CDC issued treatment recommendations for patients who may have been exposed to the A(H5N1) virus, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Florida, and Georgia.
- District of Columbia: The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted an investigation to determine whether a New York-based provider, who is currently one of the highest paid U.S. providers, complied with Medicare Part B regulations when billing patents for psychotherapy services. In a previous investigation, the agency found that Medicare had distributed millions of dollars in payments for behavioral health services that were either billed incorrectly, provided by unqualified providers, or were undocumented, poorly documented, or deemed medically unnecessary. In the audit of the New York provider, the agency reviewed 100 psychotherapy services billed by the provider between April 1, 2018, and Aug. 31, 2020. Ultimately, OIG found that the provider was out of compliance with Medicare regulations for all 100 sampled beneficiary days. The agency estimated that the provider received at least $1,118,789 in Medicare overpayments for psychotherapy services throughout the audit period. (Norris, HealthLeaders Media, 5/2)
- Florida: HCA Healthcare appointed Karim Ghanem VP of operations for HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital. Ghanem, who has six years of health care experience, previously served as director of performance improvement and a regional lead advanced practice clinician for HCA Capital Division. "I am excited to join the dedicated team at HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital," Ghanem said. "Their commitment to serving the community and providing exceptional care makes them the premier facility on the Emerald Coast. I look forward to working with our colleagues to honor our mission: Above all else we are committed to the care and improvement of human life." (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 5/2)
- Georgia: After Colorado health authorities on Friday announced that the first human case of bird flu had been detected in the United States, CDC issued treatment recommendations for suspected bird flu cases. According to CDC, patients who have been exposed can be treated with one dose of antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) twice daily. Close contacts of infected patients who may have been exposed can be given oseltamivir. However, CDC does not recommend this for patents who used adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) while handling infected birds or in "decontaminating infected environments." Instead, CDC said individuals with proper PPE should be monitored for symptoms "beginning after their first exposure and for 10 days after their last exposure." If a patient starts to show symptoms, they should be given oseltamivir, zanamivir, or baloxavir (Xofluza) within 48 hours of exposure. Hospitalized individuals should be administered oral or enteral oseltamivir. For individuals with known exposure, CDC said symptoms will likely be consistent with acute or lower respiratory tract infection, with or without conjunctivitis, or "acute respiratory illness without an identified cause." Once clinicians identify a patient who meets epidemiological or clinical criteria for exposure, they should collect a sample and report the suspected case to their state health department, which should then notify CDC about a potential "case under investigation." (Walker, MedPage Today, 5/2)