◆ The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked federal agency officials and health industry stakeholders how they believe the federal government can help protect the industry from cyberattacks. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services, CMS and the Food and Drug Administration, plus the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the American Medical Association to ask for advice on what security steps could be adopted industry-wide, and whether federal policymakers should make changes to laws or regulations. “I would like to work with you and other industry stakeholders to develop a short and long term strategy for reducing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the health care sector,” Warner wrote. Read more at https://bit.ly/2ND3F5i.
◆ Covidien LP, a medical device manufacturer and health care products company, agreed to pay $17.477 million to settle false claims allegations, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said March 11. Covidien allegedly provided free or discounted practice development and market development support to physicians in California and Florida to induce them to buy Covidien’s vein ablation products, from Jan. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2014, DOJ said. “The practice and market development support Covidien provided included customized marketing plans for specific vein practices; scheduling and conducting ‘lunch and learn’ meetings and dinners with other physicians to drive referrals to specific vein practices; and providing substantial assistance to specific vein practices in connection with planning, promoting, and conducting vein screening events to cultivate new patients for those practices,” DOJ alleged. The false claims case was set in motion by whistleblower lawsuits filed by two former sales managers for Covidien and a former employee of one of Covidien’s customers. DOJ said Covidien cooperated in the investigation—“including by sharing the results of its extensive internal investigation”—and received cooperation credit. Visit http://bit.ly/2W1jvcX.
◆ CMS recently posted a provider letter with various tools to combat the opioid epidemic. It includes links to a set of indications for naloxone prescriptions, new Medicare Part D opioid policies, and information on other treatment options. Visit https://go.cms.gov/2J20Vja.