The CMS has removed the provider review version of a new database that details financial relationships
between healthcare providers and drug and medical-device manufacturers. It’s unclear how pulling the system offline will affect the CMS’ timetable for making Sunshine Act-mandated information about payments to physicians and teaching hospitals from manufacturers publicly available Sept. 30 as originally scheduled. “We don’t know if that means there will be a delay in the launch of the entire website,” said Dr. Daniel Carlat, director of the Prescription Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts. In an Aug. 7 e-mail, the CMS said the system has been temporarily taken offline to investigate a reported issue.
McKesson Corp. will pay the federal government $18 million to settle allegations
tied to a whistle-blower lawsuit. The suit involved a company shipping contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Terms of the settlement were announced last Friday. San Franciscobased McKesson, a healthcare technology and pharmaceutical distribution conglomerate, said in a statement the deal represents an “express denial of liability of any kind.” But due to the “uncertainty of litigation” and its ongoing relationship with the CDC, “a settlement was in the best interest” of the company. The falseclaims case stemmed from a 2012 qui tam, or whistle-blower, lawsuit that claimed during an eight-month period in 2007 McKesson did not comply with the government’s shipping and handling requirements for vaccines.
Investment gains combined with a tight rein on expenses helped raise the surplus of Scripps Health in its fiscal third quarter,
the San Diego-based system reported last Thursday. However, similar to other California systems like Dignity Health, San Francisco, and Sutter Health, Sacramento, Scripps is contending with a loss of revenue from the state’s provider-fee program. California and several other states run a provider-fee program, which levies a tax on hospitals. States then use those pooled funds to receive federal matches for Medicaid dollars, which are then distributed back to hospitals based on how many indigent patients they treat. Last fall, California approved a new three-year hospital-fee program, running from Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2016, but the CMS is still reviewing the plan.