Healthcare Roundup—Joint Commission creates new ID requirement for newborns; Feds charge 600 in fraud bust 

NICU
The Joint Commission has launched a new requirement for hospitals aimed at preventing the misidentification of newborns. (Pixelistanbul/Getty)

Joint Commission creates new ID requirement for newborns 

Newborns are at high risk of misidentification, which can lead to potentially serious harm or medical error. So the Joint Commission has issued a new requirement for hospitals to use "distinct methods" of identification for babies. 

The commission offers several examples, including: 

  • Using the mother's name and the baby's gender as an identifier; for example, "Smith, Judy Girl"
  • Building a standardized practice for identifying infants, such as a two body-site approach
  • Developing specific tools for staff to use in identification, such as updated signage 

To reach the group's patient safety goals, hospitals will have to deploy at least two effective identification methods. (Announcement

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House subcommittee advances disaster preparedness, graduate medical education bills 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health has advanced several bills aimed at renewing health programs. 

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act renewal was amended to authorize $264.6 million in funding each year to the Hospital Preparedness Program, a decrease from the current $374.4 million level.  

The subcommittee also advanced legislation that would reauthorize the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Program through 2023, with a funding boost compared to the 2019 spending bill proposed earlier this month. The bill would put $325 million toward the program each year, a $10 million increase from last year and the same amount included in the spending bill. (Markup hearing

Feds charge more than 600 in record-setting fraud bust 

The Department of Justice released the results of its annual fraud takedown on Thursday, and it revealed that 601 people had been charged in fraud schemes that cost the federal government more than $2 billion. 

The agency charged nearly 200 more people than the year prior and brought in an additional $700 million compared to 2017. Opioid distribution was a major focus, with DOJ charging 162 people with illegally prescribing or distributing narcotics. Among their number was 72 physicians. 

"Healthcare fraud is a betrayal of vulnerable patients, and often it is theft from the taxpayer," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. "In many cases, doctors, nurses and pharmacists take advantage of people suffering from drug addiction to line their pockets. These are despicable crimes." (FierceHealthcare