PHARMACY

NCPA releases new HIT report

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association has issued a report highlighting the importance and future use of health-information technology by community pharmacies.

The report, called “Health Information Technology and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: A Road Map for Community Pharmacy”, is an updated version of what was created in advance of the two-day, NCPA-hosted conference in June with other healthcare industry stakeholders.

NCPA’s conference focused on ensuring community pharmacies are working collaboratively with other health care delivery partners to meet those goals and to take advantage of all applicable incentive programs, such as the $2 billion in stimulus funding dedicated for grants to expand the use of EHRs.

“As any successful business owner well tell you, adapting to the changing marketplace is critical for continued success,” said Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, NCPA EVP and CEO. “Community pharmacies want to provide the best possible patient care. Creating greater efficiencies using health information technology can make a world of difference. That’s why NCPA established technology-based companies like Surescripts and Mirixa, and it is why we are working proactively to incorporate electronic health records into our operations.”

“This report details the substantive steps we are taking in creating a secure, instantaneous and coordinated system for sharing of our patients’ information in the coming years,” Roberts added.

Click here to read the full report.

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GSK to supply more than 400 million doses of swine flu vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON GlaxoSmithKline has contracts to supply more than 400 million doses of vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu, the British drug maker announced.

GSK said Tuesday that it had received orders for 149 million additional doses of the vaccine, bringing the total to 440 million. The company plans to ship initial supplies of the vaccine this week and into the first half of 2010.

Doses of the vaccine have been percolating into various parts of the United States over the last several days, and Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently said that Americans “must” get the vaccine. To date, the pandemic H1N1 flu has killed about 600 people in this country.

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Published reports: Violent criminals, organized crime turning to Medicare fraud

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Violent criminals, including those involved in organized crime, are turning to Medicare fraud as a way of making money, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that lighter sentences and easy money were leading many criminals to move from drug dealing to healthcare fraud, which can earn them $25,000 a day but a 10-year prison sentence if convicted.

Crimes have included sending Medicare fraudulent bills for drugs and medical equipment with invoices containing Social Security and Medicare numbers bought from homeless people on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Most of the activity has occurred in Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit and Houston.

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