KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Report Says Feds Stop Public Disclosure Of Serious Hospital Errors

USA Today reports the federal government has stopped publicly reporting when hospitals leave foreign objects in patients' bodies or make other life-threatening mistakes. Meanwhile, Medicare spent more than $30 million on questionable HIV medications in 2012 and the agency is resuming audits for some fee-for-service claims.

USA Today: Feds Stop Public Disclosure Of Many Serious Hospital Errors
The federal government this month quietly stopped publicly reporting when hospitals leave foreign objects in patients' bodies or make a host of other life-threatening mistakes. The change, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denied last year that it was making, means people are out of luck if they want to search which hospitals cause high rates of problems such as air embolisms — air bubbles that can kill patients when they enter veins and hearts — or giving people the wrong blood type (O’Donnell, 8/5).

ProPublica/The Washington Post: Watchdog: Some Medicare Spending On HIV Drugs Appear Questionable In 2012 Audit
Medicare spent more than $30 million in 2012 on questionable HIV medication costs, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services said in a report set for release Wednesday. The report offers a litany of possible fraud schemes, all paid for by Medicare’s prescription drug program known as Part D (Ornstein, 8/6).

Modern Healthcare: Controversial Medicare Recovery Audits Make Limited Return
The CMS is restarting audits of Medicare fee-for-service claims on a limited basis. The program has been dormant since June 1 when current audit contracts expired. Lauren Aronson, director of CMS' Office of Legislation, sent an e-mail to congressional staffers Monday announcing the resumption of the recovery audit contractor program (Demko, 8/5).

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