Physician Practice Roundup—180 Wisconsin providers warned about opioid prescribing

A coctor writing a prescription
More than 180 Wisconsin doctors and other medical professionals were warned about their opioid prescribing levels. (Getty/18percentgrey)

180 Wisconsin providers warned about opioid prescribing

Federal prosecutors have warned more than 180 Wisconsin doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners that they have been prescribing opioids at higher levels than their peers.

The U.S. attorneys for both Wisconsin’s eastern and western districts announced that their offices sent the notification letters cautioning about opioid prescribing practices. The letters are part of a broader federal and state effort to reduce the number of people becoming addicted to opioids, they said.

The names of the medical professionals were not released. The announcement said the letters acknowledge that the prescriptions may be medically appropriate but reminded practitioners that prescribing opioids without a legitimate medical purpose could subject them to enforcement action, including criminal prosecution. (U.S. Attorney’s office announcement)

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In Florida, 1 in 4 providers fail to take mandatory opioid prescribing training

About one in four Florida healthcare providers failed to take a mandatory course on proper opioid prescribing by a Jan. 31 deadline, according to The News Service of Florida.

The Florida Department of Health is preparing to send letters to providers who failed to take the two-hour continuing education course required by state law. Providers will have 15 days to take the course or face disciplinary action, the state said.

A 2018 state law requires all healthcare professionals registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and authorized to prescribe controlled substances to take an educational course. The law added physicians, podiatrists, and dentists to the list of professionals required to take the training as part of their licensure requirements. (News Service of Florida article)

AAMC supports legislation to expand residency positions

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) spoke out in support of bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate that will expand the number of federally supported residency programs.

The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 would increase support for Medicare-funded graduate medical education. "Physicians are a critical element of our healthcare infrastructure, and this bill would help address the physician shortage by adding an additional 3,000 Medicare-supported residency positions each year for five years," said AAMC CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. (AAMC statement)

Trump calls for funding for HIV prevention, childhood cancer research at State of the Union

From childhood cancer to prescription drug prices, healthcare got quite a bit of attention during Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.

Among those topics, Trump announced a new public health initiative aimed at bringing an end to the HIV epidemic in the U.S. 

"In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach," Trump said. "My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America." (FierceHealthcare)

Slack hints at potential move into healthcare as it gears up for IPO: report  

Ubiquitous messaging company Slack has confidentially filed for an IPO—except not-so-confidentially, as it went public with the news on its own earlier this week with a press release.

But, interestingly, Slack also recently updated its website to say that its chat and collaboration program is now compliant with HIPAA security requirements for sharing health information, according to a report from CNBC.

According to CNBC’s sources, that certification currently only covers file and document uploads on its enterprise system—and not direct messaging between healthcare providers, although Slack is working on that. (FierceBiotech)

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