U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week seized more than 3,000 counterfeit Covid-19 vaccine cards from China, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Alaska, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts.
- Alaska: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last week reported that officers in Anchorage seized more than 3,000 counterfeit Covid-19 vaccine cards that arrived from China, The Hill reports. The counterfeit vaccine cards mimicked those distributed by CDC to show proof of vaccination, but had "low quality printing," according to CBP. "Getting these fraudulent cards off the streets and out of the hands of those who would then sell them is important for the safety of the American public," said Lance Robinson, area port director. The shipment seized in Alaska is reportedly the largest to be discovered by CBP, the Washington Post reports. According to The Hill, counterfeit vaccine cards have recently become more prominent as cities and businesses across the country begin requiring people show proof of vaccination. (Scully, The Hill, 8/20; Pietsch, Washington Post, 8/20)
- District of Columbia: CMS last week released a memo to all Medicare Advantage organizations and Medicare-Medicaid plans encouraging them to waive prior authorization requirements during the current Covid-19 surge due to the delta variant. According to CMS, easing these requirements will help transfer patients from acute-care hospitals to post-acute care and other clinically appropriate settings more easily. In the memo, CMS said, "[T]he ability of hospitals to transfer patients to appropriate levels of care without unnecessary delays or administrative burdens is critical to ensuring that hospitals have open acute-care beds to treat patients requiring emergent care." (AHA News, 8/20)
- Massachusetts: Mass General Brigham week announced Robert Higgins as president of Brigham and Women's Hospital and EVP of Mass General Brigham, effective in December. Higgins will succeed Sunil Eappen, who has served as interim president of the hospital since early March. Currently, Higgins is the surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In addition, he a professor of surgery and the director of the department of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to his work at Johns Hopkins, Higgins was the chair of the department of surgery and the director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Ohio State University Medical Center. (Lagasse, Healthcare Finance News, 8/23)