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December 2010 - Posts

The Politics of Health Care

IRS Guidance Allows Use of FSA/HRA Debit Cards, But Requires Prescription for OTC Meds
December 30, 2010 9:13 AM by Frank Irving
Prescription requirement applies to purchases made on or after Jan. 1, 2011; does not apply to insulin. On Dec. 23, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued new guidance allowing the continued use of health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) and health Read More...
National Cancer Institute Revamps Clinical Trials Program
December 29, 2010 10:01 AM by Frank Irving
Changes will enable researchers to take advantage of advances in molecular oncology. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component of the Department of Health & Human Services, announced on Dec. 23 major changes to the Clinical Trials Cooperative Read More...
15 States Earn Bonuses for Increasing Medicaid Enrollment of Uninsured Children
December 28, 2010 9:45 AM by Frank Irving
Funding of $206 million comes from CHIPRA, signed into law in 2009. On Dec. 27, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) awarded $206 million to 15 states for making significant progress in enrolling uninsured children in Medicaid. This Read More...
EHR Incentives Registration Starts January 3
December 23, 2010 8:43 AM by Frank Irving
Professionals eligible for Medicare and Medicaid programs must select which program they wish to participate in when they register. On Dec. 22, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Read More...
Study Finds Pharmacists and Nurses Most Effective in Promoting Medication Adherence
December 22, 2010 1:51 PM by Frank Irving
Research could guide payers, providers and policy-makers in developing programs that keep patients on their medications. A new study looking at in-person, electronic, telephonic, fax and mail communications that counsel patients to stay on their medications Read More...
New Regulations Require Disclosure of Health Insurance Rate Hikes of 10 Percent or More
December 21, 2010 9:34 PM by Frank Irving
Affordable Care Act has set aside $250 million for states to take action against unreasonable increases. New proposed Affordable Care Act regulations announced Dec. 21 by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) allow HHS to work with states Read More...
Walgreens Donates $10 Million to Provide Free Flu Shots
December 20, 2010 9:43 AM by Frank Irving
Pharmacy chain is working with HHS to provide flu protection to underinsured and underserved communities. Walgreens will donate $10 million in vouchers for free flu shots to 350,000 eligible uninsured and underserved people in 15 markets across the country. Read More...
CMS Will Acquire New Analytic Tools to Prevent Health Care Fraud
December 17, 2010 8:24 AM by Frank Irving
Agency says predictive modeling is more effective than the old ‘pay-and-chase' model of fighting fraud. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Dec. 16 that the Centers Read More...
Adults 50-64 Have Much to Gain from Affordable Care Act Provisions
December 16, 2010 11:22 AM by Frank Irving
Commonwealth Fund says ACA will provide transitional assistance to adults who've lost health benefits. According to an issue brief published by the Commonwealth Fund on Dec. 14, the Affordable Care Act will particularly benefit adults ages 50 to 64, a Read More...
HHS Sets New Framework for Helping Patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions
December 15, 2010 10:20 AM by Frank Irving
Department expects effort to reduce the risks of complications and improve overall health status of individuals. On Dec. 14, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued its Strategic Framework on Multiple Chronic Conditions -- a private-public Read More...
Federal Judge Rejects Part of Health Care Law
December 14, 2010 8:52 AM by Frank Irving
State of Virginia prevails on argument that individuals cannot be forced to buy health insurance. On Dec. 13, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson backed the state of Virginia's legal argument that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to Read More...
CMS Releases Results of Pay-for-Quality Demonstrations
December 13, 2010 9:22 AM by Frank Irving
Hospitals, physician group practices and small/solo practices measured on quality standards. On Dec. 9, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released results from three demonstrations that illustrate the benefits of paying for quality Read More...
Insurers Must Notify Consumers if Plan Coverage Offers Limited Benefits
December 10, 2010 9:17 AM by Frank Irving
Health plans with waivers must tell consumers if coverage is subject to an annual dollar limit lower than what is required under ACA. On Dec. 9, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released new guidance that will give consumers more information Read More...
NIH Offers Funded Clinical Research Opportunity
December 9, 2010 8:40 AM by Frank Irving
Lasker Foundation partners with NIH on initiative intended to support early-stage investigators. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on Dec. 9 the launch of a new program in conjunction with the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation that will Read More...
Poll Shows Split Over Repeal of Health Reform Law, Reflecting Divisions in Congress
December 8, 2010 8:07 AM by Frank Irving
Online survey also reveals support for keeping key provisions as the law rolls out over time. Poll results released Dec. 6 by market research firm Harris Interactive and health news syndicator HealthDay indicate that 40 percent of American adults want Read More...
Federal Agency Issues Grants to Help Gulf States Provide Behavioral Care
December 7, 2010 9:30 AM by Frank Irving
SAMHSA distributes nearly $650,000 to assist people affected by Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On Dec. 6, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced $648,404 in grants to gulf coast states providing behavioral health Read More...
CDC Recommends Flu Vaccine for Everyone 6 Months of Age and Older
December 6, 2010 10:21 AM by Frank Irving
This year's vaccine protects against three strains, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated this week, Dec. 5-11, as National Influenza Vaccination Week. According to CDC, the event Read More...
IRS Releases Small Employer Health Tax Credit Forms and Guidance
December 3, 2010 6:13 AM by Frank Irving
Credit generally available to small employers that pay at least half of premiums for single coverage. Included in the Affordable Care Act enacted in March, the small business health care tax credit encourages small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations Read More...
OIG Calls for FDA to Improve Completeness and Accuracy of National Drug Code Directory
December 2, 2010 8:00 AM by Frank Irving
Review stems from congressional concern that Medicaid pays for non-FDA-approved drugs. To qualify for federal payment under Medicaid, covered outpatient drugs generally must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with certain exceptions. Read More...
How the Affordable Care Act Affects People Living with HIV/AIDS
December 1, 2010 9:36 AM by Frank Irving
On World AIDS Day, HHS emphasizes coverage and services applicable to the HIV/AIDS population. Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, an appropriate time to reflect that an estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV -- and one out of five does not know it. Read More...


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