Medicare is encouraging rapid turnaround of COVID-19 tests by cutting reimbursement for labs that take more than two days to process results, as of Jan. 1. The idea is to encourage "faster high throughput testing, which will allow patients and physicians to act quickly and decisively with respect to treatment decisions, physical isolation, and contact tracing," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.
Altranais Home Care, based in Lowell, Mass., and owners Constant Ogutt and Shakira Lubega agreed to pay $3.1 million to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims to the state's Medicaid program. Authorities said Altranais deliberately billed MassHealth and the program's managed care entities for home health services that were not authorized by a physician.
Adrian Morris, a psychiatrist from Clifton Park, N.Y., entered a guilty plea to distributing controlled substances outside the course of professional practice. As part of the plea, Morris, who specializes in addiction recovery, admitted to prescribing Xanax and Adderall to patients who didn't need them, as well as engaging in personal relationships with female patients seeking treatment for addiction to controlled substances.
The US logged more than 69,100 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the highest single-day spike since July 29, with more than 30 states reporting a higher number of cases in the past seven days compared with the previous week. As of Monday, more than 40 million people worldwide have been infected and 1.1 million have died, with South, North and Central America accounting for almost half the cases.
Student debt, credit card bills, COVID-19 layoffs, and other issues are causing a unique set of financial stresses for millennials. Sandy Pappa, a principal at Buck, says surveys, decision support tools, and tailored analytics can help employers identify benefit offerings that will allow younger workforce members to reach financial stability.
State public health and vaccination officials have written to congressional leaders calling for at least $8.4 billion in emergency funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Officials say they do not have sufficient funding to conduct a complex vaccine distribution effort.
A CDC analysis of more than 114,000 people in the US who died from COVID-19 between May and August showed that nearly 19% were Black patients and 24% involved Hispanics or Latinos despite only accounting for 12.5% and 18% of the US population, respectively. White non-Hispanic Americans accounted for around 51% of COVID-19 deaths despite representing 76% of the population, and researchers said the disparity in mortality rates could be caused by various socioeconomic and cultural factors.
Senate lawmakers are poised to vote on a Republican-backed $300 billion pandemic relief bill Wednesday following a standalone vote Tuesday on additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. The relief package, which is far below the $2 trillion Democrats have called for, is expected to fail.
A study published in JAMA Network Open suggests the traumatic nature of police work can put officers at risk for mental health issues, but fears about mental illness stigma and confidentiality may make it difficult for them to seek treatment. "Future interventions and, potentially, broader screening policies in law enforcement agencies appear to be needed to systematically identify and refer officers to health care services while mitigating their concerns, such as potential breach of confidentiality," researchers wrote.
Joint pain is common as people age, but there are ways to mitigate it, and one of the most important is regular exercise, according to experts. Even though moving the joint causes pain at first, it can provide benefits in the long run, says A. Lynn Millar, physical therapist and fellow emeritus at the American College of Sports Medicine.
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