The Medical Quack



The new classification goes into effect in 45 days.  In 2008 HHS received a petition to make this change and at that time the drugs were left as a Schedule III.   A year later the DEA made the request once again to be re-evaluated.  image

The change was made due to the extreme abuse of the pain killers and the fact that they are addictive.  The Federal Register has all the details on the change.  Schedule 3 drug prescriptions expire 6 months after the day they are written.  There’s more drugs on the Schedule III list than you think and you can take a look here for most of them, some are actually surprising.  BD

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified hydrocodone-combination products as the more restrictive Schedule II drugs in an attempt to curb drug abuse. The DEA published the Final Rule in the Federal Register on Aug. 22. The Final Rule will take effect in 45 days and will apply to “all pharmaceuticals containing hydrocodone currently on the market in the United States.”

“Almost 7 million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said Michele Leonhart, DEA administrator, in a press release. “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”

Schedule II drugs are substances with accepted medical uses that have a high potential for harm and abuse, according the Controlled Substances Act. Hydrocodone-combination products contain both hydrocodone (a Schedule II drug) and other ingredients like acetaminophen, and were originally classified as Schedule III drugs.



Well this should come as no surprise as we have seen United with their current Medicare Advantage networks with firing MDs who see senior patients, so here’s the next level up with offering a “narrow network” to employers.  This serves to further drive down doctor reimbursement of course and there’s are not enough details to fully discuss.  This is being offered via the imageUnited Oxford subsidiary.  Employers will still have options on other plans but of course they will be more expensive so this is the new “budget” narrowed network option for New Jersey and one could maybe wonder when this option will arrive in other states.  I would be a fool to think that it would just be a New Jersey offering only and I think it’s more of a pilot to see how it works.

United Healthcare Round Two With More Medicare Advantage Doctors Being Fired in Massachusetts and Tennessee- Expansion of the Business Intelligence Killer Algorithms Keeps Growing

The savings for employers, it states here is around 10% so cash strapped small companies would have some incentive to entertain this.  The article didn’t mention exactly who all the members would be here in the Garden State Network but states that it includes 18,000 doctors and 65 hospitals so it sounds pretty inclusive, but just don’t go out of state is the message I read here as they can bundle up risk assessments all within one state.

Again we don’t know what the details are here that go along with an employer offering as far as co-pays, etc. for the full story.  I can say one thing though that insurers did their bit on outfoxing CMS with their quant created mathematical formulas to over bill for around $70 billion with Medicare part D, that was all math and CMS doesn’t know what to do with that matter right now.   BD

Doctor Reimbursements For Patients Covered By “State Exchange Policies” Dropping Even More Doctors Below What Medicare Pays And In Some Areas Less Than Medicaid

UnitedHealthcare has about 1.5 million members in New Jersey, the majority of them in employer-based health plans. Cerniglia said existing clients may switch to the Garden State Network, which he predicted will also bring new business to the company.UnitedHealthcare's Oxford division is launching a New Jersey-only network of doctors and hospitals that will provide lower-cost health plans to employers who use the 18,000 doctors and 65 hospitals in the new Oxford Garden State Network.

Chuck Cerniglia, vice president, small business sales for UnitedHealthcare, said employers on average will see 10 percent lower health insurance premiums if they choose the new health plans in the Garden State Network, which launches Sept. 1.

“It limits access to New Jersey-only providers and it is a solution for New Jersey employers where a smaller network offers a reduction in cost,” he said.

He added that employers will continue to have the option of offering their employees the company’s larger networks alongside the more limited — but also more affordable — Garden State network. He said while a New Jersey-only network won’t work for all employers, many clearly are seeking less-expensive health care options.



This is pretty good stuff and I have written about AliveCor before, when it was first only allowed to be used by veterinarians, imageand then later the FDA approved the use of the Heart Monitor for Doctor and Patient use.  The patient as I understand it still needs a prescription from a doctor to use the device and I would guess under most circumstances it would be a cardiologist.  In addition, AliveCor has the option of having the ECG read by a US board certified cardiologist.  Below are a couple back links. 

FDA Finally Approves AliveCor Iphone Enabled Heart Monitor, Now and the Cat and Dogs Have to Share the Technology With Us
While Waiting for FDA Approval for an IPhone ECG Company Launches Popular Veterinary Version–Cats and Dogs Get Heart Attacks Diagnosed

Now that the algorithm has been approved by the FDA, it should be available within a month or two and the company hopes to develop even more algorithms in time.  The AliveCor Heart Monitor records, stores and transfers ECG rhythms and detects presence of atrial fibrillation.  I think the device is great for a doctor to carry around with them if they desire. 

A physician can integrate the reports with an EMR as well.  So far the only one I see listed is Practice Fusion and it does cost $15 a month for the service but you do get the device free which is normally $199 alone.  This is the type of mHealth apps and devices I like to see and again this is way more than just a simple consumer app.  BD

AliveCor, Inc. announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company clearance for its algorithm to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia. AliveCor's automated analysisimage process (algorithm) instantly detects if patients are experiencing AFib through real-time electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings taken on the mobile phone based AliveCor® Heart Monitor, so physicians can intervene before potentially life-threatening conditions, like strokes, occur. Through AliveCor's ECG analysis service, patients can confirm their results with a U.S. board-certified cardiologist or a personal physician.

"The ability to automatically detect serious heart arrhythmia using mobile technology has the potential to save lives, reduce healthcare costs and allow patients and their caregivers to make informed decisions about cardiac care," said Euan Thomson, president and chief executive officer of AliveCor. "Having achieved clearance, we will work to incorporate the algorithm in our app and plan to make this available to customers during September."

The AliveCor Heart Monitor is intended to record, store and transfer electrocardiogram (ECG) rhythms. The AliveCor Heart Monitor also displays ECG rhythms and detects the presence of atrial fibrillation (when prescribed or used under the care of a physician). The AliveCor Heart Monitor is intended for use by healthcare professionals, patients with known or suspected heart conditions and health conscious individuals. The AliveCor Heart Monitor is compatible with all iPhone models and most Android mobile devices. Users will continue to have the ability to access their data confidentially anytime, anywhere.



Ok with all awful news out there, time to lighten up and talk about a duck and thisimage one is 6 stories high.  Shoot I could use a “guard duck” like this one:)

The next post will be better but as you know I can’t hardly refuse a blog post about a duck.  They floated one of these around the UK last year as well. 

One Big Giant Rubber Duck Floating Down the River–Rewards for Britons to Submit Fun Ideas to Help People, This is My Kind of Duck!

These big ducks are supposed to be stress relievers according to the video.  For some reason though I don’t think the Medical Quack maybe relieving stress but could be causing some with the flat bottom line topics here:)  BD 


Blog url:

Follow Us: