical device manufacturers to hide payments made to nurse practitioners and physician assistants that have prescription privileges in many states, according to NPR. Article

> West Chester Hospital and its parent company, UC Health, agreed to pay $4.1 million to settle allegations that the provider billed for medically unnecessary spine surgeries. The hospital, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, gave privileges to Dr. Abubakar Atiq Durrani, who was arrested in 2013 for performing unnecessary surgeries. The hospital submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for the surgeries between 2009 and 2013. Announcement

Healthcare News

> The orthopedic surgeon who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Broward Health for overpaying physicians in exchange for referrals says that the trend toward employed physicians is exacerbating anti-kickback regulations. Michael Riley says that employed physician agreements are inherently driven by referrals, particularly when compensation is above and beyond what is reasonable. Article

Health Payer News

> A California agency has approved Blue Shield of California's acquisition of the health plan Care1st, but not without some pushback from consumer advocates. Groups criticized the decision to allow Blue Shield to use financial reserves to make the $1.2 billion deal, arguing that the payer had those reserves as part of its exemption from state taxes, an exemption it lost in August. Article

And finally… Yes, but are the leaves pumpkin-flavored? Article