Physician Practice Roundup—Doctors, hospitals received $8.4B in payments from drug companies last year and more news

Doctor putting money in pocket
Some 628,000 physicians received $79.1 million in research-related payments and nearly $2.1 billion in general payments in 2017. (Getty/Niyazz)

CMS: Doctors, hospitals received $8.4 billion in payments from drug companies last year

Doctors and teaching hospitals received $8.4 billion in payments from drug companies in 2017, according to the latest Open Payments data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Under the Sunshine Act, CMS is required to publish financial interactions between manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals and medical supplies and individual physicians and teaching hospitals.

The 2017 payments included nearly $4.7 billion in research-related payments, $2.82 billion in non-research-related payments and more than $927 million representing ownership or investment interests held by physicians or their immediate family members, according to CMS data.

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According to the latest data, 628,000 physicians received $79.1 million in research-related payments and nearly $2.1 billion in general payments in 2017. (Fierce Healthcare)

Allscripts seeks arbitration in class-action ransomware suit

Allscripts has asked an Illinois district judge to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed after a ransomware attack took down the EHR vendor’s servers for a week, adding that the dispute belongs in arbitration.

The lawsuit revolves around a January cyberattack involving a new variant of the SamSam virus. The attack brought down the company’s servers in North Carolina and knocked out access for nearly 1,500 physician practices. Several of those providers reverted to paper records and reported lost revenue and canceled procedures due to the disruption.

In a court filing (PDF) last week, Allscripts argued that Surfside Non-Surgical Orthopedics, the specialty practice that filed the lawsuit, intentionally sued the parent company of Allscripts Healthcare, known as Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., to avoid the arbitration clause outlined in its contract with the vendor. (Fierce Healthcare)

Harvard researcher tells Congress surprise billing ‘ought to be illegal,’ urges federal policy shift

With more patients being stuck with surprise medical bills for out-of-network providers, one health policy expert says Congress needs to do more to halt the practice entirely.

“I think this is an outrage,” Ashish Jha, M.D., director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told lawmakers during a Senate Health, Education Labor & Pensions Committee hearing this week. “It’s unethical, if not illegal. Obviously it’s not illegal, but it ought to be.”

Jha, who also serves as the senior associate dean at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the best estimates indicate that 1 out of 7 times someone goes to the emergency department, they are going to be stuck with a surprise bill. (Fierce Healthcare)

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