The Daily Scan

November 5, 2018

Last Updated: 1:00 PM EST

Medicare & Medicaid

  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) has sent a letter requesting that the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) investigate whether Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), violated the Hatch Act by using an official government social media account to advocate against a political party and by participating in her official capacity in a video opinion piece by former Trump campaign senior advisor Boris Epshteyn. On the afternoon of October 31, 2018, Ms. Verma tweeted a number of political messages transparently designed to influence the upcoming midterm elections. One such message was Ms. Verma’s retweet of a tweet by former Trump campaign senior advisor Boris Epshteyn attacking the Democratic party: “.@SeemaCMS believes that the Democrat-backed ‘Medicare For All’ is simply a bad idea. The focus of the agency? Strengthening the Medicare program itself. Watch our interview here.” That same afternoon, Ms. Verma tweeted two related messages of her own similarly criticizing the idea of “Medicare for all,” which Mr. Epshteyn associated with the Democratic party in the message she retweeted. One of her tweets reads: “This year’s scariest Halloween costume goes to…” and includes an image of a man wearing a tee shirt with the words “MEDICARE FOR ALL.” The other reads: “Did I get your attention? Good. Medicare for All isn’t a joke. It’s a multi-trillion dollar drain on the American economy that will bankrupt future generations. It’s government controlled health care that will strip choice away from millions. It’s a bad idea. And it IS scary.” (CitizensForEthics.org)

Litigation

  • Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge for the New York Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced a settlement of a civil fraud lawsuit on Friday against Dr. Kenneth S. Felder and Metropolitan Retina Associates Inc. The settlement resolves claims under the False Claims Act alleging that Felder and Metropolitan Retina billed Medicare and Medicaid for (1) substandard fluorescein angiography tests that were of such poor quality that they lacked all diagnostic value and were effectively worthless; and (2) ophthalmic ultrasounds that were either not performed or lacked any supporting documentation.  Under the terms of the settlement approved by U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, Felder and Metropolitan Retina admitted and accepted responsibility for their conduct and agreed to pay $2,064,559 to the United States. (Justice.gov)

Regulation

  • FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. released the following statement following Friday's approval of a controversial opioid Dsuvia: "Dsuvia has some unique features in that the drug is delivered in a stable form that makes it ideally suited for certain special circumstances where patients may not be able to swallow oral medication, and where access to intravenous pain relief is not possible. This includes potential uses on the battlefield. For this reason, the Department of Defense worked closely with the sponsor on the development of this new medicine. This opioid formulation, along with Dsuvia’s unique delivery device, was a priority medical product for the Pentagon because it fills a specific and important, but limited, unmet medical need in treating our nation’s soldiers on the battlefield. The involvement and needs of the DoD in treating soldiers on the battlefield were discussed by the advisory committee. There are very tight restrictions being placed on the distribution and use of this product. We’ve learned much from the harmful impact that other oral opioid products can have in the context of the opioid crisis. We’ve applied those hard lessons as part of the steps we’re taking to address safety concerns for Dsuvia, including requiring a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to accompany this drug." (FDA.gov)

Private Sector

  • ResMed today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held MatrixCare, a leader in U.S. long-term post-acute care software, serving more than 15,000 providers across skilled nursing, life plan communities, senior living and private duty. These care settings are complementary to ResMed’s current software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings in home medical equipment, home health and hospice, delivered through Brightree and HEALTHCAREfirst. Minnesota-based MatrixCare’s electronic health record (EHR) solution supports a wide range of long-term care settings, enabling providers to increase patient management efficiencies and deliver superior clinical care. Its wide range of offerings includes point of care, lead and referral management, claims processing, payroll and nutrition management, among others. “The acquisition of MatrixCare is an excellent addition to the out-of-hospital software portfolio that we can offer our healthcare provider customers,” said ResMed CEO Mick Farrell. “ResMed is the world’s leading tech-driven medical device company and is well positioned to be the leading out-of-hospital software provider in the market. With our portfolio including Brightree, HEALTHCAREfirst, and MatrixCare, we will streamline transitions of care, creating better outcomes for patients, caregivers, and out-of-hospital healthcare providers.” The $750 million transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of ResMed’s fiscal year 2019. (Resmed.com)

 

 

 

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