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New telemedicine rule takes effect in Florida

The Florida Board of Medicine has published an update regarding telemedicine standards that took effect on Oct. 26, 2014. The new Rule 64B8-9.0141, Florida Administrative Code, defines what telemedicine is and what physicians are not permitted to do. It states: “Telemedicine shall not include the provision of health care services only through an audio only […]

Stricter standards for compounding facilities take effect

On Oct. 1, a new and stricter law relating to Florida’s compounding industry took effect. The law adds restrictions for compounding pharmacies and outsourcing facilities that ship medications to Florida. It also provides Florida’s Board of Pharmacy and Department of Health with additional oversight and power to penalize these companies, including the authority to inspect […]

HHS target of class action in Medicare appeals backlog fiasco

The ever-growing backlog of appeals at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals for inpatient status claims has prompted the Center for Medicare Advocacy to file a nationwide class action lawsuit against the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The complaint, filed Aug. 26 U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleges that, […]

Appellate court rules on pre-suit requirement in medical malpractice cases

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has upheld a portion of Florida’s medical malpractice law ruling that it does not violate requirements designed to protect a patient’s privacy. By doing so, the appellate court overturned a ruling last year by a Tallahassee federal court judge who found that the law would […]

HHS proposes new safe harbors

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a rule that would amend the safe harbors to the anti-kickback statute and the civil monetary penalty rules under the authority of the Office of Inspector General. The 94-page proposed rule, if adopted would add new safe harbors and codify civil monetary provisions for gain […]

DEA inspections: Know your rights

Anyone who prescribes, administers, or dispenses controlled substances must be registered with the DEA. This includes manufacturers as well as doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. The DEA is responsible for keeping track of what controlled substances are ordered and dispensed through its ARCOS database – an automated, drug reporting system that monitors the flow of controlled […]

FDA cracks down on hydrocodone combination drugs

Effective Oct. 6, 2014, hydrocodone combination products will be moved from a Schedule III to a more strict Schedule II drug. That means hydrocodone combination products in such common pain medications such as Vicodin hydrocodone-acetaminophen now join other drugs such as methamphetamine, codeine, morphine and Adderall. The scheduling action by the U.S. Food and Drug […]

CMS reverses decision on error data reporting

In August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) stopped making public reports of eight different hospital-acquired conditions (HACs). However, a month later, CMS reversed its decision and now will resume public reporting of data on HACs on its Hospital Compare Data site. Data removed included information on foreign objects left in patients, air […]

New CMS rule allows flexibility in certified EHR technology for 2014

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule on Aug. 29 that allows healthcare providers more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use for an EHR Incentive Program reporting period for 2014. “By providing this flexibility, more providers will be able to participate […]