Physician Practice Roundup—Congress may expand Sunshine Act to cover nurse practitioners, other clinicians

A physician's stethoscope
Congress is expected to expand the Sunshine Act to cover thousands more clinicians. (Getty/millionsjoker)

Congress may expand Sunshine Act to cover nurse practitioners, other clinicians

Congress is expected to finalize a new law that will expand the Sunshine Act and require drug companies and medical device manufacturers to disclose payments and gifts made to nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The law currently covers physicians but would be expanded to other clinicians starting in 2020. The new law would also apply to clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, according to a Stat News report. (Stat News article)

Humana sinks $15M into new University of Houston medical school focused on population health

Humana is backing a new medical school in Texas focused on training the next generation of physicians in population health.

The Louisville-based insurer is donating $15 million to the University of Houston as part of a 10-year partnership designed to educate future physicians on the importance of value-based care, health disparities, social determinants of health and community health. (FierceHealthcare)

4 doctors, 2 others sentenced to prison in Medicare fraud

Four New Orleans area doctors, a biller and an office manager were sentenced to prison time and ordered to pay a collective $30 million in restitution in a Medicare fraud scheme.

The six individuals were found guilty following a four-week trial that ended in May 2017 that focused on the fraudulent billing of Medicare for medically unnecessary home health services for patients who were not homebound, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the eastern district of Louisiana.

A judge this week sentenced the four physicians—Henry Evans, 74; Michael Jones, 49; Shelton Barnes, 63; and Gregory Molden, 60—along with Jonathon Nora, 31, and Paula Jones, 45. They all worked for Abide Home Care Services. (U.S. Attorney’s office announcement)

Stanford report urges medical practices to ‘junk the fax,’ focus on EHR training and workflows

In an ideal world, clinicians would have virtually no interaction with a patient’s EHR.

Instead, doctors and nurses would spend the majority of their time with patients and EHR data would be populated with “little or no effort.” Vital signs would be instantly uploaded by an automated assistant, artificial intelligence would offer personalized treatment options and relevant data would flow seamlessly through the rest of the system.

That’s the vision of EHRs in the year 2028 as described in a new report from Stanford Medicine based on input from industry experts that attended a June symposium hosted by the medical school. (FierceHealthcare)

At least 80,000 people died of flu last winter

Doctors have another reason to encourage patients to get a flu shot: The deadly toll the disease took last winter.

At least 80,000 people died of flu and its complications last winter in the U.S.—the highest death toll in at least four decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I'd like to see more people get vaccinated. We lost 80,000 people last year to the flu,” CDC director Robert Redfield, M.D., told the Associated Press. (Associated Press report)

Number of newborns with syphilis reaches 20-year high

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called for improved testing and treatment of syphilis in pregnant woman.

That recommendation came in a CDC report that showed the number of babies born with syphilis doubled in four years in the U.S., reaching a 20-year high. The number of reported cases of congenital syphilis, where the disease is passed from mother to baby, jumped 153% between 2013 and 2017. (CDC report)

Louisiana medical practice sues HHS, CMS in billing dispute

An Alexandria, Louisiana, medical practice has filed a federal lawsuit against HHS and CMS seeking to stop the government from withholding Medicare payments after a billing audit, according to the Louisiana Record.

Michael Dole, M.D., the president of A Professional Medical Corporation filed the lawsuit asking for injunctive relief to stop CMS from withholding payments for ongoing services following an audit. The medical practice has asked the withholding be stopped until it can have a hearing before an administrative law judge. (Louisiana Record article)

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