Health IT

Nurses use lax regulations to stay ahead of law (Morning Read)

Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of healthcare: Troubled nurses skip from state to state. Nurse Craig Peske was fired from a hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin, in 2007 after stealing the powerful painkiller Dilaudid. Six months later, Peske was charged with six felony counts of narcotic possession at a hospital 1,200 […]

Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of healthcare:

Troubled nurses skip from state to state. Nurse Craig Peske was fired from a hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin, in 2007 after stealing the powerful painkiller Dilaudid. Six months later, Peske was charged with six felony counts of narcotic possession at a hospital 1,200 miles away in Bern, North Carolina. An investigation by ProPublica found significant gaps in the nation’s licensing regulations that enabled nurses to stay one step ahead of the consequences of misconduct by hopping across state lines.

In the lobbyists’ crosshairs. The White House has issued new rules requiring health insurance companies to provide free coverage for dozens of screenings, laboratory tests and other types of preventive care. Who watches the insurance companies? The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a volunteer group of primary care and public health experts. That may be good news for patients, but it puts the once obscure group in the crosshairs of lobbyists and disease advocates eager to see screenings for everything from Alzheimer’s to domestic violence become covered services.

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FDA panel turns thumbs down to anti-obesity drug. A federal advisory committee has voted “no” to endorsing Onexa, the drug developed by Vivus that’s trying to become the first new prescription medicine for obesity in more than a decade. The 10-to-6 vote signaled the Food and Drug Administration’s continued concerns about health risks posed by weight-loss drugs, which have a history of safety problems. The FDA will decide in October whether to approve the drug.

Watch GlaxoSmithKline like a hawk. Earlier this week, a panel of FDA experts expressed concerns that Avandia raises the risk of heart attacks compared with other diabetes drugs but voted to leave the drug on the market anyway. The lesson to emerge from the hearings and other recent revelations is that GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia, can’t be trusted to report adverse clinical results fairly.

Wild West of healthcare reform. Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a pioneer of improving the quality and safety of medical care, will face new challenges as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. President Obama sidestepped Republican attacks by appointing Berwick during a Congressional recess. But Berwick comes to the agency as it puts to work healthcare reforms aimed at saving $938 billion over 10 years. As Medicare payments are cut, hospitals and non-physician providers are sure to fight back.

Health IT shrinking? In the latest step to cut 5,500 jobs by the end of the year to save $1 billion, Eli Lilly and Co. told workers Thursday that it plans to cut 340 information technology jobs in Indiana this year.