Dialysis firm settles kickback allegations for $389 million | N.Y. home health worker pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud case | Owner of health care company accused of Medicaid fraud
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October 24, 2014
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Dialysis firm settles kickback allegations for $389 million
DaVita Healthcare Partners, a Denver-based dialysis provider, agreed to pay $350 million to settle kickback allegations. The firm was accused of paying kickbacks to physicians in exchange for patient referrals, according to the Department of Justice. The company will also forfeit $39 million based on its conduct associated with two joint ventures. BeckersHospitalReview.com (10/23)
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Law Enforcement & The Courts
N.Y. home health worker pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud case
Caprie Lynn, a home health aide from Rochester, N.Y., has admitted to falsifying time sheets submitted to Innovative Care, causing the firm to incorrectly bill $17,884 to Medicaid, officials say. Lynn submitted time sheets for 646 hours of care supposedly provided to a Medicaid recipient who was deceased, according to the complaint. Lynn will be sentenced Jan. 14 and will likely be ordered to pay restitution of $2,469. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (N.Y.) (tiered subscription model) (10/23)
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Owner of health care company accused of Medicaid fraud
Rose Umana, owner and operator of Vision Healthcare Services in Harrisburg, Pa., has been charged with health care fraud and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Umana is accused of falsifying documents for workers and billing Medicaid for unprovided services or services rendered by unqualified workers, the indictment says. Central Penn Business Journal (Harrisburg, Pa.) (10/23), The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.) (10/23)
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Policy & Regulatory News
HHS announces $840M in funding to modernize doctors' offices
A total of $840 million in funding will be allotted for helping individual medical practices shift from volume-based care to value-based care, HHS officials said Thursday. The Transforming Clinical Practice program aims to improve the use of electronic health records and coordination of patient care among providers. The Hill (10/23)
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Tools & Technology
Telehealth service connects patients with their own primary care providers
A round-the-clock telemedicine service called Concierge was unveiled by HealthTap to enable users to communicate with their own primary care physician or specialist in every state in the U.S. Patients can reach out to their doctors through text, voice and mobile video, and providers will have access to patient engagement tools such as reminders and aftercare checklists if they register. About 64,000 doctors have already signed up with HealthTap. VentureBeat (10/22)
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AHRQ expands quality toolkit for hospitals
An updated version of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's resource Quality Indicators Toolkit for Hospitals includes best practices for six additional patient safety and quality metrics. BeckersHospitalReview.com (10/23)
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Health Insurance Industry News
Confusion kept some consumers away from the ACA, study finds
Many eligible consumers who did not enroll in a health insurance plan for 2014 were confused about Medicaid and tax credits for enrolling in a private plan, a Rand Corp. study of Colorado consumers found. The researchers said findings suggest messages regarding the benefits of having health insurance would have been more compelling than messages about penalties for going without. Communications about health insurance enrollment should have included information on exactly where to get help, and clearer plan materials would have helped, the researchers found. The Denver Post (10/20)
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Medical News
U.S. trans-fat intake dips, but improvements still needed
Trans-fat intake has fallen by about one-third over the past three decades but still accounts for 1.9% of daily calories in men and about 1.7% in women, a study on the website of the Journal of the American Heart Association says. Saturated-fat intake also dropped, but omega-3 fat consumption held steady and is still below recommended levels, researchers said. HealthDay News (10/22)
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White youths show increased type 1 diabetes rate
A study in the journal Diabetes found the rate of type 1 diabetes among non-Hispanic white youths grew from 24.4 cases per 100,000 in 2002 to 27.4 cases per 100,000 in 2009. Researchers noted significant increases in type 1 diabetes rates in patients ages 5 to 19, but not in those 4 and younger. DailyRx.com (10/23)
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Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder."
-- Henry David Thoreau,
American writer and naturalist
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