PHARMACY

GetRxConnected.com goes online to push for e-prescribing

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO The Get Connected campaign, which is aimed at persuading doctors to switch to electronic prescribing, has started a website called GetRxConnected.com, according to published reports.

The website helps gear doctors towards moving away from handwritten prescriptions to e-prescribing and provides the benefits and general information to connect them to the electronic method.

One of the drawbacks to eprescribing has been the cost to doctors to upgrade to the new technology, but members of the government are hoping to help relieve some of the costs.

Newt Gingrich, founder of the Center for Health Transformation and former Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has praised legislation introduced by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., that would provide grants to doctors to defray the costs of e-prescribing software and other tools. The E-Meds bill would also increase payments to doctors who switch to e-prescribing. Gingrich predicted Congress would pass the Kerry bill sometime this year. The bill could save the government billions of dollars in health-care costs, he said.

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Von Eschenbach, Leavitt visit Dr. Reddy’s facility in India

BY DSN STAFF

HYDERABAD, India In January 2008 Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach and Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt visited a Dr. Reddy’s facility near the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s headquarters here.

Leavitt was focused on assuring the quality of the products as well as creating collaborations beyond borders while von Eschenbach, also concerned with the safety and quality of products, focused on the transparency of the manufacturing process.

Dr. Reddy’s was the only facility in India the two visited as part of a multi-national effort to ensure the safety of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

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Congressional report estimates CMS changes would cost states $50 billion in federal aid

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON According to a congressional report prepared by the Democratic staff on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, proposed changes to Medicaid would cost states about $50 billion in federal aid over the next five years, the Associated Press reported.

“As the economy tips into recession, the last thing we should be doing is taking federal funds from states, especially funds that are supposed to help people with their health and medical expenses,” said committee chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Federal officials, though, are arguing that the changes are designed to ensure that providers don’t bill the program for more than costs of providing care and also say that the states pay their fare share of the program.

Tthe proposed new rules include limiting Medicaid public hostpital reimbursement to no more than the cost of providing a particular service. Another would prohibit billing Medicaid for the costs of medical interns and residents.

Overall, the federal government will spend more than $1.2 trillion on Medicaid over the next five years. The administration projects that if all the changes it seeks were enacted, the federal government would save about $13 billion over those five years.

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